Neil Gaiman
Snow, Glass, Apples
Medium: comic
Year: 2019
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Colleen Doran
Format: 49 pages
Website category: Comics
Review date: 4 November 2021
That was extraordinarily horrible. I'd seen that this book won awards, but I hadn't paid enough attention to the fact that these included one from the Horror Writers Association. (Although also, in fairness, an Eisner.)
It's a retelling of Snow White from the wicked stepmother's perspective. Here, she's a sympathetic person whose biggest mistake is not going far enough with her attacks on the monster that is Snow White. The story includes sex, sex, vampirism and arguably perhaps incest, paedophilia and/or necrophilia. Doran notes in an afterword that she and Gaiman didn't want this graphic adaptation to appeal to children.
The art is beautiful. After reading it, I showed it to Tomoko (who's uninterested in English-language comics and comics art) and she thought it was wonderful too. It reminded me of classic Victorian children's illustrations and in fact this is Doran's homage to Harry Clarke (1889-1931). He did book illustrations and stained glass windows. This book is obviously a fairy tale from the beginning (unlike Troll Bridge), which allows a completely different approach. I love it. I haven't read the short story that this is based on, but Doran's done so much here that I can't believe that her adaptation isn't superior.
Gaiman wrote the original in 1994 for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, but it's also in his 1998 Smoke and Mirrors anthology.
I won't say much about this one, not because it's bad but because it's as simple as the best fairy tales and I wouldn't want to kill it through over-analysis. It's evil. I had to take a break halfway through. If you gave this to children, you'd probably traumatise the hell out of them. It's strong, obviously.