With ‘Monstress,’ Marjorie Liu Paves Way for Female Comic Novelists

Asian American novelist Marjorie Liu made her mark on comic book history when she became the first woman ever, with “Monstress,” to win the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award for Best Writer at San Diego Comic-Con.

“Monstress,” written by Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda, is a comic series with a powerful twist: Hardly any male or white characters are featured. It follows Maika Halfwolf, a teenage girl leading a life that is anything but typical. She navigates through a race war and slave trade while dealing with the passing of her mother, an incomplete memory, and a supernatural connection with a monster of unknown origin. All the while, she must learn to tame the frightening powers taking over her body.

Liu’s rise to winning an Eisner Award is an interesting one. She studied law and was working at a firm when she made the life-changing decision to give up financial stability and pursue a more creative lifestyle, according to Liu in an interview with The Atlantic. With “Monstress,” Liu hopes to empower female and Asian American society.

Liu’s other works include “The Hunter Kiss,” “Tiger Eye,” and “X-Men” by Marvel Comics. “Monstress” won the Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story and the British Fantasy Award for Best Comic/Graphic Novel both in 2017.

The Eisner Awards, started in 1988, can be thought of as the Oscars for comics and are given for creative merit.