Tag Archives: marjorie liu

The Final Four Image Variants

Image Comics has revealed the final 4 of 15 tribute variants planned for February’s 25th anniversary theme month to round out the full list of “tribute covers” celebrating the legendary cover images from throughout the Image’s history.

The newly revealed tribute variants include: Sean Lewis & Hayden Sherman’s The Few #2 commemorating Jonathan Hickman & Nick Dragotta’s East of West #1Chris Dingess, Matthew Roberts, Owen Gieni’s Manifest Destiny #26 commemorating Jonathan Layman & Rob Guillory’s Chew #1, Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress #10 commemorating Todd McFarlane’s Spawn #1, and Outcast by Robert Kirkman & Paul Azaceta #25 commemorating Rob Liefeld’s Brigade #1.

Each month of Image’s 25th year will announce a list of special themed anniversary variants, which will begin to hit shelves on Wednesday, February 1st—the exact date of Image Comics’ founding in 1992, and the date of this year’s “Image Comics Day.”

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Madison’s Favorite Comics of 2016

Last year I prioritized cutting back on cape books and diversifying the publishers and stories that I read. Though many of the comics I read weren’t published in 2016 (especially ones I read during Women’s History Month) I still found it hard to narrow down the list of ongoing series I particularly loved throughout the year.

Here are ten comics I couldn’t put down in 2016:

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10. Goldie Vance by Hope Larson and Brittney Williams

This is a series I would have loved as a child. Goldie is the perfect mix of Nancy Drew and Eloise (of Plaza fame). Goldie Vance is great for a younger audience but doesn’t shy away from emotionally complex stories. Goldie and her friends are well-rounded characters with a wide range of interests who readers–young and not-young alike–will be able to relate to.

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9. Elasticator by Alan C. Medina and Kevin Shah

Elasticator is the kind of smart, political superhero comic I wish was more prevalent. The writing is fresh and interesting and Shah’s art is lively and animated with great colors from Ross A. Campbell.

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8. Snotgirl by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Leslie Hung

Lottie Person is just about as far away from Scott Pilgrim as you could get, though they do, at times, share a similar self-absorption. Snotgirl quickly became one of my favorite series of the year, because while not many people can say they’re successful fashion bloggers, they can likely relate to Lottie’s personal problems. Leslie Hung and Mickey Quinn provide gorgeous, vibrant visuals and the best wardrobe in comics, to boot.

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7. We(l)come Back by Christopher Sebela and Claire Roe

Reincarnation? Check. Assassins? Check. Shadowy organizations? Check. A+ fashion choices? Check. Reincarnated assassins in love running from other assassins who are trying to assassinate them? …Also check. What more can you want from a story?

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6. Shutter by Joe Keatinge and Leila del Duca

Shutter is one of Image’s most underrated titles. The story follows Kate Kristopher, the daughter of legendary explorer Chris Kristopher, and her discovery of some little-known family history. The comic is consistently interesting not only because of its plot, but because del Duca and colorist Owen Gieni are constantly experimenting with narrative structure and using different techniques to influence how the story is read.

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5. Clean Room by Gail Simone and Jon Davis-Hunt

Clean Room is a creepy psychological horror comic about journalist Chloe Pierce’s investigation of self-help master Astrid Mueller, who Pierce suspects is more cult leader than anything else. Or is she? Mueller is a fascinating character, and the unknowable question of which side she’s actually on only adds to the story’s suspense.

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4. The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

What if you could be a god, but you’d die within two years? Consistently equal parts entertaining and heartbreaking with consistently incredible art and color from Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson. You’ve probably heard of this one.

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3. Mockingbird by Chelsea Cain, Kate Niemczyk, Sean Parsons, and Ibrahim Moustafa

One of the few superhero comics I read this year, Mockingbird was one of my absolute favorites. Cain writes Bobbi Morse as confident and smart, and the result was a fun mystery thriller with gorgeous art. The series also featured some of my favorite colors and covers this year, by Rachelle Rosenberg and Joelle Jones.

By the time I write my 2017 list, I might be over Mockingbird’s cancellation.

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2. Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Val DeLandro

2016 was light on Bitch Planet–only four issues were released throughout the year–but continued to provide insightful and relevant commentary in what turned out to be a period of rapid change in the real-life political landscape.

