Four years ago, Chinese-American writer Marjorie Liu had a simple but persistent idea: create an epic fantasy comic book series about a classic Japanese kaijū (strange beast) movie monster that has a connection to a girl.
She knew it should take place entirely in Asia, and that Asian women should be the main characters. She also knew that she wanted to work with an Asian artist. The West, and men, would remain peripheral.
The artist she wanted to realize her vision was Japanese illustrator Sana Takeda. The two had worked together on the Marvel comic series “X-23” in 2010, and Liu says their chemistry was uncanny.
“She was one of the finest artists I ever worked with,” she tells me at a cafe in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she lives and teaches at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“Sana is capable of illustrating silence, quiet moments. That’s rare in comics. And I write superheroes as real people with real problems, not just power and action. Sana’s art makes me feel like I’m pulled into moments, standing right in front of the characters as they think about things, not just watching them fight.”