Our Monsters

What are Monsters?


This question was posed in Lynda Barry’s What it is, meant to be rhetorical question for us to answer. The purpose of this question is to make us look at ourselves and answer questions that we might have been too afraid to ask or just not thought of.

So, “What are monsters” (Barry), monsters are personifications of things that frighten us, and “we create monsters to help us cope with cultural anxieties”(Vidal). This is something that makes a lot of sense, as one of mankind’s greatest fears is what we do not know, otherwise referred to as the unknown. H. P. Lovecraft, personifies this fear in his first short story The Beast in the Cave. Granted it was more based on a fear of the dark, but what is the dark if not an unknown. Many other authors have written about their fears, from Bram Stoker’s Dracula or Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Both are monsters created to personify the fears of the people.


In comics we see these monsters in forms of villains, atrocities that plague the protagonists, and personifications of ideas that terrify the authors. With comics though, we can see through visual representation what it is the author fears, as he or she pictures it. These monsters do make for a great conflict, pitting the protagonist against something that terrifies us all.

The question that Barry poses appears to be a simple answer, with the ability to give a textbook definition.  However, I believe the question is truly asking: What are monsters to you, and what monsters have you created?





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