Review – Man-Eaters: The Cursed #1
Writer: Chelsea Cain
Cover A & B: Lia Miternique
Publisher: Image Comics
Available/ Length/ Rating: July 14 2021/ 28 Pages / T+
MAN-EATERS: THE CURSED reunites the original MAN-EATERS creative team for another tale of adolescent feminist derring-do and supernatural hijinks. Maude, now 15, is sent to Craft Camp for the week. It goes south pretty quickly. Smart, laugh-out-loud funny, provocative, referential, scary, chock-full of ephemera, and compulsively re-readable. Plus, fairies. [ADVISORY: Do not read this book while you are actually camping.]
Writer: Chelsea Cain
In Man-Eaters a mutation in Toxoplasmosis causes menstruating women to turn into ferocious killer wildcats-easily provoked and extremely dangerous. As panic spreads and paranoia takes root, the fate of the world rides on the shoulders of one twelve-year-old girl, Maude. This was nominated for an Eisner award set the world alight in 2019 so it’s great to go back to that weird, weird world.
Skip forward a few years and Maude, now 15, is planning her summer watching three seasons of Hannibal, but her mum and dad have their eye on an Airbnb in Carmen meaning they have to find something last minute for Maude. Forced to go to one of the Oregon state ran craft camps. Boys used to go to football camps, but due to risk of brain damage they now also attend the craft ones.
Greeted at the dock by the counsellor, Maude is tagged with a sleepwalker badge, for safety reasons. Besides her other kids have badges like lice, menstruating, bed wetter etc… I think many schools and bullies would love for us all to wear badges showing our main weaknesses or health issues.
On the Island where the camp sits, the W-Z surname group have to trek and night to their soggy cabins apart from Maude who has previous awards and get’s a five-star resort to stay in. The slightly silly tone though is soon replaced with something more sinister.
Artists: Kate Niemczyk & Lia Miternique
Kate and Lia’s quirky art in this issue enhances Cain’s bonkers script. The panels and pages are crammed full with loads of background images or distractions. The hilarious health and safety page for Maude’s sleepover camp sheet is inspired and they should give a free one out for readers to fill in themselves.
Between the hilarity, there is a creeping sense of dread just out of eyeshot, with shadows and silhouettes pushing forward into this world. As the issue reaches a crescendo, the island no longer feels like a camp but a prison.
Cain’s wry and slightly nuts script is hilarious, as a Scot who only knows about camps from Horror Films, it’s great to see another side of these strangely American ideals. Maude shines through the issue full of misfits and insane adults making this a great addition to the series. Solid start to this short series.
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