Jonathan Cape has landed Monsters, the first full-length graphic novel in 35 years from legendary comic book artist Barry Windsor-Smith.
Nick Skidmore and Dan Franklin acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, from US publisher Fantagraphics. Rendered in pen-and-ink, the 360-page “tour de force” graphic novel will be published on 13th April 2021 and simultaneously in the US.
Its synopsis states: “The year is 1964. Bobby Bailey doesn’t realise he is about to fulfil his tragic destiny when he walks into a US Army recruitment office to join up. Secretive, 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 experiment, an unholy continuation of a genetics programme that was discovered in Nazi Germany nearly 20 years earlier in the waning days of the Second World War. 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 monsters of the title multiply, becoming real and metaphorical, literal and ironic, the story reaches its emotional and moral reckoning.”
Dan Franklin, associate publisher for Jonathan Cape Graphic Novels, said: “Once every five or 10 years there comes along a graphic novel project that dwarfs all the others. Barry Windsor-Smith’s Monsters is simply amazing, the work of a master artist storyteller at the height of his powers. We are so proud to have it on the Cape list.”
Windsor-Smith began his career by drawing mainstay Marvel characters such as the X-Men and Daredevil in 1969 in the traditional Marvel style. However, in 1971 he broke from the Marvel formula when he started drawing the Conan series, turning heads with a fresh and controversial stylistic approach and winning numerous industry awards. Part of a young generation of artists that included compatriots Berni Wrightson, Mike Kaluta and Jeff Jones, Windsor-Smith proceeded to carve an independent path for himself.
He said: “After putting so much time and investing so much creative energy in this project I’m pleased that it’s finally being published.”