Fans of Marvel’s Conan the Barbarian will remember when the comic made its debut in the 70’s. The writer was Roy Thomas and the artist they chose to handle the title was Barry Windsor-Smith or Barry Smith as he was known then. He worked over three years on the title and was recognized for his work by fans and critics alike. Throughout the years since then, Windsor-Smith has worked in and out of the comic book genre while embracing his own projects. One of those projects is Monsters. This 360 page extravaganza has been over 30 years in the making, and will finally be released on April 27th through Fantagraphics. The highly anticipated volume was announced in this press release:
Barry Windsor-Smith’s Highly Anticipated Graphic Novel MONSTERS is On Sale This Week From Fantagraphics
(April 26, 2021) Over three decades in the making, the graphic novel MONSTERS by legendary comics artist Barry Windsor-Smith is a 360-page tour de force of visual storytelling. Best known for drawing the Conan series of the ’70s and creating several independent comic series of the ’90s — including Young Gods and The Paradox-Man — Windsor-Smith is now releasing his first major work since The Freebooters (2005). Fantagraphics will release MONSTERS on April 27, 2021.
Set in a timeline spanning the 1940s to the ’60s, Monsters centers around young Bobby Bailey, a naïve, emotionally fraught young man with a tragic destiny. The day he walks into a US military recruitment office, little does he know that he will become the subject of a top secret, experimental genetics program with loathsome Nazi origins. Thus kicks off a dizzying chain of cascading events that spin out of everyone’s control as friends, foes, and others are swept into his orbit and must grapple with the earth-shattering ramifications of what this unholy experiment has wrought. As the titular monsters of the title multiply, becoming real and metaphorical, literal and ironic, the story reaches its emotional and moral reckoning.
“After putting so much time and investing so much creative energy in this project,” says Windsor-Smith, “I’m pleased that it’s finally being published.”
Fanatagraphics Publisher Gary Groth
“I’ve known Barry for over 50 years now, so publishing his biggest and most artistically mature work to date is a personal and professional milestone for me,” said Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth. “I’m grateful that he’s entrusted this important work to us.”
Monsters’ vast narrative canvas is part familial drama, part espionage thriller, part metaphysical journey — in sum, an intimate portrait of individuals and an epic political odyssey spanning two generations of American history. Trauma, fate, conscience, and redemption are a few of the themes that intersect in Windsor-Smith’s Monsters. Rendered in Windsor-Smith’s impeccable pen-and-ink technique, this graphic novel is surely one of the most intense and gripping works of visual storytelling ever drawn.
Here’s what people are saying about MONSTERS:
Neil Gaiman, New York Times bestselling author
“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.”
“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.”
Library Journal (starred review)
“This exquisitely illustrated epic bursts with emotion, insight, and empathy. Five decades into his already influential career, Windsor-Smith has created his magnum opus.”―
Foreword Magazine (starred review)
“Consummate craftsman Barry Windsor-Smith presents an epic tale of love, horror, revenge, and redemption in his outstanding graphic novel. …Years in the making, Monsters is a graphic narrative masterpiece and a haunting examination of the lingering effects of evil.”
“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.”
“Deeply disturbing and frequently beautiful.”
Senior Writer at GeekVibesNation – I am a 50 something child of the 70’s who admits to being a Star Trek/Star Wars/Comic Book junkie who once dove head first over a cliff (Ok, it was a small hill) to try to rescue his Fantastic Four comic from a watery grave. I am married to a lovely woman who is as crazy as I am and the proud parent of a 17 year old boy with autism. My wife and son are my real heroes.