I sometimes have dreams where I fall in love with a made-up dream person. The person is perfect for me, and makes me feel safe, loved, and accepted like few people in the real world can. But when I awaken, all that I remember is that feeling; I couldn’t tell you a single thing about the person, not even what they looked like.
That sensation – being head over heels in love with someone you know nothing about – is one that Missing Monday captures perfectly, if perhaps unintentionally. But it also captures the feeling of waking up.
When Foyle Leaf gets the key to a room full of junk, she’s overjoyed at the tinkering possibilities it offers. But its real treasure is quite different: a magic door, in the back behind the debris, through which steps Monday, a girl from another world. Deciding to trust and believe her story, Foyle takes it upon herself to house, feed, and clothe the lost girl, all while introducing her to the cultural and metaphysical idiosyncracies of her world.
Monday, while sweet, polite, and diligent, is certainly less forthright. Foyle shares everything with her, but Monday offers little about her world, her culture, or even herself. This dynamic is one that Foyle doesn’t really catch on to, though, because she’s too busy falling in love with the mysterious girl.
Missing Monday starts out like a dream, a storybook love appearing by magic, but it’s actualy a very grounded story about secrets, miscommunications, real-ass incompatibilities, and making it work anyway. The romance between Foyle and Monday is surprisingly deep and real (with a few exceptions) and reminds me of relationships I’ve had in my own life. This isn’t fluff. It’s complicated, messy, and painful. Just like I like. I do think it’s a bit weird that after the timeskip, Foyle still knows nothing about Monday’s world or family, despite the conversation they had about sharing and being open more! But we have seen that Foyle is pretty content to let Monday have her secrets, so maybe she just… let it go. Hopefully this will be addressed later.
The interpersonal drama isn’t the only great thing in this comic; the worldbuilding is solid, and the cultural differences between the two worlds creates a number of sticky situations for our heroes. In Foyle’s world, a career is a path you set out upon when you’re young, as determined by your “knack”, a semi-magical talent every person has. Cities are communities built around people with particular knacks; Foyle is from Leaf, an agricultural city, but moved to Gear when she discovered her ability for fixing machines. The fact that Monday isn’t from anywhere, has no knack, and uses her family’s name as a surname (instead of the name of the city where she was born) draws a lot of questions from Foyle’s friends, neighbors, and boss. This is a great way to exposit setting details without long explanations, and just one way that Skinner is terrific at unfolding the world bit by bit in front of our eyes. Although the fact that Foyle and Monday speak a mutually intelligible language has yet to be addressed. Maybe it’s the miamaska?
The other cool thing that Skinner does is use different art styles and color schemes for different worlds: soft sepia for Foyle’s world, flat blues and hard lines for Monday’s world, and stark, oversaturated weirdness for the realm in between. It’s not the most original idea – the Wizard of Oz movie did it first, after all – but it’s extremely effective here, not to mention that it can be tricky for an artist to switch between styles consciously like this; many people can barely manage one style. And while this technique certainly makes for a visually interesting effect, my personal hope is that Skinner plays with it more as the world-traversing shenanigans continue.
Things are really heating up in the current updates, so now is a great time to get into Missing Monday, assuming you love cliffhangers and the feeling of suspended tension that comes with a once-a-week update schedule. But let’s be real: if you didn’t, you wouldn’t read webcomics.
Final verdict: If you love yuri but hate yuri tropes, this one’s for you. If you want to see more realistic expressions of queer girl love, it’s for you too. If you just want a romance comic that’s cute and honest, it’s even for you.