Mar. 28th, 2013

brigid: A fat faced baby in a cap is stuffed into a mail sack worn by a postal carrier. (what.)
"Monster Pulse" is a kids' comic by the very talented Magnolia Porter, who you might know from or The Good Crook (the latter two aren't really kids comics, though). It follows the adventures of a group of kids, aged 12-14, who have had their body parts transformed into monsters that can fight/defend them. I say "have had their body parts transformed" because it's not something the kids chose. It was something that happened to them by accident or design. Why yes, there IS a shadowy agency lurking in the shadowy shadows orchestrating a bunch of stuff, and yes it IS pretty scary. But it's also not the focus of the comic.

"Monster Pulse" follows the adventures of Bina, Julie, Abel, and West (and their monsters) as they navigate family and personal relationships, cope with the changes their monsters have created in their lives, and try to protect other kids from what happened to them. Porter recently introduced a kid-and-monster antagonist into the groups' lives, and I'm interested in seeing where she goes with that. Her story telling is really top notch, her art is very solid, and her character design of both humans and monsters is creative and distinctive. Porter is a dedicated craftsman who has spent years so far honing her art and writing and it shows. "Monster Pulse" feels very real, the world and science feel very solid and well founded. Her dialogue, her characters' voices, are also very well done. There's a lot going on with the comic (interpersonal relationships among the group (including crushes both romantic and platonic), family relationships, health concerns, the threat of ARMA which created the monsters, social pressures, etc) and Porter weaves it all together, handling it well. It'd be easy for the comic to be entirely angst, or slapstick, or goofy fighting monster Pokemon ripoff but it's none of that. It's nuanced and rich and enjoyable.

Frankly, Porter is a comic creator who I trust implicitly. Whatever she comes out with, I'll read it knowing that I am very likely to enjoy it. So I'm incredibly biased toward her work. But if you like adventure stories and interesting monster design, give Monster Pulse a try.
brigid: A fat faced baby in a cap is stuffed into a mail sack worn by a postal carrier. (what.)
Paranatural, by Zack Morrison, is a kids' comic about a group of twelve year olds who live in a town thick with monsters, ghosts, and other creatures. Some of the kids, and adults, can see ghosts and have special abilities and tools which they can use to fight the ghosts.

Max is the POV character, a new comer to the town and school. As an outsider, everything is as new to him as it is to the readers, and explanations are less info-dump-y than they might otherwise be. It's a gripping comic mixing adventure/fighting and mystery. The art is pretty slick and the color is well done. The character design is good with different characters having different silhouettes and their personalities coming across through their clothing/hair styles. The ghost/monster design is also excellent and very creepy. The dialogue is snappy. Morrison is doing a great job of setting up big whacks of mystery and hidden worlds and revealing little bits and pieces of them, leaving the reader wanting more. Heck, the characters want to know more, too, but the child protagonists have a hard time getting the truth out of the knowledgeable adults around them. And, of course, they're still dealing with school work and teachers and other students (including bullies) and finding their place in the social order.

It's a good comic and a fast read. If you haven't read it before you'll get up to speed pretty quickly.


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