I recently discovered Marc Ellerby‘s Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter through a special Christmas comic that was posted about a month late to his tumblr and then reblogged by someone I follow. Which is a pretty roundabout way to discover something, I suppose, but such is the Internet. I was so enamored, however, that I immediately purchased the Chloe Noonan digital omnibus, a 136-page DRM-free PDF (with bonus covers and sketches and fan-art) which set me back all of $4.84(-ish, it’s whatever £2.99 converts to) including all of the Chloe Noonan stories except the 2012 Halloween and Christmas specials (those are available here!).
Chloe Noonan, Monster Hunter is a young lady living in the UK who, while not going to class, clubbing with pals or playing keyboard in a dysfunctional band, works for some sort of top-secret monster hunting organization. She has the powers of: a metal stick, and telling people off. She’s constantly grumpy and put-upon, a perfect foil to her ever-present short, perky and fit (the British way) pal Zoe. Chloe stumbles through life (not unlike a certain Canadian ex-boyfriend battler) and somehow survives, usually by the persistence of her frowns.
Mostly, Chloe is just trying to just get on with her life while having to deal with monsters, unstable bandmates and cheery best friends. As I alluded to earlier, there’s certainly some Scott Pilgrim DNA in these stories, but where Pilgrim is an OMG INCREDIBLE fighter, Chloe gets knocked down and suckerpunched a lot and she can’t even run very far without getting out of breath. It’s fun and refreshing to see a totally normal (if maybe supernaturally grumpy) person in a world where monsters abound. Seeing fantastic things happen while characters focus on the mundane and the ginger protagonist point to a bit of inspiration from legendary webcomic Scary Go Round, but Chloe Noonan: Monster Hunter is fully its own entity.
Taken as a whole, the fun stories are a little disconnected. They’re presented as vignettes of Chloe’s life, and little hints of a bigger story pop out occasionally. There are bits of larger monster-related and life-related plot lurking in the background, and the Christmas and Halloween specials reveal a touch of backstory. Based on Ellerby’s blog posts and notes on the matter, the Chloe Noonan comics that exist right now are essentially a warm up to something greater. I can’t wait to see what that is, but right now I’m content with seeing Chloe call a Kraken Squidward and fuss at him to the point that he slinks away after insulting her.