This is a version of the legendary Marilyn Monroe that you've never quite seen before. In the new graphic novel Marilyn’s Monsters, artist/writer Tommy Redolfi presents a surreal and hallucinatory version of events in the life of Norma Jean Baker, who rose to prominence as actress and universal sex symbol Marilyn Monroe before tragically taking her own life at the age of 36.
The real Monroe was born in Los Angeles on June 1, 1926 and spent her entire life there, first as Norma Jean Mortenson, then Norma Jean Baker, before eventually choosing the stage name Marilyn Monroe. In and out of foster homes and orphanges through her childhood and teen years, she was married at 16, divorced at 20, and signed to a modeling contract in 1945. She began acting after that, becoming a bona fide star in 1953 with roles in Niagara and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
She continued her box office streak with films like How to Marry a Millionaire, The Seven-Year Itch and Some Like It Hot, but also struggled with a turbulent personal life (she married and divorced baseball great Joe DiMaggio and playwright Arthur Miller, while also allegedly having affairs with President John F. Kennedy and others), bouts of depression and a severe addiction to barbiturates. She overdosed on the night of Aug. 5, 1962 at her home in the Brentwood neighborhood of Los Angeles and was found lifeless the next morning, her death ruled a suicide.
In his graphic novel, Redolfi reimagines the famous Hollywood Hills as a strange, twisted forest populated with freaks and pockmarked with broken-down trailers. It's to this dark, shadowy land that Norma Jean Baker comes with dreams of making it big in Tinsel Town. But to achieve the success she desires, she will have to face all kinds of monsters in what is described by the publisher as an affecting allegory of abuse and exploitation.
But don't take our word for it: master filmmaker David Cronenberg called the book "a brilliant, hallucinatory meditation on the phenomenon of Marilyn Monroe. It will alter your understanding of both Hollywood and Marilyn." That's no faint praise coming from a director who has skewered the film business in movies like Maps to the Stars and who certainly knows how to create hallucinatory art himself.
Marilyn’s Monsters will arrive at retailers on Tuesday, Sept. 18 from Humanoids, and SYFY WIRE is pleased to present an exclusive look at five pages from the 248-page book, along with the cover art. You may never look at a photo of Marilyn Monroe the same way again.