Content warning: If you were not familiar with the original Neil Gaiman tale, note that I would rate this book at 18+.
Snow, Glass, Apples
Writers: Neil Gaiman, Colleen Doran. Artist and Colorist: Colleen Doran. Cover Artist: Colleen Doran.
In chapter 14 of the extensive Neil Gaiman′s Masterclass, Gaiman talks to us about genre: how subverting a genre and playing with readers expectations is something he has always enjoyed. A perfect example of this was his original take on Snow White, first appeared as a short story in his collected works: Smoke and Mirrors.
The story, published in 1994, wondered about the conventional elements of that particular fairy tale: how is that her skin was so white? Why would anyone want to carve out her heart? Was the queen really evil? And most importantly: what kind of prince would really find a dead woman′s body so attractive?
Colleen Doran makes a wonderful job adapting this story, inspired by both fin the siècle illustrations and the work of Harry Clarke.
First and foremost, I have to say this is not a young adult or children′s adaptation, and was very much surprised with the age range Dark Horse chose for this one: I would have placed it firmly over the 18+ range.
Why? Well, not for the erotica as depicted on the page (both beautiful and haunting), but for the descriptions around it: this story has always played with necrophilia, incest, death and vampirism. It is told from the vantage point of the Queen; and she likes to describe everything: how she sought pleasure and how she gave it, how she realized her step-daughter was far more monstrous that you would imagine her to be, and, -after becoming a widow-, how she found that her next chosen prince did not, in fact, like live women.
This Queen was wise, but, perhaps, she was not that evil. And, of course, she is fighting with a powerful enemy, one that will seek her utter destruction, covering her in lies, erasing her from the story.
At least, that is how she will choose to tell us what happened, as Gaiman decided to do as well.
I cannot properly describe how beautiful, detailed and perfect Colleen Doran work really is. It′s erotic without being blatant, it′s both decorative and useful to the story, it′s far more ambitious than anything I′ve seen this year, and makes a perfect pair with such an uncomfortable topic.
Gaiman knows how to defy convention, how to both enchant us and haunt us in the process, and this is their best collaboration so far.
Snow, Glass, Apples is on sale since August 7th, 2019.
Genre: Graphic Literature, Fantasy
Publication Date: August 07, 2019
Format: FC, 64 pages; HC; 6 5/8″ x 10 3/16″
Age range: 14
Featured image by Colleen Doran, all images belong to Dark Horse Comics