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[VIDEO] Marjorie Liu Talks Monstress and the Importance of Reading

Recently, The Mary Sue contributor Ashley Barry got a chance to speak with Monstress writer and all-around bad-ass Marjorie Liu. Liu, who’s also known for her work on Astonishing X-Men and her series of Hunter Kiss novels, talked to The Mary Sue about Monstress and offered some great book recommendations and advice for writers. Your reading list is about to get a little longer! I absolutely recommend checking out the full interview above, but you can also see some of Liu’s answers transcribed below.


On how she feels about the reception Monstress has gotten so far: “I always feel tentatively and very gratefully happy that people enjoy the work and that it seems to be well-received and doing well, because I’ve been selling books now since 20014, and I know how it is. And especially given the content of the story, I wasn’t really sure how it would be received, so I’m really happy that people seem to be responding to it the way that they have.”

On the books she had sitting near her during the time of the interview: “I have SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki, which I absolutely love. It’s a series of connected vignettes that seem to take place in an X-Men, Charles Xavier-like academy, except it’s magic, and it’s mutants. And it’s hilarious, and it’s heartbreaking, and it’s beautiful, and I absolutely love it. Something else I also love is Kauro Mori’s A Bride’s Story, which I absolutely love, which is manga. That is about a twenty-year-old woman who is sent to marry a 13-year-old boy, the story takes place at the turn of the century. And it’s not as creepy as it sounds. The story is beautiful, but the art is absolutely breathtaking. I could stare at the pages all day long and never grow tired of their beauty. What else? You know, I read a lot of poetry. I found a poet recently who I love, her name is Nayyira Waheed.”

On how she came to write for Image Comics: “I’d been writing for years at Marvel, and I was just finishing up my run on Astonishing X-Men. Actually, I think my run was more or less done. And I was thinking about doing another project for Marvel but I was also juggling a novel that I was finishing up, the last in an urban fantasy series, The Hunter Kiss series. So I was kind of at a crossroad, and I got an email from Eric Stephenson, who’s the top guy at Image, just kind of, you know, more or less asking if I’d be interested in doing something for Image. And I thought ‘well maybe this is just a sign from above.’ And so, you know, I met up with Eric at San Diego Comic Con and we talked briefly and I mentioned that I had a couple of ideas, nothing concrete. I more or less just had an open invitation to come up with something. And so I did. But what I did before anything else was reach out to Sana Takeda because she is an artist I’ve wanted to work with again for years, ever since X-23. Our working relationship was one of the best I’ve ever had. She’s just brilliant. Absolutely brilliant and incredibly nice, and incredibly giving as an artist and a collaborator.”

On the advice she has for aspiring writers: “Read. Read constantly, read everything. Don’t just read comics, read novels, read newspapers. Read The Economist, read The New Yorker, read Discovery Magazine, I don’t care what it takes, just read everything.”

(images courtesy of Image Comics’ Monstress, #1-4)

Ashley Barry writes for several pop culture websites. Her freelance work has appeared in Kill Screen, Gadgette, The Mary Sue, Luna Luna Magazine, FemHype, Not Your Mama’s Gamer, Bitch Flicks, and Paste Magazine. She also runs a YouTube channel called Hyrule Hyrulia. Her channel features interviews with Ashly Burch, Patrick Klepek, Nina Freeman, and more.

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