Monday, October 28, 2019

Graphic Novel: Metaphrog's Feminist "Bluebeard" Coming May 2020

Publisher Papercut, has just acquired a new fairy tale graphic novel and it's one to watch for fairy tale and folktale folks.

The Eisner award-nominated graphic novel creators of The Little Mermaid (winner of The Excelsior Award Junior 2018) and The Red Shoes, Metaphrog, are already getting high-level kudos from The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard, and others well-known in the field, making it quite an anticipated addition to the world of graphic novels. (Images below are linked to their page on Amazon - each has an extensive preview available.)
Metaphrog, who have as the tag-line on their website 'The Dark Side of Fairy Tales: More Than Just Graphic Novels' are no strangers to adapting fairy tales for modern readers.
John Chalmers & Sandra Marrs of Metaphrog
We loved fairy tales as children and we still love them now. We especially love them dark. Fairy tales bring the magic back into our lives, they tell us about ourselves and about others, about human nature, and link us to our ancestors: fairy tales have been told and retold for generations. Lotte Reiniger, the silhouette animation pioneer and creator of The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) said: ” I believe in the truth of fairy-tales more than I believe in the truth in the newspaper.” Here we reimagine our favourite tales as graphic novels and hope to have created an immersive, lasting reading experience. (Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers aka Metaphrog)
Metaphrog, which consists of artist Sandra Marrs and writer John Chalmers, commented “’Bluebeard’ is one of the darkest fairy tales and resonated with us when we were children because of this darkness. It felt necessary to create a feminist retelling and so we developed our heroine’s backstory to highlight her struggles in the patriarchy. We hope the result is a compelling, suspenseful read. ‘Bluebeard’ is seldom seen in children’s books nowadays and has never been adapted into a graphic novel, and we wanted our version to appeal to adults and children alike.” (Multiversity Comics)
If the tale of Bluebeard fascinates you too, check out Metphrog's Tumblr account HERE which has a lot of Bluebeard artwork from different sources, movie clips, book covers and more. (And, yes, you can expect to see a little Beauty and the Beast in there too, since BatB is considered the flip side of the Bluebeard coin.)

Little Mermaid Wave by Metaphrog
Near the end of 2017 both members of Metaphrog were interviewed by Threadless, as they had just created a line of merchandise for the first time through the company, using their artwork. The interviewer, Carlyn Hill, asked specifically about Metaphrog's views on fairy tales and we thought we share that here. Here's an excerpt of the interview with Sandra ('S) and John ('J') of Metaphrog:
What inspires you most about finding the dark side of fairy tales? What are some of your favorite stories to put a darker twist on? 
S: Fairy tales and folk tales often have a dark side, and that darkness holds a lasting power and helps get the core message of the story across. The darkness and light of such stories are held in balance. 
J: For example, in The Red Shoes, although the story is dark and treats themes of obsession, possession, and hope, it still has a lightness and a strangeness. The reader is encouraged to suspend disbelief. 
What do you think the importance of fairy tales – both light and dark – is for all of us as story lovers and as human beings? 
J: Fairy tales and folk tales tell us what it is to be human. They tell us about ourselves and about others. Their messages are so powerful that they speak to us still, even after centuries. Sometimes there is more truth in a story than there is in the news.
Photographer unknown
S: Human beings need stories. Not only as something to provide escapism but also to allow us to learn and grow, to sympathise and empathise. Some stories carry powerful warnings while others provide hope or allow us to suspend disbelief and dream. 
J: Both of us felt the thrill of reading as children and fairy tales, in particular, made the hairs on our necks stand on end.
Official synopsis of Bluebeard: A Feminist Fairy Tale:
“Award-winning duo Metaphrog transform the classic folktale into a feminist fairy tale, about the blossoming of a young child to womanhood striving for independence. Eve spends an idyllic childhood of long summer days with her sweetheart Tom, and together they dream of exploring the world. But that dream is soon shattered as she comes of age. The mysterious Bluebeard is looking for a new bride and has his sights set on Eve, and rumour has it that his former wives have all disappeared. What will Eve find in the castle beyond the enchanted forest? A forbidden chamber, a golden key and the most terrifying secret, take on a new life in this gothic graphic novel.”
Bluebeard: A Feminist Fairy Tale will be available through all major booksellers on May 2020 in both the UK and the US. You can pre-order through Amazon (US) HERE right now.

Note: The Red Shoes and Other Tales includes another Andersen story, "The Little Match Girl", and an original story, "The Glass Case". ("... about a boy who runs away to be with a living doll in a museum—and then turns into one." Description from School Library Journal)

NB: Amazon links are for your convenience. We do not receive any commission from them and are not currently an affiliate.

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