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1. Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda

Monstress started strong in 2015 and only got better. The main character, Maika, is a teenage girl living with a monster inside, something she learns to live with and use to her advantage as the plot develops. Monstress is full of unrepentant female characters set in a stunningly rendered fantasy world.

Ms. Monster

bitch planetDuring my undergraduate study, I spent an enlightening semester learning entirely about women writers and how they write women and girls. It’s something I’ve carried with me, especially in reading comics. While it is now less rare for women to occupy a central role in comics, the field is still overwhelmingly male-dominated and male character-centric. This often leaves female characters in a space that is Other, or separate from the norm.

With creator-owned comics on the rise, women are now able to carve spaces in which to tell their own stories. Two stories in particular, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine DeLandro’s Bitch Planet and Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress, challenge the Othering of femininity by exploiting the connection of femininity to monstrosity and allowing characters to reclaim this aspect of their identities by embracing the monstrous.

It is possible to understand this reclamation of identity by using Julia Kristeva’s theory of abjection as a lens. Kristeva is a Bulgarian-French philosopher, psychoanalyst, and feminist whose work spans multiple disciplines but is prominent in structuralism and poststructuralism.

Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection outlines Kristeva’s theory of abjection in a very French and somewhat complex way. The abject, by definition, is a “non-object” that lingers in a person’s psyche as a consequence of repression. The abject disturbs system, identity, and order. To abject something is to other it from the “I,” pushing it away from the self to maintain personal boundaries.

Monstress01_CoverA simple example of this sort of behavior is food loathing. This is a common behavior, especially in children, but the dissonance between something that is supposed to nourish and the unpleasant taste or nauseous feeling causes abjection. If you hated broccoli as a kid or avoid a certain food after eating something and getting sick, this is a basic form of abjection.

Abjection can also exist among people, so when discussing abjection it is important to make a distinction between subject, object, and abject. The subject is “I.” (When you, reader, speak about yourself, your thoughts, you say “I.” You’re subject.) Now table that thought for a moment. The difference between object and abject is contingent on one point. Objects hold weight and meaning. The abject is not an object because it does not hold weight. The only “object” quality the abject possesses is that it opposes the “I.”

One example Kristeva uses to distinguish each definition is that of a corpse. Kristeva says corpses are simultaneously subject, object, and abject–the body was once a person, a subject, but became object after death. Corpses are also abject because they force us to consider the uncomfortable truth of our inevitable deaths.

What both the food loathing and corpse examples have in common is the idea that they are improper or unclean. People and bodies will abject things they deem “incorrect,” but what is unclean, gross, or incorrect doesn’t directly cause abjection; they create a disruption of a person’s system, identity, and order and that causes abjection. Disruption of the boundaries demonstrates their fragility.

Abjection of people is driven by a failure of one member of a group to recognize its kin. This same lack of recognition drives fear of what has been deemed Other. A person possessing some quality that has been deemed “incorrect” on a larger social scale causes a lack of recognition, which is perpetuated on an individual level. This creates a cycle of fear and rejection by engendering disgust for the “not normal” or “not human.” Social constructs are upheld and continue to oppress the abject.

BitchPlanet02_CoverAccording to Kristeva, one natural reaction to abjection is religion, which is an attempt to create order where the abject has disturbed it. Using this reasoning, the formation of governing bodies–including the Cumaea in Monstress and the male-led government in Bitch Planetare an attempt to control the abject.

Kristeva says another natural reaction to the abject is to create art. Using comics to explore the abject allows both readers and creators to approach the subject in worlds both fictional and real. The settings of the comics discussed here (an off-world prison and an alternate version of early 20th century Asia) allow writers and artists to discuss issues present in real life. The main characters of both comics are monstrous women, all of whom are attempting to create their own space in the world. Comics give these creators a space to both examine the abject and criticize the social systems that oppress the abject in a fictional world, as well as in our real one. (Bitch Planet also accomplishes this by including essays in the backmatter of single issues.)

In Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine DeLandro’s Bitch Planet, women who are determined “non-compliant” are shipped to an off-world prison. Non-compliance in women is determined by any number of “crimes,” including being “aesthetically offensive,” obese, or transgender. In Bitch Planet, misogyny is taken to an extreme level. Women who fall outside of a narrow box of acceptable gender behavior and presentation and individuals who don’t conform to traditional binary standards are punished for existing. It’s a harsh critique of the standards women are held to in real life–both behaviorally and aesthetically.

Monstress, by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, combines a number of fantasy elements that make up an alternate Asia, which plays home to Maika, an Arcanic teen. The Arcanics’ magic makes them highly desired by the Cumaea, a religious order that uses Arcanic Lilium to enhance the powers of its members. Arcanics are regarded as a lowly sub-human class, which allows the story to explore themes of racism and slavery. Since it is told from Maika’s perspective, much of the story also focuses on her strength (inner and outer) as she resists the oppressive force of the Cumaea.

Monstress05_CoverThough they take place in vastly different worlds, Bitch Planet and Monstress feature protagonists who have been Othered in some way. The characters readers are meant to root for and maybe even identify with are seen as non-human because they disrupt established social structures and system, identity, and order.

Inmates of the Auxiliary Compliance Outpost are abject for any number of reasons, from not being feminine enough to “driving” their husbands to infidelity. They are treated inhumanely, used only as an example for other women and bodies in sport. The women find a sense of community with each other, bound by their monstrous qualities.

Maika of Monstress is introduced as a slave, immediately establishing her as abject and Other. This is only furthered when readers learn of her powerful psychic connection to a literal monster that she refers to as her “hunger.” Maika is considered a monster even before she embraces this title.

The pathologization of women’s behavior in Bitch Planet and demonization of Arcanics mean that these characters are considered monsters regardless of whether their behavior reflects that designation. Neither comic is subtle about its connection of femininity to the monstrous, and both take care to show that women’s experiences with society intersect differently based on race and sexuality.

The metaphor of the monstrous is accessible in Bitch Planet, where the particularly relevant issue three focuses on how women are punished for attempting to conform to social standards (taking part in harmful diets and beauty rituals) and for living outside these standards (in which case they are made social outcasts). The metaphor is equally accessible in Monstress, where Maika quite literally lives with a murderous monster called Monstrum inside of her. The Monstrum, though dangerous, helps Maika to defend herself against threats and to withstand constant dehumanization.

These works are important because they bring to light issues that some readers may not experience because of their social or economic privileges. By forcing readers to interact with abject concepts, these stories also force readers to consider perspectives they otherwise wouldn’t because readers themselves wish to escape the uncomfortableness of the topic. These stories also examine institutions which have been founded on oppressive platforms whose original intent was to protect the privileged from the abject.

Despite being considered monstrous, the characters in either comic embrace this aspect of their identity. Inmates in Bitch Planet use their strengths as non-compliant women (both physical and mental) to fight for their freedom. While Maika’s goal is to find answers about her mother’s death, she also uses her monstrousness to protect other Arcanics and fight the Cumaean order. This is a way to claw back at the systems that have rejected and othered them and to reclaim their identities and their rights to live a free and happy life.

Characters pushing back against oppressive systems reflect the real-life struggle for equality between the abject and those who have abjected them. These characters want to be seen as an “object” rather than Other in the sense that this would allow them to be recognized by their peers as non-abject and human.

Though Bitch Planet and Monstress explore vastly different worlds, they both offer a unique approach to examining the abject. And as female characters fight for and claw out their own space in their worlds, their creators do the same in ours.

This paper was originally presented as part of the 2016 Comics and Popular Arts Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.

Review: Monstress #7

monstress07_coverMaika’s journey of discovery takes a somewhat darker turn in the latest installment of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress. You have been warned.

After sacrificing what remained of her left arm to defeat the Cumean Mother Superior, Maika has returned to her mother’s home with Kippa and Ren in hopes of getting answers about the mask and photograph she’s been carrying. Maika’s life before the story began has been slowly revealed in fragments, and her trip home allows for natural development of her background. Readers meet some new people from Maika’s past, each of whom are equally as interesting and surprising as every other character.

