Created by Scott R. Schmidt
So there are humans, and there are monsters. And they all live together in Tower City, which is conveniently separated into the Human Side and the Monster Side. Convenient, that is, for the human authorities, who view monsters as second class citizens, be they goblin, vampires, imps or whatever, relegating them to living in, well, ghettos. Yeah, it’s a metaphor, and one we’ve seen plenty of, but it’s still a potent one.
Seems that once upon a time there was some bullshit about a demon who tried to merge the two worlds, but it didn’t take. But that’s really all you really need to know to enjoy Hank Steiner Monster Detective, an affably cock-eyed comic book tribute to–what else?–both monsters and detectives.
The monster of the hour is HANK STEINER, a seven-foot-tall galoot with skin the colour of something that went bad in the fridge, who bears a striking resemblance to Frankenstein’s monster, including neck bolts, and acts as a sort of go-between between his “people” and the humans, working as a private eye, specializing in “monster cases.”
Naturally Hank’s got all the P.I. stuff you’d expect: a faithful secretary (a ten-eyed beauty named “Iris”), a snitch he can count on (a human garbageman), and a slew of dives and joints he frequents often (like Kthulhu’s Kitchen), plus the obligatory hat and a trench coat. So you know he’s a real private eye, I guess.
It’s all done, more or less, for fun, although it does get surprisingly violent at times, and the language makes it clear this ain’t for junior, but the writing by Scott R. Schmidt and the artwork, vaguely reminiscent of Mike Mignola, by the husband and wife team of Tyler and Sara Sowles, is full ofamusing little touches (like Hank popping his neck muscles before a brawl, and those Munchkin-like goblin thugs are a hoot) that pulled me in, right from the start.
Originally a one-shot that appeared digitally in 2015, Hank Steiner Monster Detective reappeared in 2020 in print, as a proposed monthly comic. Let’s hope the big lug sticks around for a bit, this time.
- HANK STEINER MONSTER DETECTIVE
(2015, Travis McIntire [digital])
(2020, Source Point Press [print])
Written by Scott R. Schmidt
Art by Tyler and Sara Sowles
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. And a tip of the fedora to Eric Harper.