cover image The Marchenoir Library

The Marchenoir Library

A. Degan. Secret Acres, $21.95 trade paper (104p) ISBN 978-0-99-919358-7

Degan (Soft X-Ray/Mindhunters) fuses superhero and sci-fi/fantasy tropes with a dollop of existential angst in this lighthearted, hypersurreal parody. The description of his curvy heroine, Marchenoir, defender of reality, sets the tone: “Ex-celebrity superheroine, ex-singer/songwriter, now working as a hero to pay off a debt she incurred in her younger days.” Degan provides bios of the supporting characters, including Marchenoir’s sisters Peony and Hellebore and her confidant Professor Q, as well as villains like Rubber Shroud, Wonderful Boy, and the Aunties. Additionally, there’s love interest Parveen Velvet, “a multi-instrumentalist celebrity troubadour who tours through different dimensions playing sold out shows.” From there, eschewing a conventional narrative, Degan presents Marchenoir’s saga via a series of lavishly illustrated, two-page mock book jackets or adverts. For example, from the write-up for Marchenoir and the Milk of Paradise: “After drinking the milk of paradise Marchenoir finds herself in an island utopia inside her own dreams.” While Degan’s illustrations and worldbuilding skills are colorful and wittily imaginative, with surrealist and ’70s retro-influenced art, this collection of absurdist set pieces lacks any clear story arc. This artsy item plays out a nifty experiment for a niche indie market. [em](June) [/em]