Beautiful Darkness graphic novel was originally published in French and was first published in 2009 (Drawn & Quarterly Press). The story revolves around tiny girl Aurora, accidentally realizing she gradually acts as a leader for the community of tiny people after a big event. However, what seemed like a new fairy tale gradually turned into a sick story …
The name Beautiful Darkness is a reflection of what unfolds in the more than 90 pages of this graphic novel: a beautifully portrayed horror. This can also be seen as the test of the writer’s opposing factors including Fabien Vehlmann and Marie Pommepuy about the survival race under the guise of innocence, in each watercolor frame of the couple illustrations Kerascoët (including story writers Marie Pommepuy and husband is Sébastien Cosset).
*CONSIDER: The article has revealed a few details about the main character and plot with the desire to give a full review and help readers approach the graphic novel easier to understand.
The key characters in the book include:
- Aurora: Narrator / main character
- Plim: Aurora’s best friend, appearing from the early scenes
- Hector: Aurora’s lover
- Zelie: A girl saved by Aurora but is actually a manipulator and cold-blooded
- Jane: A mysterious character who Aurora admires
- Timothy: Aurora’s shy, one-eyed friend
- Rat: The mouse is both a friend of Aurora and someone who later gets helped by Aurora himself, causing a bloody death
- giant: man who lives alone in a bungalow (the house Aurora later chooses to stay in)
Beautiful Darkness poses a challenge that is both strange and interesting: How can the reader still feel the creepy atmosphere but still do not lose the dreamy, fairy-tale drawing of the French illustration couple Kerascoët? How to bring the reader into the overlap of a small world that cannot be seen by the human eye, while evoking the complexity and diversity of the social reality we have always known?
The special thing about this work is the contrast from the title, the personality revealed in front of the characters Aurora and behind her, words that contradict their actions to the illustration and plot. Though much of the plot revolves around Aurora, small segments of the story also make room for supporting characters such as sharp and neat slices, partially revealing the quirky and horrifying contrast between the character’s amiable interactions and the difficult situation. fabricate. The characters in the tiny world are stylized, with lovely soft lines and subtle 2D animation, at the same time, some mysterious characters are meticulously realistically: children wild animals, giant – The giant man and the corpse of the unnamed girl in the forest (in fact, the first ‘home’ of Aurora and tiny community). This contrasting depiction further reveals the world both as one and separate from humans and small creatures, between nature and tiny characters.
The details keep coming and going like the reel: In the first scene – when Aurora was swept out of the ‘house’ by the sticky things surrounding the room, until she helped the people around in search of food and shelter, lost her lover Hector and find him again, but his lover becomes indifferent and changed. The rhythm of the story is almost rushing and decisive through the pages to immerse the reader in alternating situations, and if not attentive, fast enough for the reader to drop important details. The sudden increase of the minor characters also makes the story suddenly become chaotic and confuse the reader. Until the capture climax is revealed: Plim – Aurora’s friend becomes a swagger and a traitor, Hector – The lover is really just a superficial and Zelie – who seemed to take everything away from Aurora, the new story’s rhythm slowly slowed down.
The deaths of a few characters are only revealed in a few frames and leave a ‘gap’ that viewers have to associate with themselves. Some details are not explained but an entire work is just a linear story about everything that happens to Aurora. The visual contrasts and the expression in Beautiful Darkness, in fact, not only increases the drama of the story line, but also causes curiosity to the reader. Between story and Figure in this work, not really Figure has helped to clarify the part story that makes the story more and more buzzing about the reader and keep talking about the meanings around it. Those who love the work, therefore, think more and more thoughtfully about it, but if anyone is confused, then from there, it is easier to become uncomfortable with this work.
Whatever it is and in what sense it can be interpreted, Beautiful Darkness still have not satisfied viewers with the full answers.
Aurora in this story, to be the victim of a cruel adult world, a fool in a society full of intrigue and chaos, or is it just the way humanization for the parable of mankind’s vital experiences to fight the destruction that will come?
When we put together the whole story, there are still many big question marks to which we cannot find an answer. The shy, unnamed character is still hiding in the body of the dead girl, why not interact with other characters until the end? Why is it that a dead girl – in the dream of the unknown – wakes up in the autumn scene and is not revealed for the reason of her death? Even the tiny characters who lived inside until they came out of the body they made ‘home’, no one came to the corpse as an object that had ever had life or asked any questions. about their lost ‘house’ (the mess collapsed and surrounded it Aurora and the tiny characters that make them come out, actually human blood).
But at the same time, the residue left behind after the folding of this work is therefore deeper. After each turn, the horror between the characters killing each other or the creepy truth behind the innocent-like brushwork adds to the subtle loneliness (like of Aurora and Timothy), or tragedies that almost blur the line between reality and dream (like the death of a girl in the woods and dreams of her waking up in mid autumn).
Even the padded laughter – whether it be ridicule or naive – shows that the humor is never lost in every page of the story. It seems to both lighten the gloom in the air that envelops the story, suppress the dreadful dread and devour the viewers in bright red blood in the following frames.
Then who is this graphic novel for?
Whether Aurora Is it the heroine of her own story or just a being clinging to life? The ending seems to end for a while, but opens another episode sown by the character’s own existence.
The work is not for hearts that embrace old fairy tales. There is not a single lesson in Beautiful Darkness for both children. It shows us behind the illusory beauty that life is harsh and we never have all the answers for ourselves; death is both cruel and light-hearted.
Beautiful Darkness is a work that, once read, must be immersed in every detail, viewed many times to see the dexterity and multilayer meanings. The watercolors are well-documented and are also an respect and can inspire those who do (or love) art.
*The photos in the post are scanned for the purpose of reviewing the work only, All rights reserved by Drawn & Quarterly Publishing
Implementation: Le Lin
There are more word references
wikipedia, goodokbad, goodreads