cover image Beauty


Hubert and Kerascöet. NBM, $27.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-56163-894-9

Hubert and Kerascöet, authors of Miss Don’t Touch Me, again explore sexual compulsion and entrapment, but this time, the setting is a fantasy. This fairy tale for adults combines elements of “Cinderella,” “The Frog Prince,” “Rapunzel,” and any number of Greek myths. Coddie, the protagonist, is ugly and smelly. She helps a fairy, who then makes her seen as the “very idea of beauty in woman incarnate.” Of course, this is a curse, as every man Beauty (as she is now known) encounters tries to rape her or kill others to get to her. No one comes out well here. The first love’s loyalty dooms him; the local prince is driven berserk by obsession; the king is made mad by the need to possess her; and Beauty herself is stupid and selfish. Fans of the recent Beautiful Darkness (by the same duo, whose real names are Sébastien Cosset and Marie Pommepuy) will find the style and tone similar, although this much longer piece allows for more depravity and death as Coddie sends kingdoms to war. Newly lovely Coddie and the other characters are wildly expressed, the better to show the futility and despair of their actions. It’s a dark fable with an ominous moral for those who think appearance is everything. (Oct.)