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Comic Review – Drop Dead Monstrous

Manga Publishers and indeed even Western-Styled Publishers sometimes like to create anthologies, which features some of their artists, to tell a story along a similar theme. Sweatdrop Studios, the UKs first independent publisher of manga, often create anthologies to showcase the works of their Illustrators and Writers. We had the pleasure of meeting one of Sweatdrop Studios Illustrators at Kitacon last month, called Sonia Leong.

Sonia held a panel about how to make your manga suitable for publishing. This meant she covered how to create proper panels for your manga and what the tone process is about. It also included how you aimed your art towards your audience. All in all, it was a really interesting panel which explained a lot of the intricacies of drawing the artwork for a manga comic. When we next saw Sonia, she was in the dealers hall, giving out comics to anyone who bought stuff from the Sweatdrop stall. Naturally, I bought something, claimed my free copy of the comic and decided to give it a review in typical GeekOut fashion. So to all of the wonderful illustrators and writers at Sweatdrop, this is for you!

Story(ies)

Drop Dead Monstrous is an anthology which makes it hard to talk about any one particular story in the comic. Instead, seven illustrators created seven individual stories, of which I summarise below:

Death’s Apprentice by Chloe Citrine
The first story in the anthology is about questioning what constitutes as death. It asks if it is a physical thing, or if it’s even when a soul passes to the other side. To make matters more complicated, what if it is the latter and what if you found that an individual is responsible for making peoples souls pass? How would you feel? How do they feel about their role?

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Last Embrace by Faye Yong
Following in the footsteps of Captain Eva Rivers, who was successful against a martian war front. When Eva and United Force Space Force return from their victory, they realise that something is amiss with what they return to. The people they protected and looked after have been changing. But what would you do if you felt responsible for a change to one you love?

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Flesh & Blood by Marubelle Sinclaire
What would you do if you lost your nearest and dearest from your family? Would you go and make any sacrificed needed if you knew you were able to bring them back? This story faces these questions and sees a sister trying to persuade a Faun to help her bring back her brother. The Faun agrees, so long as she pays the price. But how big is the price?

Kappa Maki by Selina Dean
Kappa Maki follows in the footsteps of the Kappa and a grandma who is retelling a tale of how the village they live in wasn’t always as peaceful as it now is. It used to be terrorised by a huge cucumber monster which scared all of the Kappa. No one knew why, so how would they go about this problem? Well… You’ll need to read that one to find out.

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Cold Blood by Morag Lewis
Two different races meet one another, face to face. One a hunter, the other hunted near to extinction. Things look bleak for the one being hunted down, as this hunter is incredibly skilled. What will the hunter do now that he’s trapped the other down and what will the other do in response to the hunters constant threat to his kind?

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Body Parts by Laura Watton
A zombie that’s risen back from the dead is wandering the Earth aimlessly. So what does a girl zombie do? She tries to find herself a job of course. Being a zombie is tough enough, but when people won’t employ you just because you’re a zombie (hey, that’s discrimination,) then you know it’s hard. Then how do you know you can trust your employers?

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Model Behaviour by Sonia Leong
A catwalk model is getting ready to get to the stage and she was only informed about this last minute. In her rush to get ready for the stage, she isolates herself from all those who try to help her as she indulges in “perks of the lifestyle“. But what would she do when she is delivered news that she certainly didn’t want to hear, minutes before going on stage?

Art

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My favourite part of this comic anthology is that all of the artists styles are unique to them and it shows through in each short story. From Kappa Maki, where you have a playful, happy style to the sharper style of Cold Blood, each stories art accompanies its story perfectly.

The fact I was given this book as a freebie makes me feel particularly bad – As there’s a lot of work gone into this… And it’s superb to read. I love all of the stories, but the art speaks for itself.

Overall

This was a labour of love and it reads from start to finish as a project from the illustrators. I admit, I loved every single one of the shorts. I think for me, there were three stand out ones, but the art in all three were phenomenally well done. The ones that stood out for me were Death’s Apprentice for giving you an interesting ‘what would you do’ scenario when it comes to death, Body Parts for its lightheartedness and how it was a rather sweet tale of a Vegan Zombie, and finally Model Behaviour for its really interesting take on what it means to be a human being called ‘a monster’ and its brutal harshness.

I’d like to thank Sonia Leong for her panel which truly was interesting and gave me an idea for something I’d like to work on, as well as providing me with the book. I’d highly recommend checking out these artists because they do some fantastic work. Have you ever read any anthologies by a comic publisher before? This could be a perfect book for Halloween, so go ahead and order a copy here. It only costs a fiver!

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