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35 years in the making, the most anticipated graphic novel in recent comics history!
The year is 1964. Bobby Bailey doesn’t realize he is about to fulfill his tragic destiny when he walks into a US Army recruitment office to join up. Close-mouthed, damaged, innocent, trying to forget a past and looking for a future, it turns out that Bailey is the perfect candidate for a secret U.S. government experimental program, 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 titular monsters of the title multiply, becoming real and metaphorical, literal and ironic, the story reaches its emotional and moral reckoning.
Monsters is the legendary project Barry Windsor-Smith has been working on for over 35 years. A 380-page tour de force of visual storytelling, Monsters’ narrative canvas is both vast and deep: part familial drama, part political thriller, part metaphysical journey, it is an intimate portrait of individuals struggling to reclaim their lives and an epic political odyssey across two generations of American history. Trauma, fate, conscience, and redemption are just a few of the themes that intersect in the most ambitious graphic novel of Windsor-Smith’s career.
Monsters is rendered in Windsor-Smith’s impeccable pen-and-ink technique, the visual storytelling with its sensitivity to gesture and composition is the most sophisticated of the artist’s career. There are passages of heartbreaking tenderness, of excruciating pain, and devastating violence. It is surely one of the most intense graphic novels ever drawn.
About the Author
Barry Windsor-Smith began his career by drawing mainstay Marvel characters such as the X-Men and Daredevil in 1969 in the traditional Marvel style. However, in 1971 he broke from the Marvel formula when he started drawing the Conan series, turning heads with a fresh and controversial stylistic approach and winning numerous industry awards. Part of a young generation of artists that included compatriots Berni Wrightson, Mike Kaluta, and Jeff Jones, Windsor-Smith proceeded to carve an independent path for himself. In the ‘90s, he conceived, wrote, and drew three independent series, The Freebooters, Young Gods, and The Paradox-Man. In 1999 and 2001 Fantagraphics published Opus volumes 1 and 2, autobiographical coffee table art books. Monsters is his first book since The Freebooters (2005). He currently lives in New York.
For 365 large-format, black-and-white pages, Windsor-Smith conveys gruesome body horror and tender family scenes, nightmarish doom and quiet moments of connection. ... [The artist] feverishly traces the roots of a single violent act backward and forward in time, across generations and nations and the border of life and death itself.
— The New York Times
One of comics’ great literary epics, a masterpiece of story and art and a generous, unexpected gift from a legendary creator in total command of his craft.
Windsor-Smith uses this vast canvas to explore wide-ranging questions about the nature of humanity and the scope of individual responsibility.
— NPR Books
Brilliant. A great, grim 365-page slab of postwar angst… forcefully told and thoroughly affecting.
— The Guardian
Barry Windsor-Smith has undoubtedly earned his reputation as one of the comic book industry's finest living artists. He has kept a fairly low profile for the past two decades, but that promises to change very soon with his haunting new book, Monsters.
Barry Windsor-Smith has for over three decades been working on Monsters. Almost twenty years ago I read an unfinished version and was shocked and astonished at the power and delicacy of the storytelling, by the honesty of the family relationships, by the feeling that this was being created by someone willing to reveal too much and go too deep in order to tell the story he had to tell. That it is completed and that it will be released to the world is something that's genuinely exciting for any of us who care about comics, or stories, or the place where art and imagination meet.
— Neil Gaiman, New York Times best-selling author
Any time Barry Windsor-Smith decides to put pen to paper, it's worth paying attention, but the publication of Monsters feels especially momentous even when you consider his illustrious career. ... Barry Windsor-Smith remains a master of the form, and Monsters is proof.
— Syfy Wire
Deeply disturbing and frequently beautiful ... Fans will pick up the book for Windsor-Smith's ornamental artwork.
— Publishers Weekly
The illustrations are in black and white and finely detailed, with shadows enhancing an ominous tone, and readers of political and supernatural thrillers, sf, and historical fiction with a vein of forbidden love will all enjoy this book.
This exquisitely illustrated epic bursts with emotion, insight, and empathy. Five decades into his already influential career, Windsor-Smith has created his magnum opus.
— Library Journal (starred review)