Mary Shelley: Monster Slayer - The Review

Mary Shelley: Monster Slayer - The Review
What inspired Mary Shelley in writing her Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus? What facts have disclosed in your imagination what has become the forerunner of science fiction and horror? Echoes of a past truly lived by the British author mingle with the fiction of the graphic novel Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter, in which Adam Glass and Olivia Cuartero-Briggs reimagine the famous novel as a long autobiographical fact described by the writer in the form of a ' fictional work.

The result is a surprising declaration of female power, able to shape life but also to remove it, embodied in the figure of Mary Shelley, here mother and writer as well as hunter of monstrous creatures. Between these lines we tell you about Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter, the new graphic novel SaldaPress.

He's alive!

Imagine being able to witness the facts that led a writer to put black white a sequence of events until turning them into a novel, whose world fame has been indisputable for over two centuries. This is what Adam Glass and Olivia Cuartero-Briggs did, accompanied on this journey of fantastic discovery by Hayden Sherman for what concerns the drawings. Mary Shelley: Monster Slayer is in fact the (imagined) story of how the young writer experienced horror firsthand, face to face with a monstrous creature born from the reanimated parts of dead men.

The authors thus juggled in reconstructing the journey made by Mary Shelley to Geneva, where it seems that she really found the inspiration for her Frankenstein. Although, in the graphic novel, in the worst possible way. Mary is the daughter of one of the first feminist women in history, Mary Wallstonecraft, and of William Godwin, a philosopher with anarchist-communist ideas, and already at the age of nineteen she feels the weight of the conventions imposed by her genre. Her ideologies thus follow those of the late mother and her lifestyle is devoted to free love, so wherever she moves in Europe together with the future husband Percy Bisshe Shelley and their company of friends, Mary is pointed out as a member of the " league of incest and atheism ".

Accompanied in fact by Percy, his poet friend Lord Byron and his lover Claire Clairmont, as well as his half-sister, Fanny, Mary Shelley (or rather, Godwin, at time of the facts) embarks on a journey to Geneva, where he finds himself a guest, despite himself, at the Frankenstein castle. Here, amid inhuman screams, sudden roars and gruesome noises that seem to come from a room to which they have been denied access, the company decides to get back on the road and escape from the possible horrors that lurk inside the castle. But not before Mary confronts her owner and their guest face to face to discover the true nature of these mysterious phenomena, who is none other than… Dr. Victoria Frankenstein.

Helped by Imogen Gull, her assistant , the doctor is trying to instill life breath in a man made up of the anatomical parts of several corpses, to make him her keeper and allow her to make her way into a patriarchal world ruled purely by men without being hindered. Mary, having discovered the truth, joins the two women in their project and thus has the opportunity to be part of something that finally gives meaning to her restless life. However, what seems like a scientific discovery capable not only of overturning the knowledge acquired up to that moment in the surgical field, but also of opening the doors of knowledge and power to female figures, will soon prove to be a horrible sentence. br>

Strong women for strong stories

With Mary Shelley: Monster Slayer we are faced with a work of fiction that is inspired by a historical character and, through the veil of the outlined imagination with the drawing, you can see what Mary Shelley really must have been during her life of restlessness and pain. It is a graphic novel that opens to reflective ideas of great importance in our historical period, and to fully understand one of the reasons why it works, it is worth spending a few words on its authors.

Adam Glass is an author who he knows something about making stories: writer and executive producer of Supernatural, Cold Case and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, he was also the author of Deadpool: Suicide Kings and Suicide Squad, as well as The Normals, The Lollipop Kids and Rough Riders, all AfterShock branded. Her colleague, Olivia Cuartero-Briggs, also worked as a television writer and screenwriter, although Mary Shelley: Monster Slayer appears to be the writer's first true comic. The ability of both of them to write an engaging story and, in this case, also innovative, is undoubtedly out of the pages of the graphic novel.

From a troubled existence like the one lived by Mary Goldwin, a powerful tale of decisiveness: the gothic author made her Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus in 1817, at the age of only nineteen, and has spent her life writing other perhaps lesser known novels, articles and poems; then afflicted by the loss of her children and her husband, she was forced to live alone with her only son left alive, making ends meet thanks to her skills as a writer. A strength of spirit that also emerges in Mary Shelley: Monster Slayer, when we see the protagonist pass over the gossip almost casually, straight to what could make it complete and fulfilled, albeit risky; or even when she fearlessly faces the possible dangers hidden inside the Frankenstein Castle, despite being in full pregnancy and her traveling companions urge her not to run any danger.

