The Hartlepool Monkey Review

Author: Lupano – Moreau

hpmI’d never heard of the Hartlepool Monkey, but apparently it’s a well-known English fable. For those of you unfamiliar with the legend; sometime around the Napoleonic wars a French ship was torn apart by a storm. The sole survivor, a monkey dressed in a French military costume, was washed up on shore.  Local fisherman then hung the monkey in a fit of jingoist anxiety. It’s so ridiculous it must be true.

Wilfred Lupano and Jeremie Moreau join forces to tell this bizarre tale. It’s a fascinating look into mob mentality and fear mongering. The fishing village convince themselves that the Monkey is actually a Frenchman, signs of which include hands for feet and the jabbering which they conclude must be French.

Moreau’s heavily inked style is a perfect fit for the story and his able to portray the grotesque fisherman as both terrifying and simple. The muted colours suddenly turn to red at the murder and the wide eyed innocence of the two boys who try to save the monkey are at perfect odds with the gaping black mouths of the leering villagers.

As a way of keeping this strange myth alive, this novel is a fantastic idea. It’s already won several awards and there are several interviews with the creators online. As a graphic novel in its own right, it’s absorbing and beautifully drawn, inked and coloured.


Maliha Basak

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