Sometimes you have to tell a long story to tell a short story.
Christopher Moore is my favorite contemporary author. When I read A Dirty Job, it was one of the first books to make me laugh out loud repeatedly (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was the first a few months prior). And his books have consistently delivered. They’re not perfect, but they’re great every-man-in-weird-scenario stories. I’ve read every single book he’s published, and I can’t wait for the next installment.
That said, I was underwhelmed by The Griff. I think I remember reading somewhere about him not being overly happy with the process or product, so maybe he was too.
This was his first step into the graphic novel world, and according to his own words in the forward, he’d had opportunities to work with Marvel and DC on their properties, but he was afraid to commit, eventually landing on his own story.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, though that probably cost him talent to work on the book. Looking at the credits for The Griff, you see three names. Looking at The Sandman individual, 24-page books, you see several names. And the production value showed. It’s not that the artist was bad; it’s just that it wasn’t terribly distinctive. Where Scott Pilgrim and The Sandman use the art to further the story, this art felt like an accompaniment to the story. That might not be the artist’s fault, but it just didn’t seem like anything personal.
As for the story, it was rushed. The idea is kind of neat: Alien monsters invade earth, decimating civilization almost instantly. But the execution wasn’t great.
We follow two story tracks before they intersect, but it was all very rushed. I think this could have been better served by behaving like a comic book series and dragging the story out over several issues. You never get fully invested in any of the little adventures, and there’s too many little points for one book to really do it justice.
That said, I don’t call it a waste of time. I liked the story. I would have just liked to see it fleshed out more. You still have that Christopher Moore humor so there are lots of great jokes (including one about a seal team), but you lose the ability to get the inner monologue of the characters.
If you’re a Christopher Moore fan, it’s probably worth a read. If you’re not, I’d probably look somewhere else if you want to fill your quota on graphic novels and/or alien invaders. That reminds me, Infinite Sea is waiting on me.