Maya Kern illustrates and writes an online comic called ‘Monster Pop’ ” Monster Pop! is set in an alternate Earth where monsters coexist with humans”. Monster Pop follows two friends, and various other monster type characters. Like Jillian Tamaki’s “Supermagic Mutant Academy” Kern’s monsters are “instantly relatable with their appealing faces and fairytale inspirations”. The characters are often going through events that everyday teenagers do, making them very relatable and engaging for teenagers. In the image below the Cyclops character ‘George’ wears a magic hat to appear as if she has two eyes to fit in with ‘normal’ people.
Kern says “My least favorite thing about anime and about shoujo manga is how much all the characters look alike. You get all these chances to make different characters, and they all look the same. Why would you want to draw the same thing, the same face, all the time?”. I think that this feeling has sparked Kern to create vastly different characters and what’s better to make characters different than monsters! Her earlier Monster Pop comics appear to have more of an anime/manga inspiration, the hair shape and eye shape of George is very reminiscent of manga characters as her eyes are large and have the ‘shine’ that is typically used in manga.
Her style has since developed to more 2D shapes with block colour. I think this is a really cute style, it’s also a lot sharper than her earlier work. She has retained the same qualities in the character so the cute, shy looking, cyclops is obviously George but I find the newer style more appealing to look at as the block colours help to highlight areas of the image, for example having brighter colours on the character draws the viewer to the darker outline of the eye.
“What I want to do with it is take people who don’t usually get treated ‘normally’ and treat them normally,” she said when describing her approach to Monster POP!. “Treat women as people, treat gay people as people, treat everyone as people – they’re all people and they’re all normal, but usually when you have [a character] who’s not the white cis heterosexual dude, they make a big deal out of it, it has to be a big deal, and they get marginalized and they don’t get treated the same, and the rewarding part is when people see what I’m doing with that, trying to treat everyone as normal.” The ideas behind Monster Pop I find very interesting as Kern has found a way of representing people subtly, which helps to remove problems of certain demographics not being representned.
This is relevent in my project as I am also trying to represent people without making anyone feel left out by not representing them, I feel like this is easy to do via monsters as they are clearly not human but have relatable human characteristics.
Kern did this comic captioned ‘cute underwear is the best cure for low self esteem’. This is a cute body confident comic that I find very relevent to my project. I like the way it starts off looking like the girl should be criticizing her body when she looks at it but in the end she’s more positive about it. The illustrations are cute and simple and by using a pink colour scheme she has kept it feminine and again cute!
http://comicsalliance.com/maya-kern-art/ // Maya Kern Manages to Make Potter, Ponies and ‘Parks and Rec’ Even more Adorable // Lauren Davies // September 2nd 2012
http://girlsincapes.com/2013/10/07/maya-kern/ // Featured Artist Maya Kern of Monster POP // Felizia // October 7th 2013