Sunday, October 30, 2011

Graphic Novel Review: Beast

After reading a retelling of the classic Beauty and the Beast early this year, I was skeptical to pick up Marian Churchland's Beast, her first original graphic novel. Not another retelling please, so I told myself. Surprise! It was far from the classic folktale, but it was strangely familiar.

Beast by Marian Churchland

I think that did the trick - the familiar is mixed with the new and the modern.

Collette, a young sculptor was commissioned by a mysterious benefactor to carve from stone, the most precious marble, an image of the man who asked her to do the project. Collette found herself drawn to his story of love and loss that happened centuries ago.

The story is indeed shrouded in mystery. I had to suspend my disbelief and consider its genre to be truly convinced that reason is not the reading stance I need to take to appreciate the material. It is in fact, very emo, as my fourteen year old son told me. He enjoyed the graphic novel so easily relating to the lost love and unrequited affections of the Beast to his object of desire. Who needs logic when one speaks of love lost transcending time and space? Like Collette, I struggled with reality blurring with the mysterious.

Thanks to its fantastic illustrations of black and white and sepia. It is elegantly done. The gothic feel of the material is present from start to finish.

Three and half bookmarks over five.

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