Monocyte is the new horror/adventure comic series from Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari. It is incredible, terrifying and fantastic. It’s language is unique and complex. A dark, bleak future world controlled by two warring species who utilize alchemy, magic and technology; humans are slave soldiers sent to lose their souls on the battlefield, pawns for the brutal creatures who own them.

This book will not only be an impressive, fresh addition to the genre of horror comics, but also super fun in it’s different approach to story telling. Each issue will include a bonus story told from the viewpoint of the human slaves. Covers will be beautifully interpreted by a list of talented artists. I am so excited about this comic. I chased down Menton3 and asked him to tell Nerds in Babeland readers about his new project, in his own words.

MissLissa: Ok, I’d like to start with a different approach to asking you what Monocyte is all about.  If you had to summarize the story in 3 sentences or less…

Menton3: Monocyte is about the horrors of immortality, and in the end it will beg the question, ‘How would you have it be?’

ML: The art in this book is beautifully textured and quite unique. What medium do you use?

Menton3: Well, there is a bit of everything in there: oil paintings, traditional pen & Ink, and  digital. I would say that the first book is about 60% digital. The way in which I approach  working digitally is the same in which I approach any other medium; I say this as some  people think if it is digital somehow someone punched a button and poof there was an image. I work just as hard digitally as I do on any other medium. For me digital just allows  me to change panels and revamp the story if I need to on the fly. And to be honest, the first  book for Monocyte had a few questions in the script that me and Kasra were not sure on, so  we needed that ability to edit quickly on this first issue.

ML: The writing, at least in book 1, feels almost poetic in it’s structure. Was that intentional?

Menton3: Very much so yes. The first book starts off with Death himself narrating, we want  to be true to that ideal. I mean this is Death talking, we did not want to dumb it down. That  is kinda our philosophy behind the whole of the story, we want to write it the way we see it,  and hear it. Sure there is the impulse to want to dumb down the language and make it easier to understand, but that would be extremely unfair to the story, as well as very dishonest. Each line of narration or dialog in the book is poured over for days if not weeks. We take great care in each and every word. Most everything you read in Monocyte has multiple meanings.

ML: Can you tell me about some of the interesting details in the set up of the Monocyte series, as far the way they are being published?

Menton3: Well it has been a great experience thus far, the guys at IDW are amazing, and I love working with them. They are really going nuts over there and each book is going to be gloriously printed, card stock spot UV covers for floppies and etc. They are pulling out all the stops for us. I am really excited. Also we have some amazing incentive covers from the likes of Ashley Wood, Bill Sienkiewicz and Ben Templesmith just to name a few, as well as mini stories in the back of each book from some amazing artists and writers that all take place in the Monocyte world.  I just got off the phone with someone I love over at IDW and we are talking about one amazing hardcover collection.

ML: Who or what would you credit as your biggest artistic influences?

Menton3: Hieronymus Bosch, Bill Sienkiewicz and Ashley Wood are the artisst that most make me freak out and need to draw and paint. But the reason I paint is from the need to manifest the internality of my own psyche. To place in the external world my own personal internal architecture, iconography, tropes and loci, connecting them together and seeing them in ways that my psyche does not naturally do outside of dreams, to the point that resolution was a forgone conclusion.  So, I would say I am drawn more toward “phantasy” rather then “Fantasy”. In psychoanalytic terms when spelled with the “ph” it refers more to the unconscious content of the psyche. I see painting as a way of communicating to the part of me I have no seeming connection with, i.e. the unconscious self, the various archetypes and of course the “shadow aspect”.

ML: This is a creator owned comic. For those unfamiliar, can you explain what’s unique about that and how it changes the relationship between the writer/artist and the buyer?

Menton3: The American comic book industry is dominated by old tried-and-true characters we’ve all heard of, like Superman, Batman, Captain America, Iron Man, the X-Men, Hulk. For all the comics that are created and dedicated to these and other properties owned by major corporations, writers and artists are still out there creating their own new characters and stories, doing this on their own in the hopes of finding a publisher and attracting then building an audience literally from scratch. So, the relationship between the creator-owned writer/artist and the buyer is a kind of direct, more interconnected, symbiotic agreement that if you support and follow and buy these kinds of books, then more of them can and will be made.

ML:  What can people expect in the future from Monocyte and from you? Do you have anything else  in the works that you feel really excited to tease people with?

Menton3: We have a great many plans for Monocyte, but I can not really speak about any of them  as they are not public yet, but we should have news on that very soon.  I am working on a lot of extremely exciting projects right now, one of which me and Steve Niles are  doing, a book called Transfusion which should be out in 2012. Me and Steve have many many  plans on other projects as well. Working on a Mark Twain book, doing some really fun covers I can  not talk about yet for IDW and Dark Horse. Lots of stuff coming.


 Monocyte #1 will be available at your local comic shop, and from IDW Publishing, this October. I highly recommend picking this one  up and if you love it, support creator-owned comics by pre-ordering the next issue.

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