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.

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Monsters Cover


By Barry Windsor-Smith

  • Original Graphic Novel
  • Publisher : Fantagraphics 
  • Release : 4/27/2021
  • Softcover : 380 pages
  • Dimensions : 8.3″ x 11.7″
  • Reading Age : 16+ years
  • MSRP : $39.99

35 years in the making

I read this as preparation for 2022 Eisner voting. It would later earn three (3) well-deserved awards for Best Graphic Novel, Best Artist/Writer, and Best Lettering. The Eisners got it right. Interestingly, Monsters was nominated for the 2021 Harvey Award for “Book of the Year” (which seemed to go against their own criteria since it wasn’t released until 2021). Additionally, i found it very peculiar that Monsters was snubbed entirely by the RIngo Awards.  

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen such a labor of love to this extent in the medium. Its a heavy read that took several sittings. Barry Windsor-Smith’s style, story-telling, and talent definitely evolved over the thirty-five (35) years he spent working on such a lofty project. I don’t mind saying, in the 90s I was too much of a fanboy to really appreciate BWS, but his magnum opus was both definitive and endearing. Highly recommended. 

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Check out the rare interview of BWS by one of my real world heroes (Brian Hibbs with Comix Experience):

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