The millions of civic-minded Americans who read the Starr Report and wondered "but where's the love?" will find their prayers answered with Monica's Story, the comic book adaptation of the most important and intimate American public document since the Bill of Rights. Published by Gainesville, Florida publisher Alternative Comics, this 32-page, black & white, one-shot is adapted and scripted by Jon Lewis, pencilled by James Kochalka, and inked by Tom Hart, and takes the reader from Bill and Monica's first stolen glances to the turmoil, tumult and tears of their breakup. The net proceeds from this project will benefit the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF), a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to the preservation of First Amendment rights for creators and retailers in the comics community.
Kochalka and Hart's cartoony, expressive artwork cuts to the heart of the matter, and the story unfolds in a show-don't-tell manner far removed from the narrative-heavy style common to most comic book adaptations of the past. "As a mass of raw data, the Starr Report is bleak and impersonal," said Alternative Comics publisher Jeff Mason, "These guys have turned it into something dramatic and rather touching."
The simple eyecatching artwork depicts the rather explicit subject matter in a tasteful R-rated fashion and lends the characters an unexpected innocence. "Readers will find themselves sympathizing with a couple of characters they thought they had run out of all sympathy for," said Mason, "in contrast with most 'pulled-from-the-headlines' comics that play up the sleaze and go for a photorealistic look, Monica's Story is a bold, refreshingly honest read."
"I flesh out the dialogue to make it sound more natural," said Jon Lewis, the critically-acclaimed comics writer who adapted the Starr Report into the script for Monica's Story, "but other than that it remains absolutely faithful to the Report. It's just a matter of selecting the crucial sequences and crafting them into a flowing, engaging romance. I don't take a satirical tone... the thing is hilarious already, so a deadpan, unironic presentation works best."
James Kochalka is one of the most prolific and distinctive artists in the comics scene today, his simple figures conveying a wealth of emotional nuance. Some of his most recent graphic novels include Tiny Bubbles, Quit Your Job, and Magic Boy and Girlfriend. Tom Hart's work has been met with wide critical acclaim for its manic energy and poetic grace. His first graphic novel, Hutch Owen's Working Hard, was the underground hit of 1994 and has made its way onto many critics "Best Ever" lists of graphic novels. Hart's latest, The Sands, has just been released by Canadian publisher Black Eye Books. Kochalka and Hart's styles share a stripped-down eloquence and emotive energy that, in Monica's Story, is the perfect blend.
Monica's Story is a 32 page black & white one-shot, that debuted February 5, 1999 at a retail price of $2.95, adapted from the Starr Report, the common name of the official Referral to the United States House of Representatives pursuant to Title 28, United States Code, ' 595(c) submitted by The Office of the Independent Counsel on September 9, 1998.
Monica's Story is available at comic book specialty shops worldwide. To find a comic book specialty shop in one's area, call the Comic Shop Locator Service toll-free at 888-COMIC-BOOK (888-266-4226). Individual copies of Monica's Story can be ordered directly from Alternative Comics for $4.00 postage paid in the United States at 611 NW 34th Drive, Gainesville, FL 32607-2429.