I was not sure what Man-Eaters Volume 1 was going to be about by the cover. But since it was in the children’s/young adult section I figured it could not be too bad. Okay, maybe a few big cats or dogs or some funny-looking “scary” monster were going to attack people but nothing I hadn’t seen before. Just a thriller story.
There was a “funny-looking scary monster” all right. It is called the Female Teenager.
Chelsea Cain and various illustrators created a graphic novel series where when girls start to “spot” and start puberty, they change. I mean really change. They turn into killer panthers. In a pro-feminist comic, we learn why this happens: due to a parasite from cat poop that has mutated, for 3 to 5 days girls turn into killing machines. They run amuck devouring boys and men. They will turn on boyfriends, husbands, their entire family, friends. Nobody is safe! They even have magazines to teach boys how to protect themselves; stories about being attacked, etc. They have water especially for males. Also, hand sanitizers and cleaning supplies to help cut down that nasty estrogen. Girls are regulated to the water fountain (cracked, handwritten sign: Girls Only, infused with medicines) and sometimes sent off to camps to help them when things get too bad.
There is a less than subtle reference to the “pussy grabbing” comment. And Hilary’s face is plastered all over the girl’s lounge. There are t-shirts that are activist shirts that scream out their protests. And there is Maude in the middle of it all. She is (at first) seemingly quietly doing her thing. Slightly moody, but nothing to worry about. She deals with her divorced parents: a homicide detective father and occasionally her mother from S.C.A.T (the over-funded, does little now the attacks have slowed down except go to schools to talk about what to do when the time happens, force that takes care of panther attacks) shows up. She is twelve. Doesn’t think she needs a babysitter and drinks the water meant for the boys.
Take what you will from that. This is a dark, sometimes badly funny, interesting mixing of art forms (drawings, photographs, ads, forms to report someone for suspected “panther behavior”) for illustrations/images. This shows both the male and female agendas. Most the girls find a way to show that GIRL POWER is more than cool. YES. You should be afraid of us. It can get a little thick, therefore I am assuming there is a bit of hyperbole going on to make Cain’s point driven home. But sometimes, it does go a bit too far on stereotypes (dad cringes at “pubic hair” mentions; boys’ are bossy and all about the testosterone).
Will teen girls appreciate it? Mostly likely. However, there is graphic violence depicted in several places. Also, there is a scene (after one of the attacks) where a mother holds a gun on her daughter because she is “of age” and “might” turn. So, it is not for everyone. The giver of this book probably should read first to see if their child is ready as the targeted age is 11 to 14. Older teens and moms will probably appreciate more.