The Master and Margarita

Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrzej Klimowski, and Danusia Schejbal. Selfmadehero, $24.99 (128p) ISBN 978-0-955-81692-5
Klimowski and Schejbal make a bold but confused attempt to adapt Bulgakov’s classic novel by embracing its surreal qualities and alternating between the two artists’ styles for its parallel narratives. The Devil arrives in Stalin-era Moscow, wreaking havoc on the city’s hypocritical intelligentsia, and Klimowski renders these sections in a dense, moody style with thick linework. The Devil and his motley crew of assistants upend the establishment through a series of deadly performances, nasty pranks, and bizarre rituals. He also aids the despondent title characters, a writer nicknamed the Master by his lover, Margarita. Schejbal adapts the Master’s scandalous novel-within-the-novel about Pontius Pilate with an intense burst of paints. Both artists try to match the lyrical richness of Bulgakov’s prose with their exaggerated visceral stylizations, but the results run incoherent. Characters are introduced without much context, and Bulgakov’s satirical jabs are often lost in translation. The mechanical lettering font deadens the dialogue, especially given the artists’ highly expressionistic approach. While ambitious, this dueling visualization of Bulgakov’s thematically complex novel just doesn’t quite coalesce. (Nov.)
Reviewed on : 10/04/2019
Release date: 11/01/2019
Genre: Comics
Hardcover - 160 pages - 978-0-9552856-7-7
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