Second Chances

Well, I decided to have another go at this whole graphic novel business. Actually, that’s a lie; my hand was forced a little bit to be honest. SS came to my house on Friday night and he had a whole bunch of graphic novels with him…which kind of leads me to believe that he never did get over the disappointment of me not finishing Watchmen. (Having said that, it is still on my “currently reading” shelf on Goodreads so one day, maybe 20 years from now or something, I may actually finish it! Who knows!)

These graphic novels seemed, in SS’s opinion, to be more suited to my reading interests. I mean, I love superhero movies, but for some reason I just couldn’t follow Watchmen, probably because of how long it is and how many characters there are and the fact that I’m not at all familiar with the story. But these new graphic novels that SS brought are all adaptations of fairy tales or of popular stories. One is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland, and the other one (which I read today) is based on the story of Beauty and the Beast.

Now, let me just say that Beauty and the Beast is my absolute favourite Disney movie of all time because, obviously, Belle reads a lot and she’s a brunette with brown eyes and her soul is so lovely and gentle. Furthermore, I’ve actually seen a number of French versions of the story, including the classic 1946 film by Jean Cocteau (which is brilliant!), as well as the gorgeous 2014 remake starring sexy French actor Vincent Cassel. I would even go so far as to say that my interest in learning the French language probably came from watching the Disney movie, hearing the word “Bonjour!” over and over again and deciding that I wanted to speak the same language as the people in Belle’s little town. So there you have it: Disney is useful and educational after all!

This particular graphic novel adaptation of my beloved story, included in Grimm Fairy Tales Volume 3 by Tyler and Tedesco, is very different though. It’s so much more sinister and depressing, and all of the romantic sympathies between Belle (in this case Jesabel) and her beast are entirely removed. The beast is really and truly a beast…and he is honestly quite terrible. I mean, even I, with my penchant for damaged, troubled heroes, would find it difficult to love him. So the ending is just as tragic as you would expect, and the whole story is only about 50 pages, so things happen very quickly and with little dialogue. I’m starting to learn that this is typical of the graphic novel genre though, and I did enjoy reading this particular tale because it was quick and different and I knew the characters well enough in their different pop culture incarnations to be able to follow along and recognize the various changes that had been made. Naturally, my instincts tell me that this story isn’t as powerful because it lacks that special lesson about redemption and True Love despite appearances, but it is fun and very dark and creepy in many ways. It’s just something totally unique – not necessarily bad, but it does take some getting used to for a true B&B fan like myself.

The last thing I will say is that the artwork was, once again, gorgeous! I really wish I could draw some of my own characters with such detail and colour and vibrancy. Check out this picture I took of one of the pages…the rose is just so well done, and I can really respect and appreciate just how much work it takes to create a literary text of this sort!

B&B in Grimm Fairy Tales

Anyway, at least my second attempt at conquering a graphic novel has been a success! So there, SS! 😛

JNG

Girl with a Green Heart

my green heart

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