As I meandered about, searching for a webcomic to review, the amount of noteworthy suggestions was nearly beyond count. With each day that goes by, it seems there is more and more exceptional work out there. Ultimately, I settled on Monster Pulse, created by Magnolia Porter. In essence, Monster Pulse is the story of young children who’s organs leave their bodies and take on a life of their own. I haven’t found out the why of this phenomenon just yet, but I am dying to find out.
The unique and intriguing concept sets the tone, really, for everything about this comic. The character style (and general tone) is an interesting mix of 50s-ish characters with modern lines and lots of textures – cartooney but not overly so. The strips are mainly black & white, with a large variety of white vs. black as a background, where appropriate. Panels are extremely varied, with good flow and transition. The organ monsters are the most whimsical design element, with great homages connecting the monster and the organ it was/is derived from. All of the characters have wonderfully exuberant personalities, that practically leap through the monitor. I found each strip to be as engaging as the one before it, constantly driving the story forward and keeping you coming back for more.
The comic employs a fair bit of actual text, which was a little surprising. However, most/all of the characters are relatively young (teenagers), so the more I thought about it, the more sense that made. Whether or not that was intentional, I can’t really say.
A word of caution; the first chapter is a bit…cluttered to get through. Perhaps cluttered isn’t the right word, but in essence, I felt that there were more strips than was necessary to set the stage. That theme repeats itself now and again, but never to any extreme, and the occurrences didn’t necessarily diminish my experience. There are times when the use of texture-on-character makes melds the characters and backgrounds together in a bit of a confusing way. Again – this doesn’t happen too frequently, but enough to warrant mention.
My final note would be regarding the website. The navigation, especially the archive, is a bit clunky. I am always dismayed when a great comic that has a rich archive is potentially stymied by a website that isn’t as good as it could be. I hate the thought that a well deserving artist might lose a potential reader due to clunky navigation or a poorly designed site!
Anyway, I highly suggest you take a gander at Monster Pulse. The story is unlike anything I have read recently, and the strips are well put together, such that what starts as a quick trip through the archive, turns into an hour or two that has completely disappeared.
You can read Monster Pulse here: http://www.monster-pulse.com/
You can find Magnolia on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/magnoliapearl
I couldn’t find a Facebook page – if there is one, please let me know!