Posts tagged Monocyte

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Review: Monocyte Collected Edition HC

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Written by: Kasra Ghanbari

Art by: Menton3

Review by Melissa Megan

My local comic shop guy messaged me online: “The Monocyte hard cover is here, bagged and ready for you. I thought I should let you know right away, since you’ve been excited for it to come” ‘Excited’ is definitely an understatement here. I admit I don’t frequent my local shop as much as I should, but they know that for the last year I’ve never been late to pick up my latest Monocyte issues. This one, in particular, had me itching to get my hands on it. Nerds in Babeland readers are well aware of my addiction to these comics, as I have reviewed and highly recommended every single one. Creators Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari felt that the horrible grandeur of Monocyte could not be contained in tiny comic book pages, so they brought fans a collected, hardcover edition that is so, so much more than just the story of Monocyte.

Collected edition size comparison to Monocyte single issues

From the minute you turn the book to take in the entire wrap around cover it is obvious that it was created with an incredible love and dedication to the power of Menton3’s art. He’s by far one of the most unique and impressive comic artists of recent years and Monocyte was, I believe, the creation that really got him noticed by readers, art collectors and artists. Within the first few pages of the book I became painfully aware of just how limiting those single issue comic pages had been for Monocyte. All I can compare it to is maybe seeing a film in IMAX for the first time. You have no idea how much you’ve been missing until you see it in all it’s glory, splayed out in giant size images that you can’t help lingering on after you’ve already read the words.

This is not at all to downplay the quality of writing that Kasra Ghanbari brings to Monocyte, which is the backbone of the book. He writes like he’s carving mythology in to a modern world, building characters and events on each other with unflinching grace and balance. The story is complex and requires your full attention, but if you allow yourself to be present in it, you will not be disappointed with the reward. I will stop gushing about how much I absolutely love Monocyte because as I promised, this collection is so much more than just the story of Monocyte.

art by Chris Newman

The Monocyte Collected Edition is a 224 page hardcover book. It contains the entirety of the original Monocyte story, plus the previously digital only prequel. The book also offers over 60 pages of new content, including a gallery of Menton3’s conceptual and design work for Monocyte, plus a very impressive guest artist gallery. Creepy little child demons by sculptor and fine artist Scott Radke. Sexy, gothic pinups by Alberto Ruiz. Fluid, surreal digital art by Chris Newman. Even some bad ass metal sculpted Monocyte head pieces by Tim Roosen. The book is literally stuffed with so much breathtaking art. One of my personal favorite pieces is a super goulish, almost 3D painting by David Stoupakis that I haven’t been able to stop looking at.

art by Aaron Ryan

The Monocyte Collected Edition is not only a magnificent representation of one of the best comics to be released in the past year, but it’s a guaranteed brag book for your collection. Set this book down on your coffee table (be careful not to spill on it!) and there’s no way someone won’t pick it up and get sucked in. Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari are up to huge things this year (44FLOOD, anyone?), but Monocyte is the beginning of their magical union and one that every self respecting comic book reader should experience. if you’re a Menton3 fan or just a Monocyte fan, this book is a must own. MUST OWN. Not maybe. Get it now and bask in it’s awesome power of pure, artistic unicorn blood voodoo. Get it HERE.

 

Cover A- Menton3

Monocyte #4 – The End

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Cover A- Menton3

Monocyte #4 sees the end of the series, the end of the Antedeluvians and the Olignostics, possibly the end of Monocyte, if he gets his way. This series has been incredibly challenging and unique. Each time a new issue came out, I found myself re-reading the previous and keeping it by my side as I tried to articulate how to write about the current one. It’s a complex story, full of intellectual questions and metaphorical poems. It’s by no means a casual read, or even a mild one, but Monocyte will never fail to leave you wondering what you just experienced and feeling in awe of the artwork that shines from it’s pages.

Cover B- David Stoupakis

Incentive- Phil Hale

Issue #4 does a nice job of tying up the storylines of several characters we’ve met along the road to Monocyte’s eternal death, which was his only real goal from the beginning. I’m not going to lie and say that I understood exactly where these characters ended up, even after two reads, but I won’t hesitate to read through a few more times to get a better understanding. It’s that good.

