Writer: Spencer Estabrooks
Artist: Jethro Morales
Colourist: Adriano Augusto
Letterer: Derek Mah
Publisher: Renegade Arts Entertainment
Review by Josh Rose
Sharks are cool. So are dinosaurs. So what if we combined them into one giant monster and gave it a story that would make Sharknado go “oh damn”? Meet the insane Sharkasaurus. This story focuses on two families: the Matthews and the Monroes. Reverend Peter Matthews operates a creationist golf course in Drumheller, Canada. Alice and Frankie Monroe are paleontologists excavating a site near the course. The two families butt heads and theologies very early on while their kids, Addison Matthews and Evan Monroe, hit it off right away.
Soon after we have a Romeo and Juliet-type romance. There are two lesbian moms and a single father trying their best to raise their kids. We have a gun-toting maniac, a giant monster, and so many amazing one-liners. We have all the makings of a great story. Amid all of the chaos, there is some major character development. Alice and the Reverend bicker throughout the book, but near the end they are finally able to really put their differences aside in the attempt to kill the Sharkasaurus.
Then we get into the rift between the two families: their theologies. Writer Spencer Estabrooks has the Reverend bring every Christian insult he can think of, and he has Alice belittle the Reverend’s intelligence. The ones who have the healthiest, and most respectful, dialogue over religion and science are the kids. By the end, there are no conclusions drawn. No definitive “one is right, the other is wrong.” He mocks both sides equally and is just trying to bring them together.
You really have to admire Jethro Morales’ art. He took the idea of a shark crossed with a tyrannosaurus-esque dinosaur and made it look amazing. I was talking with a friend who did one of the Kickstarter Sketch Rewards for the project, and he said the hardest part about drawing the Sharkasaurus was figuring out where to put the dinosaur legs on the shark body. Morales made the beasty look terrifying, and he did a phenomenal job with the death and destruction of the Alberta Badlands. Morales also did great work with the panel layout.
Adriano Augusto’s colours only make the story better. His pallet of browns and yellows make it look like the characters are in the middle of a hot desert during the day, while his blues make the nights seem cooler. They make the setting feel as real as possible. And then there’s all the bright red blood from a rampaging monster.
Estabrook is also a filmmaker who made a short film based on the same concept. Being only 10 minutes long with a limited budget, it’s not nearly as developed, but still has many of the same great one-liners.
The Verdict: Buy it.
Sharkasaurus was pitched as Jaws meets Tremors, but I think it stands great without the comparison. The characters are so deep I could probably talk about them forever. They seem so realistic, like people I’ve met in real life. And honestly, who doesn’t want to read a comic about a dino-shark tearing up Drumheller? With all the one-liners, I had to stop several times and laugh aloud. This is the funniest book I’ve read in a long time, and Estabrooks is putting the hell back in Drumheller one dino-shark at a time.