While this issue explores more of Maika’s history, it also explores the rising tension between her and Kippa. Kippa, though loyal, has grown as a character immensely since her introduction. As she grows, so does her kindness and sense of right and wrong. In the first arc of the story, Maika grew steadily more ruthless as she recognized the Monstrum’s power. Though Kippa is young and innocent, her moral code is strong and the story offers no clues as to how the growing conflict between the two will be resolved.

Monstress #7 also explores a little more background on Ren, a nekomancer. The nekomancers are, as their name implies, cat necromancers, which is not only an interesting and unique concept, but also one of the best puns in a comic possibly ever. Bringing in the different groups keeps the comic well-rounded and balanced, and introducing them little by little.

Despite the increasingly detailed and complex worldbuilding, the comic doesn’t feel inaccessible. The experience of reading Monstress is, as always, fully fleshed out with Sana Takeda’s beautiful illustration. The amount of care and attention that goes into each character’s expressions and clothing contribute just as much to the worldbuilding as the lore of the story. The inclusion of detail in everyday scenes–filigreed perfume bottles, brocaded clothing, carved stone pillars–makes a lack of detail especially noticeable. Takeda applies a lack of detail masterfully, using it to emphasize the lack of control Maika has over her hunger.

The colors emphasize the detail and set the mood. Monstress is often serious in tone and deals with dark themes, but the comic itself is rarely visually dark. Dynamic, layered colors build up and add to the magic of the series. The amount of thought put into the colors and detail make Monstress an especially gorgeous fantasy epic that will stand the test of time.

Story: Marjorie Liu Art: Sana Takeda
Story: 10.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 10.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Star Wars: Han Solo #1

Han_Solo_1_CoverHan Solo has finally entered his ship into the Dragon Void Run – an infamous high-stakes race across the stars. You know, the race Han has dreamt of winning. Only there’s a catch – his entry into this legendary race is a top-secret undercover mission for Princess Leia and the Rebellion! Will he keep his mind on the mission? More importantly – can he manage to pull it off while still maintaining his lead in the race?!

Marjorie Liu writing Star Wars, especially Han Solo?! Yes, please! Star Wars: Han Solo #1 is set after the Battle of Yavin and has the Rebellion reaching out to have him compete in a mission only he can pull off. The concept and story feels natural in every way fitting into Star Wars easily and not feeling forced.

Liu plays off Solo’s reputation giving us the classic arrogant smuggler which doesn’t want to admit he’s a good guy. But, she does that in a build that begins in the beginning of the issue, veers a little bit, and ends with some awesome action. That’s what really impressed me with the issue. Liu slowly builds up the action of the issue for an ending that has me really excited for the next issue. It again shows Liu’s mastery of storytelling, she really takes the reader along for the ride here building up to a fun payoff.

She’s helped by Mark Brooks whose art feels like a mix of modern Star Wars comics and the classic 1980s comics I grew up reading. It’s awesome, where each character looks like their live action selves. There’s also tons of detail in the alien world and aliens.

This is an absolute get if you’re a fan of Star Wars, Marjorie Liu, or Mark Brooks. The new series continues Marvel’s killing it with their line of Star Wars comics.

Story: Marjorie Liu Art: Mark Brooks
Story: 8.65 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.65 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Image Announces New Image Firsts

Image Comics has announced the release of three new Image Firsts editions—printings of the first issues of popular series that only cost $1. Perfect for readers interested in trying out a variety of new series without feeling the effects on their wallet, these new releases will be available in stores on July 13th, just in time San Diego Comic-Con.

The three new titles are Paper Girls #1 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, Monstress #1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda, and I Hate Fairyland #1 by Skottie Young.

The final order cutoff deadline for retailers on all three is Monday, June 20th.

PAPER GIRLS #1

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Stand By Me meets War of the Worlds in this mysterious young adult adventure, starting with a spectacular double-sized first issue. The Image Firsts: Paper Girls #1 edition is available with Diamond Code MAY168030.

MONSTRESS #1

Steampunk meets Kaiju in this original fantasy epic for mature readers, as young Maika risks everything to control her psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, placing her in the center of a devastating war between human and otherworldly forces. The adventure begins in a spectacular triple-sized first issue, with sixty-six pages of story. The Image Firsts: Monstress #1 edition is available with Diamond Code MAY168031.