The aura of female strength it expands and then acquires greater fullness as we meet Victoria Frankenstein and learn the story of her past. With an authoritative air and a strongly androgynous presence, the doctor banished from the most erudite circles for the sole reason of being a woman pursues her ambitions of personal fulfillment and revenge, exploiting her remarkable abilities and her intellect for what she believes can be good. higher. Glass and Cuartero-Briggs thus put us in front of a pressing question for these times and they do it with the horror-adventurous tone of their graphic novel: that of gender equality. Mary and Victoria thus become its banners and with their firmness they show that these do not necessarily have to be colored pink, but can also take on dark and deep tones splashed here and there with blood red: those of struggle and courage, even at cost of sacrificing something of themselves along the way.

And in fact the protagonists of Mary Shelley: Monster Slayer leave a piece of themselves inside that cursed castle, as if to say that this is what the our society since ancient times: it forces women to make sacrifices greater than those that could be made by a man, in order to affirm themselves and make their feeble voices heard among the male roars. In this case, both Mary and Victoria, and Imogen with them, lose part of their humanity, welcome in their souls a black abyss made of immorality, of illicit practices that go beyond the laws of nature to place themselves above those laws themselves. and make one's own a capacity that has always been considered purely divine. The graphic novel by Glass and Cuartero-Briggs is also a story, therefore, of human and fallible feelings, such as ambition, envy or jealousy: invariably, even being created in the laboratory will be animated by those same impulses and, twist, will be precisely these to represent the ruin of all those who will be involved in his (new) existence. That trying to equal God is always doomed to fail because we are too… human?

A modern reinterpretation

Horror graphic novel with thriller drifts and a sprinkling of adventure embodied by that Mary Godwin who hunt down monstrous creatures? However you want to define it, Mary Shelley: Monster Slayer is basically an excellent reinterpretation of a classic of literature, which provides us with a new point of view on the famous Frankenstein, long-time one of the protagonists of the horror genre. Some of the main themes that transpire from the British author's novel are not missing: the ambition to replace God and forge life by means of an earthly instrument such as science can be; the desire for blind revenge; the creature, like a kind of golem, rebelling against its creator; a gloomy and frightening place that is the backdrop to the amoral practices perpetrated by the protagonists. But in the graphic novel imagined by Adam Glass and Olivia Cuartero-Briggs the story is enriched with new nuances and represents a highly appreciable variation on the theme.

If in fact the female condition had begun to be a rather "felt" theme. from the most sensitive souls of the time in which Shelley lived (we see it for example in the figure of Mary Wallstonecraft, mother of the author), today it represents one of the crucial points of our society. A hot issue that cannot be ignored, and representing it through the figure of Mary Shelley turns out to be an ingenious choice that wins on all fronts: a young woman who has rightfully become part of the circle of horror masters, who has on her own and struggled to carve out her place in the world, she is the ideal subject of this story, which becomes, in the horror shades of Glass and Cuartero-Briggs, a real heroine able to defeat any aberration of nature.

Mary Shelley: Cacciatri di Mostri then presents itself with illustrations by Hayden Sherman, with "antiqued" palettes ranging from sepia to purple, with slightly acid blacks and yellows for the scariest sequences: particularly apt and harmonious in the complex with the rapid lines that outline this history of the early 19th century with a Central European flavor. However, as evident as Sherman's expertise in illustration is, his rather edgy and sometimes very hasty drawings would probably have been better suited for a comic in a different, more dynamic genre, such as a sci-fi or graphic novel. adventure.

In any case, the only real flaw found in Mary Shelley: Monster Hunter is probably only one: that of presenting itself as a single volume, without (at the moment) a continuation that tells us about the adventures of the gothic writer around Europe against vampires, werewolves, witches and every kind of creature imaginable. We would have liked more and we hope for a new, possible collaboration between the two authors to churn out a sequel dedicated to this new heroine armed with a pen and a rifle.

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