Writer/Creator: Chelsea Cain
Pencils & Inks: Kate Niemczyk
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Oh boy, Image has done it again and released a comic so firmly in my wheelhouse, I think they’re subletting it. Man-Eaters, written and created by author Chelsea Cain, is set in a world where the parasite toxoplasmosis has mutated to have an effect only on teenage girls. The parasite turns girls into murderous big cats when they are on their period. The comic follows Maude, a teenage girl, and her single dad, a homicide detective, as they navigate through this reality.
Every page of this comic had me smiling; the glitter design of the cover, the pamphlets warning of ‘big cat attacks’, the fact the first panel of the comic shows a tampon-superhero defeating the patriarchy; it’s all tongue in cheek and fun. The artwork in this comic is creative and well-executed, with great use of images doing the heavy lifting of the exposition all new comics require. Especially the 2-page spread of an apartment building manages to show both the urgency and the normality of the situation. It’s funny and light, yet manages to show the grim reality of the first wave of girls to be exposed to the parasite too.
I take my (pussy-)hat off to Cain and the art team of Man-Eaters, as it is not often that I stumble across a comic that balances sharp and witty writing with brilliant artwork. The first issue does a brilliant job at effective world-building and doesn’t rely on mystery and intrigue to draw you in to the next issue. The characters are firmly established by the end of the issue and their dynamic, regardless of how little interaction there is between the different actors, is sketched out with ease. Special mention for Cain who, besides one other comics title (Mockingbird for Marvel), predominately has a history in long-form fiction writing. Yet in Man Eaters the writing is pared back to allow the art to do much of the very effective storytelling; something even seasoned comics authors lose sight of at times.
If you like your comics with a dark sense of humour, pick up this comic. If you’ve ever felt murderous when you’re on your period, or have felt worried that you may be at the receiving end of said murderous loved one; definitely pick up this comic.
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