I HATE FAIRYLAND #1

The Adventure Time/Alice in Wonderland-style epic that smashes its cute little face against Tank Girl/Deadpool-esque violent madness has arrived. In an adventure that ain’t for the little kiddies, (unless you have super cool parents, then whatever), you’ll meet Gert—a six year old girl who has been stuck in the magical world of Fairyland for thirty years and will hack and slash her way through anything to find her way back home. Join Gert and her giant battle-axe on a delightfully blood soaked journey to see who will survive the girl who hates Fairyland. The Image Firsts: I Hate Fairyland #1 edition is available with Diamond Code MAY168029.

 

Review: Monstress #6

Monstress06_CoverAs with previous issues, Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda bring a level of storytelling to Monstress that’s unlikely to be found elsewhere in the comic industry.

While there are arguments for and against story summaries at the beginning of comics, it’s often helpful in reading Monstress. The story is never simply an overload of facts, but it is incredibly multifaceted and, on occasion, it’s easy to miss finer details. Monstress #5 left Maika’s fate at the hands of Corvin D’Oro, a member of the Arcanic Dusk Court, and #6 picks up immediately after, with Maika imprisoned once again.

The story’s pacing has been one of its (many) strengths, with plot points occurring in quick succession and just enough supplementary information to keep readers informed on what’s important. Liu makes use of the good kind of guessing to keep the plot fresh and interesting each issue, and Monstress #6. Power and humanity, which have been an underlying themes throughout the story, are brought to the forefront in this issue, as many forces, including Maika herself, grapple for control of Maika and her inner monster.

As Maika develops, so does Kippa, a character who often praises Maika’s strength but displays many strengths of her own, including loyalty and bravery. Monstress showcases strength in many forms through its female characters. Each character has a distinct appearance and personality that informs their reaction to the very dark and real tragedies that befall them. It’s an aspect of the story that allows readers to relate to the characters, even if no one has experienced this alternate version of 1900s Asia.

Sana Takeda’s art is as breathtaking as it has ever been, with character designs that push the boundaries of the usual fantasy types. The amount of detail that goes into each panel is an amazing feat, another aspect of the story that elevates it above and beyond an average fantasy story. The panel layout maximizes the space of the page, giving Monstress a larger than life feel.

The story is an incredibly huge undertaking, and Liu and Takeda keep readers guessing as to where it will go next. If it hasn’t already claimed a spot on your pull list, Monstress is absolutely deserving of it.

Story: Marjorie Liu Art: Sana Takeda
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Punch It Into Hyperspace With Your New Look at Star Wars: Han Solo #1!

Everyone’s favorite scoundrel – now starring in his very own series! Marvel has released a look inside Han Solo #1 – the highly anticipated Star Wars limited series coming to a galaxy far, far away and your local comic shops this June! A-list creators Marjorie Liu and Mark Brooks hop in the cockpit of the Millennium Falcon to bring you a swashbuckling tale of high adventure in deep space!

Han Solo has finally entered his ship into the Dragon Void Run – an infamous high-stakes race across the stars. You know, the race Han has dreamt of winning. Only there’s a catch – his entry into this legendary race is a top-secret undercover mission for Princess Leia and the Rebellion! Will he keep his mind on the mission? More importantly – can he manage to pull it off while still maintaining his lead in the race?!

The race is on as Han, Chewie and the Falcon blast off this June!

STAR WARS: HAN SOLO #1 (of 5) (APR161034)
Written by MARJORIE LIU
Art by MARK BROOKS
Cover by LEE BERMEJO
Variant Covers by JOHN CASSADAY (APR161035)
and MIKE ALLRED (APR161037)
Millennium Falcon Variant by SCOTT KOBLISH (FEB168681)
Movie Variant Available (APR161040)
Action Figure Variant by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER (APR161038)
Cassaday Sketch Variant Also Available (APR161036)
Blank Variant Also Available (APR161039)
FOC – 05/23/16, On Sale – 06/15/16

Han_Solo_1_Cover

Review: Monstress #5

monstress_05-1It’s difficult to believe the story in Monstress #5 was contained to a single issue. Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda have outdone themselves in bringing the latest chapter of Maika’s story to life. Monstress’s oversized first issue certainly established that the story is a steampunk fantasy epic, but #5 truly gives the sense that this is a series to watch in the long haul.

