NBM's fall list includes a stellar line of European releases, most notably the publication of the final instalment of Lewis Trondheim's multi-authored, epic series, Dungeon, and Beauty, which sees Hubert and Kerascoët (pen name of artistic team Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset) collaborate once more after 2009's highly acclaimed Miss Don't Touch Me.
Published in 3 separate volumes in its original French, and collected here in one 140-page, full-colour, hardback tome, Beauty is another deceptively fairy-tale veneered narrative on the nature of beauty in the vein of Kerascoët's and Fabien Vehlmann's Beautiful Darkness. Published in March in English by Drawn and Quarterly, it's widely considered to be one of the books of the year.
Beauty centers on another kind of fairy tale heroine. Shunned by people as ugly and repulsive, when Coddie unintentionally frees a fairy from a spell that was holding her prisoner, and is offered a wish in return, she seizes the opportunity to reverse her fortunes. But the wish is more powerful and intricate than Coddie realises; her new-found beauty and magnetism force her to leave her village. On the outside, she is saved by a young lord. However, as Coddie begins to learn, beauty is a double-edged sword, as corrupting as it is fascinating, and her destiny, it seems, may lie somewhere else altogether.
Beautifully illustrated with Kerascoët's magical, dreamy, richly coloured art, Beauty is set to be one of 2014's comic highlights.