cover image Beautiful Darkness

Beautiful Darkness

Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët. Drawn & Quarterly, $22.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-77046-129-1

A whimsical tea-party in bright pastels turns bitter in the first pages of this macabre graphic novel for grownups. Pretty, cheery faerie Aurora and her band of tiny companions crawl out of a young girl’s corpse in the woods and quickly find themselves in a strange new world, starving as well as besieged and brutalized by insects, birds, and mice. Some of her companions are clueless, others are cruel, and their arboreal paradise quickly becomes a Lord of the Flies–style horror. Kerascoët’s lush illustrations of the tiny little fantasy people are highlighted against realistic natural scenes of the wood’s rich flora and fauna. This blend of imaginative characters in the physical world inspires gasps and shudders when nature overcomes them: the little people are savaged and preyed on not only by the animals but also by each other. A midbook full-page illustration of nature engulfing the long-dead girl in the woods is both heartbreaking and shocking. Aurora’s attempts to manage this society of self-obsessed little persons drive her into a brutal, feral state—her horrific retaliation against nature pushes her away from her fellow faeries, even when they invade her new safe place. This unforgettable graphic novel hovers on the edge of your daydreams and nightmares. (Oct.)