I didn't go looking for Snow White, but she managed to find me, and I am glad she did. Matt Phelan's Snow White: A Graphic Novel crossed my desk at the library a day or so ago and after taking a quick browse at it I knew I had to bring it home with me to enjoy at leisure before sending it on its way back to the library stacks.
What a treat this is. If you are into graphic novels, fairy tales (especially retellings thereof), juvenile literature or just gorgeous artwork, then you have to go find this one. It is a delightful read, but more so a visual feast for the eyes. Let me give you a little peek and tempt you with something just a little different.
This is the tried and true story of Snow White, but with a different spin on the setting and a slightly different twist to the story. It has all the elements of the fairy tale, but Phelan drops Snow White, rather Samantha White (known to those who love her as Snow) into Depression era Manhattan with perfect noir-ish illustrations. Phelan uses sepia-washes with just a hint of color for the most dramatic moments to tell a slightly grittier, darker story (though really Snow White is pretty dark all things considered).
The evil (and very jealous stepmother) comes in the form of a beautiful, sinewy Ziegfied Follies star. She has managed to catch and marry Snow's dad, a successful business man always watching the ticker tape to keep track of his business dealings. How fitting that it is the ticker tape (a heartless voice of all that is bad about capitalism) that pushes the "Queen of the Follies" into doing her wicked deeds.
The seven are little men who come to Snow's aid, yet are cynical ragamuffins who live on the streets and come from the school of hard knocks. They aren't willing to tell her their names, so bitter are their experiences.
And yes, there is a red red red apple. And out of goodness Snow takes it from the old woman.
She falls into a deep sleep and is entombed in a glass coffin.
If you want to know if and how she wakes up and whether there is a handsome prince or whether they all live happily ever after . . . I'm not going to tell you. You are going to have to pick up the book yourself. It is easily read in a sitting, but the illustrations are worth lingering over. They tell as much (if not more) of the story as the words do.
This was a very happy find (I was hoping to complement my reading with perhaps some sort of short story or essay about the fairy tale, but I have not had any luck finding something that will match nicely-any suggestions would be welcome). You can find out more about Matt Phelan at his website (check out the book trailer for this while you're there). His studio-shed is pretty enviable, too. It's easy to see how the environment would be inspiring for his work. Now I am going to have to see what else by library owns by him.
This was just what I needed at the moment and it has put me back into a graphic novel/comic book reading mode. I already have pulled something else out to read next!