Menton and Kasra  enjoy using multiple artists and writers to layer Monocyte with texture and vision, particularly in telling side stories of the human slaves. In #4, I found the additional stories to be a confusing, distracting end to an issue already thick with development. I can’t fault them for following a successful system, especially when utilizing such creative talents as Chris Newman, Barron Storey and Ben Templesmith. Perhaps it’s just my personal attachment to Menton3’s mind blowing art and the fact that this is the last time I’ll enjoy it under the title of Monocyte, but this time around I wasn’t drawn to the extras. 

Monocyte #4 is, all in all, a very impressive conclusion to an incredible story. Monocyte has been one of the most engrossing comic series I’ve read in years. Menton3’s art is astounding and has left me a permanent fan; I’ll be watching his work enthusiastically as long as he continues to make it. Since Monocyte #1, Menton has been making a name all over comics and I don’t see him slowing down any time soon. I’ve already started my collection of work, in book and print form, and I’m very much looking forward to the Monocyte collected edition coming in July. 

There’s been a new bar set for comic books. That’s what Monocyte has left me with: a higher expectation for the future of my comics collection.

Monocyte #4 will be available May 30, from IDW.

B cover- David Stoupakis

IDW’s Monocyte #4 Coming, With Big Extras

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B cover- David Stoupakis

Monocyte #4, the post apocalyptic, muti-species battle story love child of Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari, will hit stores on May 23 and conclude the series. I’ve been covering this series since the beginning and it has raised the bar in both artistic chutzpah and writing prowess for comic books to a godly level. Yes, I am a fan. Monocyte is a story of two species locked in a never ending battle, using and throwing away what humans are left on the planet as tools of life force, weapons of mutilation and play things. Monocyte is the being sent to put an end to their nonsense and clear the clutter left behind. He does his job with pure brutality, staggering insight and intelligence, style and grace.

Incentive- Phil Hale

I promise you have not read a story like this one before. It’s everything I always wanted to find in a comic but never thought was possible. If you want something heavier, something thicker, something more cranial in your comic collection, Monocyte is just that. The poetic writing of Kasra Ghanbari and the other worldley artwork of Menton3 come together in a tender, perfect embrace that other comic teams can only dream of. Monocyte #4 will feature 3 covers plus interior art by Chris Newman and Ben Templesmith. Preview here!

 

I will follow up with a full review of Monocyte #4 after release, of course. If you haven’t already picked up Saltillo’s Monocyte album (have you not been paying attention?) then now is the time. The cd, released earlier this year, was on the top 50 electronic releases on iTunes and nabbed the #1 spot for industrial sellers on Amazon for over a week. Artoffact Records has now released Monocyte: The Lapis Coil on vinyl, which includes three tracks from the CD, two new remixes, and an exclusive new track called Necromancy. It will also contain some amazing artwork by Menton3. The vinyl is limited to 492 copies and will also be released digitally to iTunes and Amazon MP3.

Last, but certainly not least, IDW will bless us all with more treasure to add to the Monocyte collection: a 224 page, hardcover collected edition that will include the entire Monocyte series, with all covers, plus over 60 pages of brand new content. This book boasts a huge roster of incredible talent like Ashley Wood, Bill Sienkiewicz, George Pratt, Phil Hale, Barron Storey, Ben Templesmith, Riley Rossmo, Christopher Mitten, David Stoupakis, and Chris Newman. You’ll also get all the slave stories that were written for each issue and the series prequel, previously only available digitally. This book will be the one to own not only for fans of the work of Menton3, but comic collector who want the ultimate in impressive, unique hard cover brag material on their shelf.

The Monocyte collected edition is in the May Previews for pre ordering, which means do some pre ordering! It’s how you show those guys and girls at your local comic shop what you want and how you are guaranteed to get it.

A wraparound cover - menton3

Review: Monocyte #3

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A wraparound cover - menton3

Creation/writing: Menton3 and Kasra Ghanbari

Art: Menton3

Publisher: IDW

I am so fucking in love with Monocyte. It has been so long since I’ve read a story that not only grows and morphs along the way, but only increases in intensity and substance. Monocyte never relies on shock, never forces you to accept it using cheap tricks like ineffectual violence or sensory offense. It creeps in quietly, requiring your full attention to keep up with an incredibly complex vocabulary; once you are wrapped up in the mythos and alien quality of the landscape, Monocyte lashes out with an uncompromising attack on your belief in the world around you and of time itself. I am not being melodramatic here, this shit is real and it is not taking prisoners.

