Graphic Novel Review 247/365: Beautiful Darkness

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #365GN on Twitter.

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Yo!  This book is weird!

Title: Beautiful Darkness

Author(s): Fabian Vehlmann and Kerascoet

Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly (2014)

Age Rating: 17+

This book starts out like any other semi-fun, strange fairy tale…until the walls and ceiling starting melting into reddish blobs tumbling all around, and the little characters start exiting their dwelling through tiny holes from this:

Yep.  That’s a dead little girl.  Don’t worry, we know that she’s dead.  There are maggots and flies that manifest all around her, and one of out little cute creatures even takes up residence in her skull after the back of her head decays.  Oh, yeah.  It’s like that.

Moving through the book, you will ask yourself many questions: what am I reading?  Whaa??  Is that?  …wait, yeah it is.  But what does that have to do with…?  Uhh?

I had no idea what to think as I was moving through the first act, but as the story, or lack there of develops, I started to make connections, started to compare the creatures and happenings to moments, feelings, and connections in real life.  This book is a collection of metaphors in the shape of a body of creatures horrifically surviving in a world after being exhumed from the innocence of childhood.  We have evil, fate, love, hope, destruction, pity, greed, and corruption…all of which we spawn connection to as we grow further from childhood.  Deep, I know.

The art itself is beautiful.  Its kid book style invites readers to the macabre ballet that Vehlmann and Kerascoet perform.  The look of the book is one of the more disturbing elements.  You expect cute, kiddie stuff, and you get a crazy little girl living in the back of a dead girl’s head:

Like Colder, a book I reviewed a few days back, you are going to either love this book or hate it, but unlike Colder, this one is not rich with story, but interpretation.  If you go all in on this journey, this book will speak to you, and I’m betting it will speak to you differently than it did to me.  I say read the damn thing.  And when you are done, give it to a family member that thinks you are normal…you will mess with their minds.  And refuse to answer why you gave it to them! 🙂

Happy reading!

Eric

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