Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Beast" Preview - Graphic Novel by Marian Churchland

Newsarama has a free 25 page preview of a new graphic novel that (according to Newsarama) becomes available in bookstores today (Amazon shows it becoming available on November 25th). It's loosely based on Beauty and the Beast and is by Vancouver writer-artist Marian Churchland.

From an interview with Comic Book Resources:

“Beast” is the story of Colette, a struggling sculptor who’s trying to get on with her life following a break-up. Her father, who doubles as her “informal and somewhat unreliable” agent, finds her a job: Carving a portrait of a man out of a specific block of marble. But neither the man,who turns out to be a shadowy creature named Beast, or the block of marble are what they seem.

If that plot sounds familiar, it’s supposed to. “The initial idea for ‘Beast’ was that I would do a very, very loose retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale,” Churchland told us, “based more or less in the present day, with some mild magical elements.” But from that starting point, the story’s transformed into a more personal tale for the protagonist. “It evolved into something less about the standard fairytale romantic coupling, and more to do with the main character, Colette, having to figure out what she wants out of his life, and whether she’s going to stick with what she knows or break off into uncharted territory.”

Churchland describes “Beast” as a vignette rather than a traditional story, and she feels the piece is fairly unique in the medium of American comics. “I can’t really think what to compare it to,” Churchland said. “And hopefully that, if nothing else, is a good sign rather than a bad one.”

You can read the rest of the article HERE.

Here are a couple of sample pages (click to view larger images):If you like Beauty and the Beast (or are interested in graphic novels) I think you'll be more than intrigued by the end of the 25 page preview. Ms. Churchland herself calls it a "quiet story" and that alone is atypical of what comics usually are these days. "Beast" seems to have a combination of good pacing and expressive drawings that are so well laid out they are emotive without drawing attention to themselves, so you don't lose the story. I'm definitely curious to read more.

You can view 23 more pages HERE and purchase it HERE. Ms. Churchland's website is HERE and her blog is HERE. Both have lots more art and explanations about her process.

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