Are you burnt out on dragons? Too tired for castles? It’s easy to lose interest when you read about countless life or death battles for the fate of the entire kingdom. But quirky comics like Gogor come around and remind you that fantasy can be anything but mundane. Written, illustrated, lettered, and colored by Ken Garing and published by Image Comics, Gogor #2 puts the series’ resident monster in the spotlight.
Gogor #2 finds young scholar Armano at the summit of GreenPeak. Sent to the peak by his mentor while Domu forces invaded their home, Armano reads from an ancient scroll. Just as he does, he is surrounded by armed Domu soldiers. But Armano isn’t alone. Beneath the soil, ancient forces stir that are awakened by young Armano’s spell. With a roar, the mighty Gogor bursts forth from the ground, laying waste to Domu. But what is Gogor and how was he made? To learn more, Armano seeks out the sorceress Tetra Hedron deep within the Bogwell. All the while, the Domu follow.
Gogor #2 showcases Garing’s fantasy artwork, which is as beautiful as ever, but with the addition of the titular Gogor, the series artistically comes into its own. It’s not that Garing changes up his style in this issue. Altara‘s crisp black lines and verdant island landscapes remain lush and vibrant. But when Garing puts a musclebound monster man in the middle of the prog-rock vistas, they feel different. This shouldn’t be a surprise, after all the comic takes its name from the behemoth. But Gogor absolutely dominates every panel he’s in. He looks like if Swamp Thing was hit with a dose of Gamma radiation and became the Hulk. The swampy monster man is all muscle and covered from head to toe in pulsing veins and lichenous growths.
Garing captures Gogor with the same detail he gives his landscapes. Since he only gives this treatment to the green behemoth, the hulking mass of Gogor becomes a natural focal point. It’s a fantastic visual cue that Garing uses slight style variations to characterize his cast. Gogor feels important because nothing matches his detail. Only Armano, who in this issue resembles the classically handsome heroes of funny paper adventure strips, comes close to Gogor’s level of design. One page of Gogor #2 shows this off in a stare-down between man and monster. Scenes like that wonderfully establish the characters as equal forces in the comic.
Besides its grim green giant, Gogor #2 also paints a better picture of the floating island ring of Altara. In a word, Altara is weird. And that’s what makes it wonderful. In Gogor #2, Garing creates a wildly diverse fantasy world. Fully populated by people of all species, Altara overflows with strange sights plucked straight from Garing’s imagination. Sure, Armano looks very human in appearance but so do the Domu. But the rest of Altara is far less anthropocentric. The series introduces us to lizard cartographers and a colony of bug people. But despite their out there looks, Garing writes each with respect. These nonhuman characters never feel like stupid monsters, which makes the monstrous character Gogor all the more interesting.
Gogor #2 keeps one foot firmly planted in the “weird”. With prog rock style and love for the bizarre, Garing takes this issue in interesting directions, setting up plenty for the cast to deal with down the road. Gogor #2 breathes life into the world of Altara, every panel of which is lovingly illustrated and wildly imagined. With the series still early in its run, Gogor #2 is the perfect time to jump on this comic if you haven’t already.
Gogor #2 keeps one foot firmly planted in the “weird”. With prog rock style and love for the bizarre, Garing takes this issue in interesting directions, setting up plenty for the cast to deal with down the road.