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The key here, for me, was the art. The first impression is that the drawing and coloring will be simple, basic, and rather bland. There are soft, simple lines, little inking, and broad, impressionistic swathes of pastel colors. Scenes are flat and two-dimensional. Characters aren't exactly cartoony, but they aren't especially expressive. Panels often look like illustrations from greeting cards.
But as you continue to read the whole effect becomes dreamy and increasingly unsettling. By the time we get to Bluebeard's castle the ominous overtones have begun to emerge, and the contrast between the heroine's innocence and Bluebeard's evil intentions creates an exquisite tension. The narrative remains bland and rather passive, but that actually contributes to the air of inevitable tragedy to which the art is building.
The actual story breaks no new ground, and this is essentially the standard Bluebeard story, with a slight twist ending. I think the claim of a "feminist" retelling is a stretch, but I guess there's no harm in that as long as you don't expect too much. This is not at all edgy, angry, or transgressive; in that regard this is still mild and unsurprising in terms of content and narrative.
So, if you're looking for a graphic novel version of some of the recent girrrl power fairy tale retellings, this probably isn't it. If you're interested in a sneaky, creepy example of sequential art storytelling, this could be an interesting choice.
(Please note that I had a chance to read a free advance ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)
Eve lives with her family in a village. Eve and Tom are good friends. They play together everyday sharing their hopes and dreams. Eve finds an injured bird. She mends it broken wing. The bird becomes her friend. There is a terrible season of rain that destroys all the trees and plants that the villagers depend on for food. After a while, Bluebeard invites the village to come and stay at his country home for 8 days. Everyone in the village goes to Bluebeard’s cottage and feast. When their host, Bluebeard appeared, the old women decide that his beard being blue doesn’t make him ugly. Eve’s father and Bluebeard have a private conservation. When the family has returned home, Eve creeps to the kitchen where Bluebeard’s conversation is discusses — Bluebeard wants one of his daughters to become his wife. The wife doesn’t want him to have one of her daughters. She is talked into it. They decide on which daughter by rolling the dice. Eve is the one that will become Bluebeard’s wife. Eve tries to talk to Tom but isn’t able to. Why? Bluebeard’s former wives have all mysteriously disappeared. How? When Bluebeard leaves for business, she decides to try to escape but can’t. Why? Will she be able to escape? Will she ever see Tom or her family again?
Bluebear is a story that I heard about from my mom. Even though I think Bluebeard’s story is known, this story is different. There is a suggestion of Eve being a feminist throughout the story. The author has written an engaging story. The illustrator has done an outstanding work on the illustrations. It is a gorgeous graphic novel. I loved the “art work” and enjoyed the story.
Disclaimer: I received an arc of this book from the author/publisher from Netgalley. I wasn’t obligated to write a favorable review or any review at all. The opinions expressed are strictly my own.
(I received this title as an ARC. All opinions are mine and freely given.)
Metaphrog (known collectively as Franco-Scottish graphic novelists Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers) will be releasing 'Metaphrog's Bluebeard' on May 5, 2020 through Papercutz -- a retelling of the French folktale with a feminist bent told through a unique art style that looks at times, almost as if it's discreetly stitched together. It's not.. of course. It's an illustrated comic, classified as children's fiction. Whereas the original tale was an incredibly dark story about a wealthy nobleman who marries over and over, only to have each wife disappear and the experience of his newest wife as she attempts to avoid the same outcome that befell each of them. Though this version makes no effort to extract that dark atmosphere, horrific things have certainly occurred in the nobleman's castle, there are some differences here and there as well. Otherworldly influence seems to abound throughout the story and the sisters are no mere damsels in distress. All in all, if you're comfortable with the violence that is often present in a traditional folktale, this is a pretty good comic for a child that isn't easily upset. If your kids like dark stories like creepy pastas and games like Bendy, this might be the story for them. Bear in mind, the unusually cutesy sort of.. paper doll art style really contrasts with the edginess of the story.. but it's still fun.
'Metaphrog's Bluebeard' by artistic duo Metaphrog is a variant of the classic fairytale.
Eve lives in a village with her family and her sweetheart Tom. Looming over the village is the creepy castle owned by the mysterious Bluebeard. It is rumored that he has married many women, but no one knows what happened to them. When tragedy hits Eve's village, she is forced in to marriage with Bluebeard and starts to unravel his secrets.
I love the Metaphrog works I've read, and their nice illustrations style. The story works well here and I don't mind the revisions. The art has details that surprised me throughout.
I received a review copy of this graphic novel from Papercutz and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for allowing me to review this graphic novel.