The newest installment in Liu’s fantasy epic offers answers, background, and significant character development in what is perhaps the most information-packed issue since Monstress #1. The summary at the beginning of the book is always helpful, because even the closest of reads can leave readers missing details. Monstress #4 left Maika being hunted by the Federation of Man, the religious Cumaea, the Arcanic Dawn Court, and now, the Dusk Court. Monstress #5 provides background on these organizations, developing the stories of the Courts and pushing the plot of the Cumaea along after their stronghold in Zamora was decimated. All signs point toward a dramatic retaliation from the Cumaea, but Liu does establish more depth than their story and background has previously been given. The worldbuilding in the story is often subtle, but is at times overt with lessons from Master Ren featured as something of a postscript to the story. All contribute to a world that is beautiful to look at but unspeakably cruel in nature.

In addition to providing character insight, Monstress #5 deepens the theme of racial inequality. It has already been established that Maika is a war survivor, but the extent of her experience was unknown, and readers will finally get to discover more of Maika’s mysterious origin, as well as background on Tuya, the girl who is present in Maika’s flashbacks. Readers who are on the fence about Monstress would likely benefit from this issue, as it answers a number of questions.

With so much going on, Monstress #5 drives the story in a new direction and raises an entirely new set of questions. The pacing of the story remains as steady as ever, and Maika’s character and relationships with the Monstrum and others continue to develop bit by bit. It’s rare that Maika interacts with people she chooses to interact with, and her relationship with Tuya is a side that Maika doesn’t usually outwardly show.

Sana Takeda’s art is just as stunning as ever, giving each character a distinct set of movements and expressions. The character design (especially for the Dusk Court and Cumaea) is engrossing to look at with gorgeous detail. The colors of the story are muted and dreamy, adding to the fantasy of the story, while pops of color emphasize individual characters. Each new character is more interesting than the last, with variation that keeps every character on the page distinct in race and body type.

As usual, Monstress utilizes every bit of space on its pages to weave an increasingly complex narrative. As usual, though, the story is absolutely worth reading and deserving of the time it takes to understand the narrative.

Story: Marjorie Liu Art: Sana Takeda
Story: 10.0 Art: 10.0 Overall: 10.0 Recommendation: Read

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review.

Comics Herstory: Marjorie Liu

northstar-and-kyle-jinadus-wedding-2Marjorie Liu is a lawyer-turned-writer who has written a number of fiction novels as well as comics.

Liu began her career in comics writing tie-in novels for Marvel. After the publication of X-Men: Dark Mirror in 2005, Liu wrote several other series for Marvel. She is most known for her work on X-Men titles, including NYX: No Way Home, Dark Wolverine, X-23, and Astonishing X-Men. She also wrote Black Widow: The Name of the Rose. Liu brings depth to each character she writes, and has established their personalities as well as their stories.

Astonishing X-Men received national attention, as part of the story included Northstar marrying Kyle Jinadu. This was the first gay marriage in mainstream comics, though Midnighter and Apollo had married in Wildstorm’s The Authority several years earlier. Astonishing X-Men was subsequently nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Comic Book.

Currently, Liu is writing Monstress, a hit series from Image. The story is about Maika, an monstress-v1tp_cvrArcanic girl determined to escape capture and seek revenge for her mother’s murder. The main characters, all women, offer nuanced depictions of women–each is a flawed character in an equally flawed world. Set in an alternative version of 1920s Asia, Monstress explores themes of racism, war, and slavery and exemplifies a vast amount of worldbuilding not usually present in comics. Even though only four issues have been published, Monstress is already bending the comic genre by blending manga and Western comics into something that’s like nothing else in the market.

In addition to writing for comics, Liu has written more than 19 novels, most notably the Hunter Kiss and Dirk & Steele series, which respectively fall into the urban fantasy and paranormal romance genres. She has also written a number of short works that were published in various anthologies. In film, Liu wrote the story for the 2014 animated Marvel movie Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher, which forced Black Widow and Punisher to work together to prevent a global takeover by terrorist group Leviathan.

Liu is another skilled writer who is versatile across multiple genres, and her work is an example of how comics can be used to teach or make a larger point. She currently teaches comic writing at MIT.

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