And She Needs You, This is From Maika
Do you ever read a book that is just so damn amazing you want to hug it? Like a good hug, not this limp d – wrist stuff I see kids doing these days. Really squeeze the stuffing outta that baby and say, “Hey you, I appreciate you, you’re so great and well…This isn’t easy to say but, you. Complete. Me.” Now I know it’s difficult but I strongly advise this because well, paper hurts. I speak from experience given the Great Papercutting of ‘98. Dark times, those were. Instead, I found a better solution. Tell everyone you meet, animals included how great it is. I’ll demonstrate rriiiigghht now! Insert power fist here!
Monstress is written by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, and it’s one of those books that makes you say, “Wait, she did all that by herself?!” So many books these days have multiple writers and multiple artists, and while there isn’t anything wrong with that, it’s nice to see one in which less is more. Oh, Monstress also has just one issue, and I was really trying to wait to write about it but I just couldn’t calm these terrible paws of mine!
Marjorie Liu has a touching afterword about the inspiration behind Monstress, and how it was derived from her grandparents’ experience of war firsthand in China. She tells us of how she had a vision of a strong and battered girl standing alone in a battlefield, and that girl became Maika. Maika is a creature called an arcanic, which is essentially someone with a human form combined with fantasy and animal features and powers of some sort. She is on a quest to find out answers after her mother passed away, and is a fierce warrior that single-handedly (literally, she only has one hand) takes down some powerful oppositions. We get glimpses of Maika’s backstory and see some of the inspiration behind her rage. She is a quiet girl that is hiding a pyre underneath intelligent eyes.
Now let’s talk about the art. Firstly, I dare you to find a book as beautifully illustrated as this out there today. No really, Sana Takeda’s art is on another level. It’s cute but graphic. Frightening but enchanting. Her style is something that takes elements of kaiju and merges it with grunge to form something simply gorgeous. It’s one of those books where every single panel could be the variant cover to get. I actually thought I had gotten a variant by mistaken when I saw it come out of my file. The story and illustration are perfectly married in something that so many books are lacking these days, and neither one carries the other, they both live off of one another in superb harmony. Do yourself a favor and check out Sana’s other artwork because she is the epitome of how to merge sexuality and sensuality without making it the typical sleaze that we see all too often these days.
Amazing story, mind blowing artwork, yay! But what else is so great that you couldn’t wait another few issues, Kit Kit? Aside from my manic impatience, it’s the sheer female hell yeah power this series possesses that makes it stand apart. Both writer and artist are female, and all the main characters plus most supporting characters are as well. And the funny thing is, these characters are filling the typical male roles we see today. Maika is taking charge and not sparing anything for fear of being not “feminine enough”, all thanks to Marjorie’s fearless writing. So many women in books are seen being typically hesitant and meek because of their all-too-female feelings, and even though Maika is being fueled by emotions, she isn’t controlled by them. The characters are beautiful but in a breathtakingly real way. They stand like real women, totally destroying the “this is how women are supposed to pose in comic books” stance. They fight like real people fight, they cry like real people cry, they kill like real people kill. There are no angling tricks here, my friend. You know the ones: I’m kicking ass but I’m drawn so you can see mine trash.
I really am hoping that these two amazing creators do an all ages story similar to Monstress because kids of all ages and genders would benefit greatly from this kind of innovation. As for now, we have this amazing gift that I encourage everyone to go pick up. Plus, there’s no excuse because we’re only on issue one!