According to the Entertainment‘s interview report, Chelsea Cain, a crime novelist and feminist comic book writer, is returning with her upcoming work co-launched with illustrator Kate Niemczyk. The name of the new book is fierce－Man-Eaters.
The story beings with a mysterious mutation in toxoplasmosis which causes menstruating women to turn into bloody killer wildcats. They’re unstable, violent, easily provoked, and extremely dangerous. The men on Earth fall into panic and as the paranoia prevails, the responsibility of rescuing this wild world falls on the shoulders of Maude, a twelve-year-old girl.
Image via ew.com
In the interview, Cain emphasizes the power of girl power:
What is scarier to our culture right now than women? Adolescent girls are particularly scary because we don’t know how we’re supposed to feel about them…This whole monster allegory felt like a very apt way to explore our fear of female sexuality and women in general.
She goes on to discuss what teenage girls morphing into cats suggests:
Our culture has very parallel ways of talking about both women and cats… adorable kittens, sexy pussycats, and/or inscrutable sphinxes…In recent years, there has been an uptick in calls for more diverse representation across pop culture… that the best way to tell new stories that reflect the real world is not just to emphasize female and/or non-white characters, but to have diverse creators behind the scenes as well.
The reason why I said Cain is returning, is because, according to Entertainment, she went through some drama in 2016. Before the idea of Man-Eaters, Cain was the author (along with Niemczyk) of the Mockingbird series, an comic adaptation of classic Marvel superhero Barbara “Bobbi” Morse. Yet, the series didn’t make it past the eighth instllmet because its effort of “craft[ing] one of the most entertaining and unabashedly feminist superhero comics of the decade.” See more information on this here.
With Man-Eaters, Cain is still pursuing feminist themes. As she mentioned in Entertainment‘s interview, one of the inspiration of Man-Eaters comes from Cain’s adolescent daughter:
As a comic geek family, we’ve raised our kid going in to the store every week to get comics, and then there’s this terrible moment where she’s started to go through puberty and suddenly she became aware of all the misogyny in the comic store…Seeing her start to see how women are portrayed on all those comic covers on the wall, seeing her see that all of the store picks that focus on particular creators are all pictures and names of men. Seeing her see that makes it very real. I really wanted there to be something for her, that might reflect her rage. Man-Eaters is a very funny comic, and I hope it’s an exciting comic, but it’s also a very angry comic, because there’s a lot to be angry about.
I’m not totally familiar with Cain’s previous works; yet, I think her intention of making Man-Eaters is brave and performative. As Cain herself indicates, the tactics of art and writing empower her to create these anti-heroines. I’m looking forward to her debut in this September and the conversation it may attach.
Note: the source of this article mainly comes from Entertainment‘s exclusive interview on Chelsea Cain. Also, the picture about Man-Eaters is originally Entertainment‘s exclusive first look and edited by me. See more first-hand info here.
Featured Image Via ew.com