Alternately silly and spooky but consistently stunning, Gary Gianni's CORPUS MONSTRUM is the kind of book that ought to be called a "tome." Though it's beautiful in its oversized, paperback incarnation, it begs to be bound in leather and housed in the Victorian library of a kindly, mysterious old millionaire on his deathbed. He would call you Nephew and beg you not to enter the library, but you wouldn't listen.
"I'm not afraid of ghosts," you'd tell yourself. "I am a child of Science! A citizen of the New Century!"
And you would wait until the old man was asleep and hold your breath as you forced the old library door ajar and even the hinges cried out in protest. Once you'd satisfied yourself that the old goat was undisturbed, you'd creep into the room on tippy toe, use your candle to light the spines as you scanned the Latin titles for that one: CORPUS MONSTRUM. Your hands would betray you with trembles as you pulled it from the shelf and fought the impulse to blow the dust from its pages in your own dramatic interpretation of fireplace bellows. Seating yourself in an ancient high-backed chair and arranging your lamplight on the table to your right, you'd crack the thing open and let the spirits loose. As your pulse raced, you'd thrill to the adventures of Hughes-esque movie mogul Lawrence St. George, delight in the return of silent siren Daphne Dumont and find yourself mesmerized by the dashing demon hunter whose visage may or may not even exist beneath the knight's faceplate perched atop that tuxedo.
As you finished that tale and began to pour over the illustrated prose of William Hope Hodgson at the end of the tome, the daring of Carnacki the Ghost-finder would so enthrall you that you would fail to note your lantern beginning to fade, that the door - whose hinges had screamed in protest at the opening - had blown closed in a whisper. Above you, two tired old feet would shuffle towards the stairs. You wouldn't hear the queer sound of metal scraping a wooden floor to the beat of a crippled gait, nor see the smile that crept slowly over a kindly old face.
Kelly Sue DeConnick relocated from Brooklyn, New York to Kansas City, MO, where she lives with her husband and artbomb.net colleague, Matt Fraction. Kelly Sue writes the English adaptations of several manga titles published by Tokyopop and Viz. She can be found on the web at kellysue.com.