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MARY – A Great Story About Mary Shelley’s Fictional Descendant

Thanks to Six Foot Press for the review copy!

Mary (subtitled, The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandaughter), is a new graphic novel from Six Foot Press starring Mary, the aforementioned descendant of the Frankenstein author. While Mary Shelley is real, this is a work of fiction that looks at young Mary’s struggles meeting expectations that she follow in her family’s footsteps to be a writer.  While the set-up seems ripe for a teen angst story, Mary’s world begins to take a supernatural tone when she starts being visited by monsters.

Mary is simply a delightful book. Writer Brea Grant uses a creative narration style to introduce the book’s concept, give Mary a fleshed out personality, and move the plot forward. The supporting characters are inventive twists on monster types. Each is given a distinct personality and are responsible for some of my favorite dialogue in the book. Somehow, Grant strikes a balance between gothic horror (in tone only, this isn’t a scary book), teen angst, and comedy. Perhaps freed by the constraints of a standard comic book length, the plotting is able to move forward at a good pace, allowing the mystery to slowly develop. Grant also manages to throw some curveballs in to make the plot interesting.

Yishan Li’s art fits the style and tone of the book perfectly, walking that same line between gothic and whimsical. The color palette is fairly muted as befits Mary Shelley monster story, but the art is filled with funny little details that give this book a fun style (see e.g. the random silly pajamas on page 86). From a lettering perspective, I appreciated how narration, human dialogue, and some of the other character’s dialogue were given different lettering. 

Mary also admirably includes some nice messages, without beating you over the head with them. As the subtitle indicates, the story doesn’t take itself too seriously, which is a good thing. The characters exude genuine warmth and caring, a nice change of pace for the genre. For a book based on Mary Shelley and Frankenstein, there is very little violence or blood. Based on what is there, plus the focus on what 16 year old Mary is working through in her persona life, I think the book will resonate with teens more than younger readers. For readers like me whose interest in the real Mary Shelley is piqued, there is a short bio (of sorts) of her at the end, which is a nice touch.  

Mary The Adventures of Mary Shelley’s Great-Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandaughter will be released on Oct 6, 2020

Are you going to pick up this book? Want to talk to me about it? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!

Darren Shulman
Darren Shulman
Darren is a professional lawyer and amateur movie/comic/TV reviewer who is lucky enough to have found a wife who is into the same geeky things he is. Darren has been making the trip from Ohio to San Diego Comic-Con since 2009. Other interests include, in no particular order: monkeys, LEGO, dinosaurs, and playing basketball poorly.

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