{A Twist in the Tail} DELPHINE by Richard Sala

Love fairy tales and mythology?
Fans of mermaids, dragons, unicorns, and other mythical creatures?
Enjoy when a beloved classic tale is retold?
A Twist in the Tail Thursdays features all this and more!

In the spirit of Halloween,
who ISN'T into all the creepy novels right now?

I thought I'd celebrate one today by featuring the graphic novel
DELPHINE by Richard Sala:

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

(pg. 13, US hardcover edition)

This is the story of Snow White through the prince's eyes. That hooked me right away! I want to get into his thoughts and feelings as he journeys to his princess. We always see her POV. Even better? This is fantasy set in a contemporary world, not a medieval one.

I wasn't expecting the book to be quite so creepy. I knew it would lean creepy based on the cover alone. I mean, come on now! Just look at the cover! Those trees look like they have fingers, and they're reaching out to grab poor Delphine! And the thorns surrounding the cover? Darkness lies ahead for sure!

If I didn't know it based on the cover, I would once I started reading. The pages aren't in color, but they also aren't in black-and-white. Instead, they're an interesting shade of sepia, which loans a dark mood to the story from the get-go.

Take a look at one of the earliest images in the book:

Creepy, right? This is the color tone used throughout the comic, though it's a little more sepia in person than this image. The "Opening Hook" page I posted earlier has better detail on the coloring in the book. It really sets the mood.

There are, of course, beautiful full-color images at the start of each chapter. Here is how the book "officially" opens (I posted the first page with words as my "hook):

Don't be expecting a perfect, Disney-esque fairy tale, though. As I said, this is creepy.

The "prince" (who is never named...so we'll continue to refer to him as the prince) has many flashbacks to his college sweetheart Delphine. She left school to take care of her ailing father, and he hasn't heard from her since. He decides to track her down and find her, but he doesn't expect to wind up on a horrifying journey. There are witches, creepy hermits, zombie-ish dwarves, and more. When he finally finds Delphine, the result is horrifying.

As readers, much is left up to interpretation. How much of the prince's story is real? The flashbacks go in a few different directions. Is Delphine his one true love? Was she playing him? (After all, what kind of girl leaves and never even calls?) Is what he sees on the internet real, or a symptom of brain-washing? There are so many "ifs," and it's up to the reader to interpret the story. I interpreted everything in a morbid way that gave the ending a dark twist.

This is not your typical fairy tale retelling. It's dark and sad. Delphine is not an innocent maiden, but a girl who has been around the block before, which is what sets off her overly-religious stepmother in the first place. She's cynical and jaded; this is one girl who wouldn't have bunnies and birds following her around. The prince is head-over-heels in love with Delphine and will do anything to find her, but he never realizes the horror he is taking onto his shoulders. It's easy to admire all that he goes through, though sometimes you wonder just how bright he is if some of the hallucinations are "real."

While the art style wasn't always my favorite when looking at characters in profile (I kept staring at pointy noses, lol!), the sharp edges definitely gave everything a more twisted tone. I really loved the sepia coloring, which is so different from traditional comic book coloring.

DELPHINE was definitely an interesting, unusual read, and perfect for Halloween!

I'll leave you with my favorite image from the entire book, which is creepy, yet beautiful and hard to look away from:

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

What a creepy cover! Those trees look like they have fingers, and they're reaching out to grab poor Delphine! And the thorns surrounding the cover? Darkness lies ahead for sure!

I may not have looked twice at DELPHINE if I hadn't heard it was a new version of Snow White from the Prince's POV.

When I do look at it, I actually think of Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty more than I do Snow White, though it's depicting an important scene from the tale!

This is a great way to lure in comic book fans who may not even read fairy tales. There's something for everyone here!
O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Richard Sala
Release Date: Jan. 18, 2013
Publisher: Fantagraphics
Received: Borrowed

A mysterious traveler gets off the train in a small village surrounded by a thick, sinister forest. He is searching for Delphine, who vanished with only a scrawled-out address on a scrap of paper as a trace. In his newest chiller, Richard Sala takes the tale of Snow White and stands it on its head, retelling it from Prince Charming's perspective (the unnamed traveler) in a contemporary setting. This twisted tale includes all the elements of terror from the original fairy tale, with none of the insipid saccharine coating of the Disney animated adaptation. Yes, there will be blood. 

Originally serialized as part of the acclaimed international series, Delphine is executed in a rich and ominous duotone that shows off Sala's virtuosity just as much as last year's full-color post-apocalyptic horror fantasy THE HIDDEN did; punctuated with stunning full-color chapter breaks.


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