B wraparound cover - Ben Templesmith

Incentive wraparound cover - George Pratt

In Monocyte #3, we join the Antedeluvians as they prepare for the wrath of Monocyte to drop down on their city. We discover betrayal from within, and are treated with some incredibly rich history of the pre-war beginnings of Monocyte. This issue leaves us with a battle that could, possibly prove the most challenging yet for the seemingly indestructible bringer of eternal death.

Part of what makes the Monocyte books so unique is the extra bonus of mini stories at the end of each. These are written and drawn by very talented names, sometimes flying under the radar, and offer the reader some engrossing perspectives of the human slaves that both the Antedeluvians and Olignostics use as immortality nourishment. Monocyte #3 includes stories by Christopher Mitten (Wasteland, Criminal Macabre, The Dark Crystal) and George Pratt ( Enemy Ace: War Idyll, Wolverine: Netsuke). Personally, my favorite this time around was Christopher Mitten’s contribution. His artwork is so luscious to look at and feels like a natural accompaniment  to the other-wordly creations of Menton3.

Monocyte #3 is available with various covers, each one full of awesome in a fresh way. For this issue, you can have the A wraparound cover by Menton3, the B wraparound cover by Ben Templesmith or the incentive cover by George Pratt. I’ve made it a goal to collect every cover of each issue that I can get my greedy hands.

This book asks so much more of it’s readers than a casual understanding and enjoyment. It asks that you bend your concepts of the future, present and past. It demands that you ponder the possibility that the human race is by no means the most powerful or malicious species in existence, and to accept that we all possess innate flaws, the largest being mortality. And let’s not fail to mention the spine of Monocyte, the black blood that flows through it’s veins which is the artwork of Menton3. I have praised the genius of this man’s creations many times here on Nerds in Babeland, so I will keep this short, but this art is so much more than art. Each issue seems to add a new layer to the graphics, a luxuriousness that is all too rare in modern art. His work drips with texture from the heart, emotion boils over the edges of the page. Menton’s art hangs on the walls in my home and I’ve never seen someone walk past it for the first time without stopping to stare for several seconds, eventually asking me to explain what they’re seeing and who made it. In my humble opinion, there is no match in the comic industry right now to the level of work that Menton3 is producing.

 

Monocyte hits shelves on March 21. I can tell you these things sell out fast, so if you can get your hands on #1-#3, snatch them up. And remember, creator owned support means pre-ordering, so if you love Monocyte, please pre-order your next copy!

 

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The Audible Landscape of Monocyte

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I’ve been raving about Monocyte since issue #1 came out back in October. See exhibit 1: Monocyte #1 review. And exhibit 2: Monocyte #2 review. I’ve also mentioned in each review that Menton3 was planning to release a musical accompaniment to Monocyte, under his music project Saltillo. The time has come, ladies and gents. I was honored to be given the chance to preview this album and share my thoughts with Nerds in Babeland readers; I was not disappointed.

Back when I reviewed Monocyte #1, I read about Menton’s musical project, Saltillo, and looked it up. I bought the first album, Ganglion, because I was immediately taken by the gorgeous, orchestral violins it featured. Therefore, I had a little bit of an idea of what to expect from Saltillo; I did not expect to have most of my expectations blown to bits with Monocyte.

Monocyte starts out haunting, feverish, anxious. There is a sense of something very heavy and dark going on, but it’s exhilarating and urgent, like a thick fog rushing over your ears. That all sounds so dramatic, I know, but it fits, trust me. Reading Monocyte the comic, if you had asked me what that world sounds like, I could not imagine how to answer. This album really is perfect in portraying the story of Monocyte and the warring, immortal races he has been appointed to end forever. It’s a landscape of brutality, a deep, dark sort that we all like to pretend doesn’t exist in our world. It’s also fragile, sick and boiling over with fear. The album Monocyte acts like a tour guide through this place and does it gracefully.

I admit, I have very little experience with ‘industrial’ music beyond a lot of Nine Inch Nails and Portishead, so I can’t throw out any comparisons for you. Honestly, I don’t think there are any, as this album has a special purpose and definitely one the most unique things I’ve heard. Soft, melodic violins and cello battle for space with powerful beats, beautifully pained female vocals and sophisticated sound bites that seem to come from windows in time.

