snow-white
Phelan, Matt. Snow White. 2016.

Wrapping up the last of my fairy tale themed graphic novels, this re-adaptation of the Snow White tale left me feeling disappointed. While it follows the Disney-esque story faithfully, it’s film noir vibe wasn’t enough to elevate it for me.

The quickly read story starts out in 1918 as Samantha (Snow) White and her father sadly witness the mother dying. Fast forward 10 years, and the father is suddenly an old man who becomes enchanted with the Queen of the Follies, a glamorous Broadway star. They marry, and Snow is sent away to boarding school for a few years. Snow’s father, the King of Wall Street survives and thrives during the Great Depression, but dies after being poisoned by his new wife.

Snow, now a beautiful young woman,  returns for the funeral and during the reading of the will it is discovered Snow was left most of the estate. Furious, the stepmother hires someone to kill Snow, but she escapes to hide in the snowy streets of NYC. In a shantytown (Hooverville) she befriends seven street urchins who have more savvy in keeping safe and she stays with them.

Snow’s stepmother discovers that Snow is still alive and disguises herself as an old woman so she can give Snow a poisoned apple. The boys discover Snow after she has taken a bite and some give chase to the Queen, in which she meets an untimely demise. The boys reunite to take care of Snow and take her to be displayed in the shop windows of Manhattan, representing the glass coffin. A detective thinking she is dead, kisses her (which is disturbing in modern retellings of this tale) and she awakens. There is a happy ending for all at the end.

The illustrations are sketchy and dark hued, with a bit of red used sparingly to signify blood and apples. I was reminded of the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, with the black and white illustrations, and I thought the look was reminiscent of stylized silent pictures.  The artwork is lovely, and that color is used in the last few pages to signify happiness, is effective.

Although all the pieces of the story and artwork are well done, it just didn’t fit together well in my mind, perhaps due to the very little dialogue. But I realize others might really enjoy the atmospheric retelling, so I would still recommend it to others who enjoy Snow White tales.

-Nancy

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