Everyone knows the fairy tale of Snow White from the famous Walt Disney animated film of 1937. That artistic endeavour is still the go-to for parents introducing the story and characters to their children.
Fewer of us know the original, somewhat darker version, written down by the Brothers Grimm and first published in 1812.
But Snow, Glass, Apples, released today as a hardcover graphic novel from publisher, Dark Horse Comics, tells us of an entirely different version of the world-famous story. And this account is from a blacker and entirely adult perspective.
Enticed? I know you are, so bite into this juicy apple already!
Originally conceived as a short story, author Neil Gaiman (Sandman, Good Omens, American Gods, The Graveyard Book), first had Snow, Glass, Apples published in 1994. You can find it in his collection, Smoke and Mirrors. Perhaps it’s on your bookshelf right now.
Snow, Glass, Apples tells the story of Snow White from the perspective of her stepmother, who, in the original version of the story, is the evil, vain, Queen. You remember: the one with the talking mirror and the poisonous red apple?
Here, that evil crone is the hero of the story, attempting to save the kingdom from her monstrous stepdaughter, who “killed her mother in birthing” and whose “eyes were as black as coal…lips redder than blood…(and had) sharp, yellow teeth.”
It’s a dark fantasy, as one might expect from the works of Gaiman. But it’s one full of love and sex and monstrous vampirism. And it’s completely exhilarating.
Fan and critical favourite artist, the Eisner and Harvey Award winner, Colleen Doran (A Distant Soil, Troll Bridge, Orbiter, Sandman), lends her mighty storytelling skills to the Snow, Glass, Apples graphic novel, both in the written adaptation of the source material (no small feat, it must be said), and as the book’s artist.
Here, Doran is at her lovely whimsical and brilliantly horrific best. She brings a myriad of authorial and artistic sensibilities to the page that are a testament to, first, her love and respect of Gaiman’s original words and ideas, and, secondly, her powers of creative design, line work and shape.
Snow, Glass, Apples stands apart from anything else you’ll see or read on a bookstore or comic book store shelf. Doran’s drawn images and colour choices evoke the beautiful absolutes of both loving passion and monstrous dread. Her page layouts are reminiscent of late nineteenth century German illustrators, Alexander Zick and Franz Juttner, both of whom created illustrations of the original Grimm story. But if you know Doran’s oeuvre of work, this graphic novel is still visually her entire own – it’s wonderful.
At 64-pages in length, Snow, Glass, Apples is fantasy feast for your senses – a compelling re-telling of the cherished Snow White fairy tale that is wholly original in that telling.
But remember: this story is most certainly for mature readers!
Make the run to your local comic book shop today and bite in to the wonderful fruit that is the Snow, Glass, Apples hardcover graphic novel!
You can catch a short preview of Snow, Glass, Apples, right here.