35 years in the making, Barry Windsor-Smith’s ‘Monsters’ arrives next January

Fantagraphics will publish the 360-page graphic novel next year.

Fantagraphics has announced that they will publish Barry Windsor-Smith’s long-in-the-making Monsters next January.

Monsters is a 360-page graphic novel that has been in development for 35 years. The publisher describes it as “part familial drama, part espionage thriller, part metaphysical journey — in sum, an intimate portrait of individuals and an epic political odyssey spanning two generations of American history.”

“After putting so much time and investing so much creative energy in this project,” Windsor-Smith said in the press release, “I’m pleased that it’s finally being published.”

Windsor-Smith is an award-winning creator who has been making comics since the 1960s, when he worked on Marvel’s Daredevil and X-Men titles. He went on to do a stellar run on Conan, where he also helped with the writing. He would go on to work on titles like Avengers, Machine Man and “Weapon X,” which ran in the pages of Marvel Comics Presents and revealed some of Wolverine’s back story. He also worked for the first iteration of Valiant and co-created the character Rune for Malibu. Fantagraphics has published several volumes of his creator-owned material, including Opus, Young Gods and Adastra in Africa.

Here’s how the publisher describes Monsters:

When he walks into a military recruitment office, Bobby Bailey has no idea that he is about to fulfill his tragic destiny. Close-mouthed, emotionally damaged, innocent, trying to forget a past and looking for a future, it turns out that Bailey is the perfect candidate for a secret US government experimental program, an unholy continuation of a genetics program that was discovered in Nazi Germany in the waning days of World war II. Bailey’s only ally and protector, Sergeant McFarland, intervenes, which sets off a chain of cascading events that spin out of everyone’s control. As the titular monsters of the title multiply, becoming real and metaphorical, literal and ironic, the story reaches its emotional and moral reckoning. Monsters is rendered in Windsor-Smith’s impeccable pen-and-ink technique; the visual storytelling with its sensitivity to gesture and composition is the most sophisticated of the artist’s career. It is surely one of the most intense graphic novels ever drawn.

“I’ve known Barry for over 50 years now,” said Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth, “so publishing his biggest and most artistically mature work to date is a personal and professional milestone for me, and I’m grateful that he’s entrusted this important work to us.”

And you can check out some preview pages below.

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