[written 22 May 2014, for folks who find this at a later date]
Webcomics Roulette! Today’s target (chosen at random from a very long list) is…
Megan Kearney’s Beauty and The Beast
Writer & Artist: (not surprisingly) Megan Kearney
From the Site: [about page: http://www.batb.thecomicseries.com/about/]
“The story of Beauty and The Beast first appeared under this name in 1740, and was written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot Gallon de Villeneuve, a French noblewoman. Villeneuve based her lengthy narrative on a number of other fairy tales and myths, reaching all the way back ancient Greece, and likely much earlier.” + lots more on the site
About the Author:
“Raised with a healthy love of books and storytelling, and an unhealthy love of comics and cartoons, Megan’s twin passions led her to earn her BA in visual arts, with an English minor, from the University of Windsor (during which time she also self-published her first comic) and then to Sheridan College, where she earned her BAA Honours in Animation, and produced her fairy-tale inspired short film, Once Upon a Winter Wood.” + more on the site
Tags: New Classic, old classics, not-so-Grimm
Format: multi-panel full page comic, “graphic novel style”, black & white
Vintage: first comic dated 1 September 2012
Current? – Yes. Most recent comic was 20 May.
Update Frequency: Tuesdays and Fridays
RSS Feed? – Yes. There’s also a Tumblr.
Archives: looks like …223 pages
Monetized? – Free-to-you, and ad-free as well, but yes – supported by a web store and Patreon
“Where Do I Start?” – For a fairy tale, there’s no better place than the beginning: Once Upon A Time…
It looks like (from what we’ve seen so far) that Kearney is going for a classic Shakespearean Five Act Play — but the breakdown of ‘Acts’ into scenes (or chapters) and how ‘scenes’ play out in comic pages still leaves a lot of flexibility on how the story unfolds. (plus, you know, it’s not done yet – so I may be reading into things.)
The sisters are named Beauty, Virtue, and Temperance — which means we’re already well outside the city limits of Disneyland, as well as providing (in context! show don’t tell!) a damn good reason why our heroine is named ‘Beauty’ to begin with.
Already we can see that this story is going to unfold much differently, even for those of us familiar with both dizneyfied fairytalez and the acting prowess of Ron Perlman. The Grimm scholars among us will already be lost, because Beauty v. Beast is a tale *outside* the ‘canon’, never collected by Los Dos Bros Grimm.
Characters are already questioning the coming narrative. The setting — to start, a single home in the unnamed woods — is made real by the common details and trivial actions of everyday life. The plain bricks of the hearth and the plain boards of the common table speak volumes about what this story is, and where it came from.
And character interaction, and motivation, is more important than the plot we are all overly-familiar with.
So, to give this webcomic a thumbs-up or thumbs-down is immaterial: Here’s a damn fine version of a once-familiar story, and after reading the first chapter you’ll either be captivated, or not. I myself am holding my breath that this adaptation is not only concluded, but that eventually we’ll be able to own a book version of it.
Nuts&Bolts: nav buttons, an archive, the basics — runs on ComicFury
Bells&Whistles: strip-by-strip comment system, + there’s a sparsely-populated forum (it’s a nice add-on, tho)
What’s that URL again? – www.batb.thecomicseries.com
* I won’t upload art, images, or screencaps unless I see explicit permission given (Creative Commons or similar) so you’ll have to make do with links for many of the quick webcomic reviews – but I trust you remember what the mouse button is for. —M.