AUTHOR: NEIL GAIMAN | ARTIST: COLLEEN DORAN | PUBLISHER: HEADLINE | FORMAT: HARDCOVER | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Neil Gaiman’s dark retelling of Snow White is about as far from Disney as you can get, and this sumptuous, adults-only comic book adaptation brings the acclaimed writer’s short story to vivid life.
In a reversal of the typical story, Snow, Glass, Apples tells of a brave and heroic young queen whose monstrous step-daughter - a vampiric creature with blood-red lips and pale snow-white skin, dwells in the forest and feasts on the townsfolk.
Despite coming from a writer who’s known for his all-ages work on the likes of Doctor Who and Coraline, Snow, Glass, Apples is most certainly not for children. A horror fantasy that’s heavy on the eroticism, Gaiman gleefully twists the familiar staples of the story until they’re as disturbing as can be. It’s the gorgeous prose and sympathetic portrayal of the queen that stops it from becoming too lurid.
But that’s enough about the writing. This adaptation comes from Colleen Doran, who’s translated Gaiman’s fiction into pure art. With a distinct style that mixes classical and modern influences, Doran eschews typical comics frameworks - including strict panel structure and borders - and creates imagery and visuals that’ll linger in your mind’s eye long after you close the book.
It’s a brief graphic novel, so you could rifle through it in half an hour or so. But you’d be better served in taking your time over each page, savouring the exquisite detail on every spread. Doran speaks in the bonus material - including early artwork and concept pieces - of how she redrew much of the comic several times. That dedication and effort are evident throughout.
Snow, Glass, Apples is a combination of a superb script, with Gaiman at his evocative, inventive best, and masterful artwork from Doran. The duo have previously collaborated for an adaptation of Gaiman’s short story Troll Bridge, also from Dark Horse. Let’s hope there are more of the kind on the way.