So let me start off by saying immediately that today”s review is only Part 1 of 3. Yup, you “read” correctly. I wish to review a number of mangas published by Sweat Drop studios which is a UK publishing house that specialises in producing manga style works.

During the last Malta Comic Con in 2011, we had two guests that are active members of Sweat Drop, that is Sonia Leong and Emma Viecelli. These two artists and writers besides working at Sweat Drop they also have other works and in fact this year they were invited to represent their own products and not that of the company.

My first review in this series of 3 is dedicated to the manga called ” Drop Dead Monstrous” published in 2008 and forms part of an anthology project that Sweat Drop publish from time to time. This one had the punch line “an anthology that goes bump in the night” and indeed it does!

Let me start first by saying that I don”t own a copy of this manga but that I got it on loan from one of my students. However, next time I meet Sonia Leong, who is one of the contributors, I”ll definitely get myself a copy. The anthology comes in the custom “manga” size which is handy and compact. It is entirely in black and white with a colourful red hombre cover featuring a chibi (a Japanese term which means cute and small of size with a large head and small body proportion) version of various monsters that we know of from: a chibi vampire adorned with a cape, to a flesh eating zombie, a mummy, wolfman etc… Immediately you are drawn to the cover if you love the dark and the sweet side of “monstrous”.

The anthology has 7 contributing artists who also penned these stories. The design of each story reflects the style of the artist and yet all stories are harmonious and coherent with the general theme. I find sometimes that certain anthologies lack this cohesion. To decide which story is the best is a bit difficult as it depends whether you are into the emotions that death and monsters bring about or whether you”re more into the comic side. Nonetheless I”ve managed to narrow my preference to two which are: Death”s Apprentice by Chloe Citrine and Last Embrace by Faye Young. These two stories are the first you read in this anthology and will surely entice the read to further read on.

Since the stories are quite short I will steer away from discussing their content per se in this review to avoid any spoilers, however I can assure you that whether you have a preference for western style comics or the Asian mangas, this anthology makes a good read. At the end after the stories, one finds a short bio about the artists and writers and a sketch gallery with handwritten comments which adds a touch of the “personal” in this collective work. You also find various promos of the other books published by Sweat Drop Studios as well.

In conclusion I must say its a 5 out of 5 for me. The presentation is good, the content is good, the art is good… had some stories been slightly longer it would have been too good to be true right? I look forward to buying my copy of Drop Dead Monstrous, to get it signed by the artists, and who knows, maybe we see a Volume 2 in the future!

Until the next review….

If you wish to visit Sweat Drop Studio”s website –
Here you can order you very own copy of Drop Dead Monstrous!

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