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Neil Gaiman's Snow, Glass, Apples Kindle & comiXology
|Length: 64 pages|
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Based on a few negative comments I’ve seen here, let me say this: if all you want is the Gaiman story it is easily available elsewhere. It is a short story, included with the aforementioned Troll Bridge and a couple of dozen other short stories in a book titled “Smoke and Mirrors (and available here on Amazon). It has also been released as a “radio play” which you can find on the internet for free. The “radio play” version stars Bebe Neuwirth, the actress who played Lilith, Frazier’s wife on Cheers. It is quite good and I recommend seeking it out.
So the reason to purchase this book is Colleen Doran’s art. Ms Doran says her inspiration for the art style in which she illustrated this story is a book illustrator and stained glass artist named Harry Clarke, a man who worked in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. If you Google the name you will see that this is no doubt so, though I have to say that when I first saw her cover for this book my immediate thought was “Kay Nielsen”, another artist of that period who illustrated in (to me) a similar style. (Nielsen also worked for Walt Disney as an inspirational artist and is responsible for much of the look and feel of The Night on Bald Mountain sequence in Fantasia.). In any event, were this another time, I think Ms Doran would easily fit in with Clarke, Nielsen, Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, and the other great “children’s book” illustrators. Note that while Ms Doran was inspired by Clarke the art here is her own, original and superlative in every way.
We are warned that this is not a “children’s book”, and indeed this is not something I would want to read to my 6 and 4 year old grandkids. On the other hand, I probably wouldn’t want to read the original version of Snow White to them either. As you might know in that original version the evil Queen eats what she thinks are Snow White’s liver and lungs and in the end of the story she is killed at the the Prince’s orders, by torture. So, while this story isn’t suitable for pre-teens it’s not really so far in spirit from the original. When I was young I loved comic books. As I grew older I found that I still loved the form but I found the content somewhat childish. I longed for illustrated stories that I could read as an adult without feeling like I was reading a story meant for pre-teen boys. In short, I wanted the comics to grow up with me. I must not have been the only one, and during the 80’s there was a revolution in comics. Odd that nowadays it’s difficult to find, except in reprints, comics of the type I remember from my childhood. This is the type of story and art I wished for in those days. Based on this and Troll Bridge I hope there will be other Neil Gaiman stories illustrated by Colleen Doran.
Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran merge their respective talents in a work that is greater than the sum of their parts. I could not put this down on the first reading and then returned again and again to soak in all the beautiful words and art and savor their flavor in my head and heart.
You are denying yourself an exceptional experience if you do not get this book and read it.
Please note that I would rate this R. There’re a few sexually explicit scenes that I wouldn’t recommend for a younger crowd. So, you know, don’t buy this for your 6-year-old.
For the art it is top notch in the style of Harry Clarke and the better manga. For example it reminds me of the netflix anime Castlevania.
The story is a take on snow white from the perspective of the Queen. Made me think of a recent Theodora Goss book and an old fantasy anthology from a decade or two ago.
The story has adult content so keep that in mind if buying as a gift.
Highly recommend if you enjoy mythic stories, wonderful art, and high production value and don't mind paying a premium for it. Ultimately it is something you can read quickly during a lunch break.
Highly recommend getting Charles Vess's The Book of Ballads and Sagas for an equally high quality production graphic novel and a similar vein.
Top international reviews
As to the graphic novel itself Colleen Doran has outdone herself. The art, inspired by Irish artist Harry Clarke, is beautiful. You could spend hours studying the images and appreciating each page, or double page, as a work of art in its own right. Despite it being highly stylised it is also eminently readable. This work shows comics at its best and I’d recommend it to all who appreciate fine art.
Visually, it is like Harry Clarke's Eve of Saint Agnes window. This was the story from the poem by Keats told in picture form made for the owner of Jacob's Crackers's house. There are pages/panels and each illustrates part of the story. Clarke was mainly a stained glass window maker and the vividness of the colours in his work have to be seen in the various churches around Dublin to really get the full impact of their beauty: ruby reds, sapphire blues and amber yellows.
It also reminded me of Jim Fitzpatrick and Angela Mills. So it has an Irish Folklore feel.
Just open it and look. It is a work of art. Enjoy it!
Buy this book!
Guess I was fooled by the beautiful book cover
Diese Stiefmutter ist zu Beginn der Erzählung die verwitwete und hoch geschätzte Regentin ihres Reichs, nachdem sie dieses vor etlichen Jahren von einem fürchterlichen Monster befreit hat – ihrer Stieftochter, deren Mutter im Kindsbett gestorben ist und die der Nachfolgerin ihrer Mutter zunächst ausgewichen ist. Ihr Vater hat die junge Frau ins Schloss geholt und dabei vermieden, auf die Ernährungsgewohnheiten seiner Tochter hinzuweisen.
Nach einem ganz unerwarteten Twist, der auch zum Tod des Königs mit beiträgt entwickelt sich die Geschichte in deutlich identifizierbarer Weise, als ihr Anfang, wobei sie nun aber unter ganz anderen Vorzeichen steht, als zuvor.
Die weitere Handlung möchte ich hier nicht vorwegnehmen, aber im Endeffekt kann ein altes Sprichwort über Geschichtsschreibung erklären, warum uns die Disney-Variante dieser Geschichte wesentlich geläufiger ist als diese überaus düstere Erzählung des Meister-Erzählers Gaiman.
Die graphische Umsetzung orientiert sich – anders als bei der letzten von Chris Riddell illustrierten Märchenadaption durch Gaiman – stark an der Sandman-Optik, was zu dieser Erzählung hervorra-gend passt. Für Gaiman-Fans und Märchenfreunde ein wunderbares Hardcover-Geschenk. Nach der eigentlich Erzählung gibt es auch noch einige Skizzen zusammen mit Kommentaren zu den Ideen der graphischen Umsetzung. Eine nette kleine Bibliotheksbereicherung.