Segregation of the Monster Nation: Should You Be Reading ‘Monsterkind’?
When you look at the sheer range and number of original stories being told in comics form today, it’s hard to imagine a better time to be a comics reader. Online and in print, from all around the world, artists and writers are telling stories with their own voices and styles, and there’s so much to choose from that it’s sometimes difficult to know what to read next. With Should I Be Reading… ?, ComicsAlliance hopes to offer you a guide to some of the best original ongoing comics being published today.
In Taylor C's Monsterkind, the world is a strictly segregated society, with the lowest of the low designated as monsters and confined to the shabbiest districts. A human social worker named Wallace has recently been transferred into such a district, and is forced to make friends with the kind of people he's been taught to be wary of, without ever realizing it.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Wallace Foster is a social worker who wants to bring good into the world, but he is sheltered by his circumstances --- he is human, and he lives in a world where policy dictates that if you're not human, you are on the bottom rung of society's totem pole. He is confronted with this, and with all of his unconscious biases, when he is transferred to a district full of non-humans --- referred to as monsters --- and finds out firsthand what the obstacles to daily life are for the undesirables of this society.
Everyone around him exchanges furtive glances when uncomfortable subjects come up. Most of his clients slam the door in his face. Not because of Wallace or who he is, but because of a system that prizes Wallace above the residents of District C --- a system that Wallace is coming to see the full contours of.
WHO'S IT BY?
Taylor C is a twenty-something cartoonist living in Savannah, Georgia. She has been writing and drawing Monsterkind since 2012.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
The art is expressive and makes the intelligent choice to portray the world of the monsters as colorful instead of an oppressive dystopia. District C is a place where people live, and its problems are more subtle than a muted color palette. Everything seems mostly okay on the surface. Mostly.
The storytelling and pacing of the panels show how this is only on the surface --- this is a comic with a lot of awkward pauses and glances about subjects that no one wants to talk about. People in the district are troubled, and most of them walk with the defensive hunch that people in any neighborhood walk with when the police aren't there for your protection --- they're there to protect others from you. Preemptively, if need be.
Despite this, the writing never lets itself get distracted by screeds about social consciousness --- whenever the inherent problems of the segregated society come up, it's natural to the conversation. Fundamentally, Monsterkind is more about the people caught up in the broken system, and how it's broken them, than about the system itself.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Fans of gorgeous artwork and fiction that handles social commentary with a careful touch.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?
It's available online at the Monsterkind website, updating every Tuesday and Friday.