Tuesday means that Thwip! goes “retro” and talks about collections/storylines that we think were awesome (and still are) – today we talk about Monstress.
Ever since the manga explosion in the Western world back around 2000, American comics has always been trying to tap into that manga mentality. There have been some superficial attempts, (such as the Marvel Mangaverse and Archie’s revamp of Josie and the Pussycats), some manga influenced artists striking it out on their own (such as Bryan Lee O’Malley and Adam Warren).
And there is Monstress.
Monstress is a Thwip! Recommended Retro book (and not a Wednesday “What about…”) mainly cause it takes a loooooooong time for each issue to come out.
But when you flip open an issue, you soon see why.
Sana Takeda’s style is gorgeous and heavily involved, being almost as luxuriously detailed as the manga Berserk (which is only in black and white, Monstress is in full color). I don’t know Takeda does it, but each panel is so lush with details that you wonder if the artist gets any sleep as she crafts an issue. Each of the characters are very clearly distinct and the world itself looks like it would not be out of place to be compared to Final Fantasy (especially Ivalice [I have been playing Final Fantasy Tactics a lot lately, love that game])
Of course gorgeous art with no story makes for an empty comic, thankfully though, Marjorie Liu brings it, crafting an intriguing world that has deeply detailed factions, history, and mystery.
Definitely a comic you should keep an eye out for and pick up whenever it becomes available, you never know when the next one will be out