Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 1
Eye of the Majestic Creature is a collection of semi-autobiographical and fantasy-based comics that combine dry humor, psychedelia, and emotion to show the viewpoint of one person’s world internally and externally. The story follows a young girl, Larrybear, and her talking acoustic guitar Marshmallow on their adventures through the countryside, Chicago, San Francisco and New York. While Larrybear struggles to connect with strangers, her friends, and her family to various degrees of success, her growing population of anthropomorphic friends have adventures of their own.
Larrybear is in a constant struggle between the desire to connect with those around her and to be left to her own devices. You get a glimpse of her past life when she visits her home town of Chicago, trying to relate to old friends who have not matured since high school, as well as her family (which includes her Hippopotamus father and his harem of ex-wives, two brothers, and Salsa-dancing mom). In the present, she moves to New York to find work for a time, resulting in many hilarious and drunken adventures with her new coworkers at a cell phone decorating shop, and her old friend Boris, who shares with her his P.G. Wodehouse books, as well as his “Incredible Hulk” weed. Drawn in shades of gray using the near-deceased practice of stippling, Stein’s imagery draws you into her world for a complete and engrossing experience.
Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2
Eye of the Majestic Creature Vol. 2 is the second book collecting Leslie Stein's loose, funny and charming autobiographical narratives that combine idiosyncratic fantasy and stark reality. Larrybear, our hero, has moved from the countryside to the city, where she finds work as a shop girl. Quotes from Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie are sprinkled throughout the story to add humor and poignancy. Stein then takes us back to a childhood in the '80s filled with odd experiences including joining a rock band with older people, sitting in on her mother's AA groups, and the mystery of the disappearing gumballs. Finally, a fun story in which Larrybear and her new friend Poppin the Flower go on a strange trip to see his father. Let us not forget that Marshmallow, Ping-Ping and Mimolette, Larry's walking and talking instruments, have adventures all their own.
Stein's gorgeous cartooning, highlighted by incredibly detailed stippling, and her dry sense of humor combine to make one of the most unique and immersive narrative experiences in comics.
Praise for Volume 1:
"What a treat discovering a new 'voice' that speaks to you as much as longtime favorites." – Jeff Newelt, Heeb "Best of 5771: Comics"
"Leslie's work communicates an urban loneliness that I relate to a lot, seeing as we live in the same place. It's cute and sad and familiar, especially if you're 30 or under." – Nick Gazin, Vice
"...[T]his book is phenomenal.... I really enjoyed this collection, and I want to see more from this creator.... There is significant depth to this fantastic story about a girl, her guitar, and the quirks associated with staying alive." – Alex Jarvis, Spandexless
"Wow. Bullet list time: A little bit of surreality; a lot of great, expressive, exaggerated, and sometimes adorable cartooning; a creator (Leslie Stein) who isn't afraid to mix up art styles and who drops little Easter eggs into the narrative; and, finally, a story that is as emotionally impactful as a tale of pretty much living a relatively normal life can be. Great book…. [Rating] 9/10"
– Jeremy Nisen, Under the Radar
"...[I]f you're willing to throw yourself into the author's surreal world and get to know Larrybear and Marshmallow better, this heart-warming, deeply odd collection is a joy from cover to cover." – David McComb, Bizarre
"Stein's easy-on-the-eyes drawing style shows an affinity for the same greatly defined, goofy universe Pete Bagge's youthful wanderers once trolled though Seattle in... I found it irresistible, and will come back to its gentle humor and delightful glimpses into woozy alt-country gal delights again and again." – Chris Estey, Three Imaginary Girls
"It's a fun and thoughtful book that has its own tone and rhythm in a way that's a triumph for the talented, young cartoonist." – Alex Dueben, Comic Book Resources
"Eye of the Majestic Creature... is ultimately the tale of a young woman rejecting the things that shaped her and attempting to figure out what comes next for her. Thanks to Stein's loose, amiable approach, you'll want to know that, too." – Glen Weldon, NPR Monkey See
"...[A] promising introduction to a potentially major new talent." – Noel Murray, The A.V. Club
"You’d be hard-pressed to find a more downright affable character than blithely blitzed Larrybear, ...a naïve woman on the verge of Whatever, a cute Candide floundering about in an increasingly complicated world. ...[T]his book [is] such a pleasure..." – Richard Gehr, The Comics Journal
"Leslie Stein's comics are a blend of the autobiographical and the fantastic, with a wonderfully psychedelic style that binds the two together delightfully. And early entry for one of the best graphic novels of the year." – Benn Ray (Atomic Books), Largehearted Boy
"This book isn't easy to describe, and that's exactly why I love it. Leslie's surreal, funny style is a welcome addition to comics; her world includes a talking guitar and thrift-shop treasures. Though sometimes it's a compliment for me to say I read a book in one sitting, I'll be honest and say this one took me weeks — and that's because my eyes lingered over the detailed panels for perhaps much longer than the author intended. I envy her worldview, though I'm thrilled to have 128 pages of it." – Whitney Matheson, USA Today Pop Candy
Praise for Leslie Stein:
“Leslie Stein’s comics inhabit a charming and semi-autobiographical (in the most ‘semi’ sense of the word) yet surreal, insular world where her best friend and closest confidant is an acoustic guitar. What’s not to relate to?”
— Peter Bagge
“Early in the 20th Century, a beautiful cartoonist, Marcel Duchamp, pretended to be a marginally attractive woman and spent considerable time watching dust accumulate. Early in the 21st Century a beautiful cartoonist, Leslie Stein, pretended to be a funky dweeb and spent considerable time counting sand. Catch my drift?” — Gary Panter
“Visual inventiveness combined with a high level of wit.” — Michael Kupperman