Monika: The Masked Ball

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MONIKA-COVERMonika is not herself. She has never been herself. After a tragic accident ended the lives of her Mother and Step-Father, Monika led a delirious life with her cruel, unloving sister Erika. Despite the misery her sister would constantly bring her, Monika felt connected to her sibling so much so that, when she abruptly disappears,Monika is driven to find her no matter the cost.

Written by Thilde Barboni with illustrations by Guillem March, Monika is a Newbury Comics Exclusive that cannot be beat. It introduces the reader to Monika: an artist living in a big city with aspirations to be famous…or, that’s what appearances would suggest. Read a little further into this 68 page volume and you’ll discover that Monika is not as vapid or flighty as she seems. In fact, Monika is taming internal demons she does not appear to be fully aware of. With her friend Theo she discovers that her sister, Erika, may still be alive and that there is a connection to her. A man who lives in Monika’s city. A man who’s running for office: Christian Epson. But how does a simple, aspiring artist meet with a well protected and sought after bachelor like Christian?
Eleusis
Enter Eleusis. What is Eleusis? It’s not for the faint of heart and if you intend to read this comic around the young it’s DEFINITELY not an appropriate setting. Monika explores very adult themes. There is nudity, there is nude art, there is sexual interaction, there are conversations surrounding rape and abuse…it’s most certainly worth the read but it could cause emotional distress for anyone who has survived abuse. I do not want to deter you from this comic, far from it however; I would like to warn ALL readers that this is a VERY adult comic not because of the nudity but because of the mental and emotional exploration that takes place in Monika’s mind and life.

If you feel comfortable with these themes then you will feel at home in the art work. It is vivid, colorful, modern, unique and awe-inspiring. It’s not often that I am taken aback by illustrations, I have seen so many, but Guillem March manages to capture the heart of the characters presented in Monika so very well that it’s almost overwhelming. I am entirely impressed with the story as well, the intricacies of this tale wind carefully and cleanly. It’s easy to read and there is A LOT of text to read. That’s another area I am impressed with: the type. People don’t often reference typography when reviewing a comic but this one does a FANTASTIC job of making it feel as though the type IS the art. It’s like the words were never really separate from the image. They blend in so well that they lend to the emotional roller coaster this comic takes its readers on.

I strongly suggest picking up a copy of this comic. It’s sensuous art work and bewitching story is a breath of fresh air in an industry inundated with reboots and re-releases. For more on Monika please visit NEWBURY COMICS and prepare yourself for a vivid comic experience.
MONIKA Newbury Comics Variant

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Monika: The Masked Ball
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