A few weeks back I was in London and I visited Forbidden Planet, also known as Nerd Heaven. I bought presents for my aunt and my oldest cousin, they’re both nerds like me. My younger cousin she not so much and I wanted to lure her with something. I found this beautiful collected edition of a comic called “Monstress.” The cover was gorgeous in an “Art déco/Art Nouveau” style, which I love. I flipped through it and there were cute girls with fox ears and fluffy tails. Cats fighting with fencing swords and lots of fun, adorable things. I thought it would be perfect for a twelve-year-old girl just starting out at reading English.
Luckily I read a little before I gave it to her. Because yes, the art is gorgeous, and the characters are adorable at first glance. But the story, it’s dark. It’s brilliant, but it’s not for twelve-year-olds.
The summary for Volume one of the Collected Edition reads:
“Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art déco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both.”
The story is written by Marjorie Liu and the Art is by Sana Takeda.
This is just a beautiful, dark, gritty, story. It stays with you and hits you right in the chest because take away the steampunk/fantasy/magic element of the story and what you’re left with is humankind at it’s worst. I don’t want to spoil anything, so all I can say is this story has won awards and acclaim for good reason. I can’t wait to get my hands on Volume 2.
I mean, just look at this art!