ACHUKA Book of the Day 6 May 2021
“In this 360-page graphic novel, the London-born Windsor-Smith moves out of his more customary fantasy mode to reappraise the values of the United States, his adopted homeland of over fifty years. Central to his critique is the monster shown in close up on the cover, red stripes spray-painted across his face, two small US flags poking from his ears, as if personifying patriotism perverted into some grotesque Captain America.” TLS
“Monsters hums with suppressed violence and regret, and Windsor-Smith renders both with real power. His command of pose and gesture – Tom’s thick arms bunching with tension, Janet’s shoulders slumping in resignation – brings his cast to life.” GUARDIAN
“I’ve drawn stories in the simplest of fashions; just plain and simple outlines that suggest reality rather than define it. I’ve created stories with high detail like a Pre-Raphaelite painting. Boiling comics down to simplicity is fine if you are producing a simple narrative. Monsters is realistic and complex and is therefore rendered that way.” Barry Windsor-Smith NPR
A FAILED GENETICS PROJECT FROM 1944 GERMANY INVADES THE LIVES OF TWO AMERICAN FAMILIES IN THE 1950s AND THE 1960s
[contains adult dialogue]
Bailey doesn’t realize he is about to fulfil his tragic destiny when he walks into a US Army recruitment office. Secretive, damaged, innocent, trying to forget a past and looking for a future, Bobby is the perfect candidate for a secret US government experiment, an unholy continuation of a genetics program that was discovered in Nazi Germany nearly 20 years earlier in the waning days of World War II. Bailey’s only ally and protector, Sergeant McFarland, intervenes, which sets off a chain of cascading events that spin out of everyone’s control. As the monsters of the title multiply, becoming real and metaphorical, the story reaches a crescendo of moral reckoning.
A 360-page tour de force of visual storytelling, Monsters‘ narrative canvas is copious: part family drama, part thriller, part metaphysical journey, it is an intimate portrait of individuals struggling to reclaim their lives and an epic political odyssey that plays across two generations of American history. With passages of heartbreaking tenderness, excruciating pain, redemption and sacrifice, and devastating violence, Monsters must be of the most intense graphic novels ever drawn.