‘Mary Shelley Presents #1-3:’ Comic Book Review

Frankenstein and his creator, Mary Shelley, are an indelible part of western culture.  So much so that horror stories written by other Victorian women have been overshadowed.  Fortunately for us, Kymera Press has dug into the past and searched out horror stories by Victorian women that had been lost until now.  

Each issue of Mary Shelley Presents highlights one of these women and includes a comic adaptation of their story, plus the prose story on which it is based. They are all adapted by award-winning horror author Nancy Holder.  In keeping with the theme of the series, Mary Shelly and the creature introduce each story and their creator. The first one features "The Old Nurse’s Story" by Elizabeth Gaskell.  The story recounts a family’s betrayal and how it comes back to haunt them. (Quite literally.) The second issue features a story by Edith Nesbit called "Man-Size in Marble."  In this one, a newlywed couple does not take the local legends seriously and pays a high price.  In the third issue, Margaret Strickland and her story, "The Case of Sir Alister Moeran," is featured.  Here, a man’s beloved female cousin returns from Egypt with a new fiancée and something much more insidious.  There is a fourth issue coming to complete this first set of stories.

Having read both the comics and the prose stories, I have to say the adaptations are tight and spot on.  In some cases, the pacing is better than the short stories themselves. I believe part of that has to do with the time in which they were originally written.  Ms. Holder captured each story perfectly without losing any of the spooky atmosphere.  The same goes for the art and the coloring. The art by Amelia Woo is naturalistic and well thought out. You really get a sense of time and place, as well as feeling like you are in the heart of the action. Ms. Di Francia’s art is solid, but the facial features of her characters don’t quite have the same nuance as Ms. Woo’s. Regardless, her pacing and paneling work very well for the story.

We are given a brief backstory into the original writers, but with just the tidbits we are given, I have a feeling the full story of these forgotten Victorian women writers would be just as interesting as the stories they tell.  Big kudos to Kymera Press for reaching across time and space to find and introduce these stories (and women) to the world.


Issue #1
Writer: Nancy Holder
Artist: Ameila Woo
Colorist: Sandra Molina
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: Kymera Press

Issue #2
Writer: Nancy Holder
Artist:  Amelia Woo
Colorist: Sandra Molina
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: Kymera Press

Issue #3
Writer: Nancy Holder
Penciller: Chiara Di Francia
Inker: Laurie Foster
Colorist: Dearhbla Kelley
Letterer: Saida Temofonte
Publisher: Kymera Press

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