Why I Love Monkey Island

I love The Secret of Monkey Island. It's been my favorite computer game since I first played it twenty years ago. It was the first game that I ever beat (it took my cousin and I weeks to figure out that you needed to use the monkey on the nose at the giant monkey head). It was the first computer game I played with a compelling hero (sorry, King Graham, you charisma-free boob). And it's the funniest computer game ever made.

The Secret of Monkey Island tells the simple story of Guybrush Threepwood, a young man who dreams of becoming a mighty pirate. Running afoul of the ghost pirate LeChuck, Threepwood must master the three pirate trials, hire a ship, and journey to the mysterious Monkey Island to free the lovely Elaine Marley from LeChuck's grasp.

What my description fails to communicate is how funny the game turns out to be; the game is top-loaded with absurd situations and great gags, including the infamous 'insult sword fighting', a used-ship salesman who never stops moving, and a group of vegetarian cannibals. It's fantastic.

It's been a pleasure to go on with my life as a cartoonist and come back periodically to Monkey Island; Director Ron Gilbert just released DeathSpank (to rapturous review), designer Tim Schafer made Psychonauts and Brutal Legend (such fantastic design work), and Dave Grossman is still Herman Toothrotting it on Monkey Island itself. Artist Steve Purcell (who created Sam & Max and is an amazing artist) is, unsurprisingly, working for Pixar. Lucasarts, seeing the dollar signs in my eyes, has released Special Editions of both games. Seeing the first two games updated and re-scored fills me with joy... The idea that another young artist is just now learning about the rubber chicken (with a pulley in the middle) or bouncing spit off of Wally in LeChuck's torture cave puts a big, dumb grin on my face.

Monkey Island has taught me that you can be a brilliant artist and a funny person, and if you're lucky someone might pay you to do it for the rest of your life. Thanks, guys.

Here is a drawing that I did of Guybrush Threepwood (mighty pirate) for my excellent friend Kim, who was kind enough to bring me a bunch of swag back from the San Diego Comic Con. One of the treats she brought was a portfolio of concept art from Tales of Monkey Island, the latest game in the series. Many of these drawings will be framed; the artist did a fantastic job of amalgamating the different Guybrushes and Elaines and LeChucks.

Also: it's Wednesday, and so Webisode Three of That's So Kraven! is up, written by Trina Johnson and drawn by me. You can find it right over here.


  1. Murray!

    I'm fucking obsessed with Monkey Island. Have you played Tales?

  2. I haven't yet! Looking forward to it. I love the designs in TALES but not super stoked on the 3D models. I did finish CURSE OF MONKEY ISLAND over Christmas; that was pretty solid.

  3. Monkey Island was great! I miss adventure games. Everything these days has too much guns and not enough banjos.