Bluebeard – A Feminist Fairy Tale


By Metaphrog (Papercutz)
ISBN: 978-1-5458-0412-4 (HB)

The power of fairy tales lies in their ability to reach every generation and impart timeless truths, usually at an age when we’re just starting to grasp how big and wide and scary the world is…

Franco-Scots couple Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers began crafting amazing and beguiling comics in 1995 with their superb series Strange Weather Lately. Garnering much praise and many awards, the Glasgow-based duo continued elevating the status and quality of the medium through their graphic novel series starring Louis and via creative collaborations both within and outside the industry as well as through lectures around the world.

In 2015 they began updating classic fairy tales. Papercutz published The Red Shoes and Other Tales and followed up in 2017 with The Little Mermaid. Now their latest effort takes a jaundiced modern look at one of fiction’s earliest misogynist serial killers in Bluebeard – A Feminist Fairy Tale

Written by Chalmers and painted by Marrs in eerily enchanting, luxuriously vivid hues, the story is told from the point of view of young Eve, in the summer she turns eighteen. A child of a large but poor family, she lives in a bucolic hamlet dominated by a large castle on a high peak. This is the home of wealthy mystery man Bluebeard – a gentleman of frightful repute who engenders many unpleasant stories among the village gossips…

Eve has loved Tom for as long as she’s known him. They played in the dangerous woods and even saved and reared a fallen dove chick together. When her grandmother died, only Tom and older sister Anne could comfort her, even though her parents and brothers did their best…

The village was never really enough to support the population and hunger was common, but nothing like the time when constant rains destroyed both crops and wild foods. That’s when a liveried servant arrived with an invitation. The entire family was to enjoy the benefits of Bluebeard’s castle for a week.

It was glorious, but over far too soon, and while they were enjoying the lavish hospitality father endured a discrete and unwelcome conference with the lord and was given a stark choice. In return for supplies to sustain them all, the Count required the hand in marriage of one of his daughters. Either Eve or Anne, it mattered not to him…

A quirk of chance and the denial of choice ends Eve’s dreams of life with Tom, but she fulfils her familial duty. However, her new husband is everything his reputation portends and her fate seems grim and certain, until she defies his commands and begins to chart her own course…

Charming and chilling by turns, this modern interpretation – available in hardback and digital editions – celebrates the classic tale whilst offering a more assertive competent role for the leading ladies and will delight reads of all ages who need to know that change is possible and control is worth the effort.
© 2020 Metaphrog.