cover image Beowulf


Santiago Garcia and David Rubin. Image, $29.99 (200p) ISBN 978-1-5343-0120-7

This is a dramatic, visceral reinvention of the familiar tale of King Hrothgar’s violent night visitor, Grendel, and arriving hero, Beowulf. Garcia’s script is fast-paced and spare. Rubin’s illustrations capture the harshness of the warrior’s life, constantly gritty with snow, dirt, and blood. His visual pacing is richly varied, utilizing wide, gloomy cinematic panels and tense, fragmented action sequences. Grendel’s vision as he stalks into the hall is portrayed by a series of x-ray panels that render the sleeping warriors as muscle and veins, waiting to be reduced to meat. Especially effective are the full-page spreads overlaid with scatterings of small framed moments: the crunch of boots on stone, the tightening of a belt, drops of sweat forming on the warrior’s brow. Garcia (The Neighbor) and Rubin (The Rise of Aurora West) have set themselves an epic task, but they live up to it with a vibrant, visually stunning adaptation that shows why this story has stayed alive for over 1,000 years. (Jan.)