Friday, 22 May 2020

ReaditDaddy's Comic / Graphic Novel of the Week: Week Ending 22nd May 2020: "Bluebeard: A Feminist Fairy Tale" by Metaphrog (Papercutz)

Once again we're completely dazzled by the sheer talent behind this week's Comic / Graphic Novel of the Week, a supercool creative team who are definitely no strangers to our Book of the Week slot, and who have been a colossal part of the reason C has grown up as a comic fan.

John and Sandra - AKA Metaphrog - are back once again with another beautifully realised tale that instantly immerses you in a dark and mysterious bookworld with so much atmosphere you'll swear that a thin layer of frost has developed on your window as you read.

"Bluebeard: A Feminist Fairy Tale" begins with a grey haired lady recalling the summer of the year she turned 18, and what life was like under the shadow of a sinister and mysterious castle that dominated the landscape around where she lived - the gigantic imposing castle of Bluebeard.

Bluebeard's reputation was fearsome and villagers knew to stay well away from the castle, and the dark twisted forests that surrounded it, where rumours of wolves and other nefarious creatures were rife.

The girl's family life was simple and there were hardships, but one winter she and her family and the villagers find themselves desperate for food and warmth and left with no choice when a mysterious invitation to spend 8 days of luxury as Bluebeard's guests arrives - an invitation that would bring the young girl into direct contact with the scoundrel Bluebeard and his deep dark secret.

I'm writing up this review after one of the worst night's sleep I've had in ages, where fever-dreams stalked me, and delerium almost felt inspirational and it makes me wonder if John and Sandra have mastered the art of bringing dreams like those into their work, rendering them on the page with the same amazing clarity and depth of meaning.

There's a love story here too, as the young girl Eve and her beloved Tom find themselves wrenched apart by Bluebeard's evil desires. Will they ever be reuinted? Remember this is not a tale where the dashing hero rescues the girl, so you'll have to read this utterly mesmerising tale to find out what happens to Eve yourself.

To give you a taste of the book, here's John and Sandra, two of the coolest people you'll ever hope to witness, performing a reading from Bluebeard to celebrate the launch:

Fans of their work have been waiting for this one for a while and we're absolutely in love with this book. This talented duo have a knack for producing amazing and original takes on classic fairytakes, not shying away from the darker side of those stories and this is no exception, a thoroughly original and modern tale very much as intoxicating and immersive as their previous works.

Sum this book up in a sentence: A mighty girl, a powerful secretive antagonist and a tale that feels relevant and bang up to date yet steeped in the oral storytelling tradition of amazing folk tales with a visual style to die for.

"Bluebeard: A Feminist Fairy Tale" by Metaphrog is out now, published by Papercutz (very kindly sent for review).