There aren’t many albums or bands I can listen to while writing, most tend to be distracting or disruptive to my thought process. Monocyte by Saltillo became my go-to sound for writing because it is the exact opposite; this album is both intense and soothing at the same time, creating a seamless flow of mood from song to song. It’s an excellent album that I’ll go back to again and again, probably each time I read the Monocyte comic to remind me of what it all can be together, and every time I need something ‘just right’ to find my creative mojo.

Saltillo is available on Storming the Base, from Artoffact Records.

Saltillo Gatekeepers preview

Saltillo Proxy preview clip

 

A cover by Menton3

Monocyte #2 rips open the new year!

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A cover by Menton3

Terrifying. Brutal. Gorgeous. Thick with an atmosphere of death. I could come up with so much more, but none of these words quite do it justice.

B cover by Riley Rossmo

Monocyte begins his cleansing of the warring Olignostics and the Antedeluvians by marching into the Olignostic city with an unflinching mission to bring permanent death to these immortal races. Monocyte yearns for his own death as he brutally deals it out, leaving piles of mangled bones in his wake. He is after the Olignostic ‘conduit’, the tool through which the entire race drains human life to achieve their immortality. The death of the conduit brings the death of all those networked to it. A race of highly intelligent, merciless beings that use technology like a spoon to stuff themselves on the life force of their humans,who they claim and mark like cattle, the Olignostics have never considered the possibility of their own demise by any other than their enemies, the Antedeluvians. Monocyte has been sent by death, himself, to show them how it’s done.

Incentive cover by Bill Sienkiewicz

While Monocyte dispatches the conduit gatekeepers, we are reminded of Grod. Grod is a bitter, displaced former member of Olignostic nobility, banished from his ranks as punishment for his endless greed. As he stands and fumes among the writhing masses of human slaves between the 2 great cities, he feels the mortality of his race fast approaching with the death march of Monocyte and he strives to find his place in the new war. A place he seems to believe will return him to greatness.

This story is incredibly complex;so much so that as I read through it I find myself going over the sentences multiple times, just to be sure I’m grasping the full meaning of each one, nervous that I might be missing something amazing. The writing is full of mythology, mysticism, humanity and passion. Monocyte demands that you question mortality and what it means to you, what immortality would gift you with and what it would rob you of. It’s a beautiful thing, and that’s not even touching on the artwork. 

I haven’t been so impressed with comic book art  since my first discovery of the unique styles of Mike Mignola and Ben Templesmith. Menton3 creates lushly developed, insanely detailed visuals that push the limits of what can be contained in a little book. There’s magic coming from that man’s hands and I am genuinely excited to see each new piece he reveals. Monocyte will be a top rated collector piece, no doubt, and one you will find yourself returning to often to remember the awesomeness it contains. In fact, while working on this review I had Monocyte #1 right next to me so I could reference the experience of this book from the beginning again. This comic is a 5 out of 5 for me and I recommend you start adding these to your shelf right now. Monocyte is a fantastic  love affair between horror and science fiction that ends in orgasmic perfection. Yeah, I said it.

Each issue of Monocyte is not only published with multiple covers, but will contain bonus stories in each issue, which tell the stories of the human slaves belonging to both the Olignostics and the Antedeluvians, each written and drawn by new guest artists. Monocyte #2 is available with covers by Menton3,  Riley Rossmo [Green Wake, Daken: Dark Wolverine, Proof, Cowboy Ninja Viking] and Bill Sienkiewicz [Elektra: Assassin, Stray Toasters]. It will also include slaves stories by both Ben Templesmith (writing and art) [Fell, 30 Days of Night, Wormwood] and two newcomers: Alan Hubbard (writing) and Chris Newman (art). Monocyte #2 is written by Kasra Ghanbari and artwork by Menton3.

 

Issue #2 is 36 pages and $3.99, hitting stores on December 28.

Super special extra prize inside! Check out Saltillo: Monocyte, the solo music project of Menton, intended to be a sweet, sweet backdrop to your terrifying Monocyte experience. Saltillo on Last.fm

monocyte1

Monocyte: A Terrifying Story of a Future World

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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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