Now that Monster has come to an end, it’s a good time to look back at the two last chapters. For this, I collected my favorite 25 pages from Breaking All Barriers and Monster.
There were exactly 250 pages in these two chapters, so this collection covers 10% of all published pages. This week, I’ll post the pages placed between 11 and 25. Next week, I’ll post my personal top 10. The following pages are listed in chronological order. While this list is dominated by pages from Breaking All Barriers, the top 10 list will include four pages from Monster.
You can vote for your personal favorite of these 15 pages with the voting widget in the right sidebar!
The chapter cover for Breaking All Barriers almost made it into the top 10. I published two articles some time ago in which you can see the old logo the cover was based on and the progress from sketch to finished version. At first, I had some trouble with the text beneath the illustration. Whatever I tried, it just didn’t look good. But then I had the idea to increase the space between the individual characters which worked surprisingly well.
This page generated a lot of comments by readers who wondered what Lilith will say to Ilias in the next page. Some of them were really outlandish, making the comment section fun to read. The lighting of this page is particularly well done. It’s often hard to draw dark pages so that there’s still enough contrast to see everything in detail. And Lilith is at her cutest.
Now this is quite the contrast to the serene scene shown in the page above. I can already reveal that the previous page of this scene in the forest of Oakdale is in my top 10. Very few readers guessed that these pages were actually showing Eldor carrying out an operation on Viviana. This was finally revealed in Monster #57. What you can see here is what happened in Viviana’s mind, not what happened in reality. I spent ages on the transparent word bubbles.
This is the first of the four pages showing mysterious dreams that Viviana and Lilith had while they were in Oakdale. As you can see below, they’re all contained in this list since they shine with some of Gaia’s best artwork. While this and the next page were obviously showing a dream, many readers were naturally confused by the meaning of all of it. In Monster, Alissa and Ryn (and the readers) were finally enlightened by King Savos and San de Vertis. I love how the castle’s main hall turned out in the large first panel, especially after still being skeptical about it when I saw the inked version without the coloration.
If this had been the first Gaia page seen by a new reader, he would probably have been completely confused since the king’s dialog partner San is missing in the scene. A few readers tried to recreate the missing pieces of the dialog in the comment section and Grynfwald actually got quite close to what I had in mind for San to say.
Lilith’s episode with the mysterious witch is lifted almost entirely from the classic RPG Planescape: Torment, my second most favorite computer game. In the game, the hero doesn’t actually encounter such a witch. It’s just a story told to him by one of the “prostitutes” working in the “Brothel for S(l)ating Intellectual Lusts”. I used it since the story relates so well to Lilith’s situation as it has been revealed in Monster. The artwork showing the desolate landscape is truly outstanding and one of my favorite illustrations in Gaia.
I like to use colored word bubbles for special occasions such as this one. They really change the mood of the page and immediately draw the attention of the readers. But one has to be very careful to not overdo it with such gimmicks and save it for the most memorable situations.
I love how the lovely drawing of the landscape around the castle covers the whole page. Is there any adventurer who could resist taking a trip to the Thunderbolt Stronghold after seeing this illustration of it? I think not.
Another page that shines with its beautiful artwork. The interior of the temple really turned out great with the colorful flowers, the windows with tiled colored glass, the playful animals and the light shining through the windows.
Except for the first page, all pages from the sequence with the giant wolf in Viviana’s bedroom (, , , , ) were in my shortlist for this article. I finally decided to pick #120 and #121 (see below). The best part of this page is Viviana’s look of utter desperation in the last panel. Powree did a marvelous job at it.
The first panel of this page caused us some problems since I was not happy how it looked in the first two sketches Powree sent to me. But then I had the idea of showing the wolf’s eyes directly from the front and putting the silhouettes of Lilith and Eldor into them. The meaning of this dream sequence was one of the many mysteries eventually explained in Monster.
Finally something light-hearted action again. I love how Alissa is relentlessly teasing poor Viviana.
While the artwork of the pages #160 and #161 may be at least as beautiful, I’m particularly fond of the first appearance of Lilith with black eyes in the fourth panel. She looks truly terrifying in this page and it’s totally unclear what kind of spell she’s casting in the last panel. Some readers certainly expected the worst.
Viviana looks truly shaken in this page. Powree did a fantastic job of conveying her emotional breakdown after killing the two Canian soldiers and the Ileasaarian bartender. And Ilias can finally show that he has learnt a few things in the academy, for example to never lose his cool in times of danger. I think that Ilias and Viviana complement each other very well and make a great couple.
This and the next page in which San is showing her true intentions, generated lots of comments. I particularly like the last panel with San’s smug grin and King Savos’ hard-to-read facial expression. One thing should be clear after these pages: San is quite the power-hungry person. But how far she’s willing to go to reach her goals needs to be seen. 😉