Don’t let the cute characters and soft watercolor style fool you. You will not find any sort of adorable, beautiful story in this marvelous graphic novel. It’s far, really far from it. What you’ll find in this book is something horrifying that might haunt you and stir your consciousness. With Beautiful Darkness, comic writer Fabien Vehlmann and artist couple Kerascoët (Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset) successfully portray a disturbing grotesque side of humanity in a dazzling anti-fairy tale graphic novel.
The story in Beautiful Darkness focuses on Aurora, a young girl who finds herself in charge of leading her “strayed” colony of small people (fairies maybe?) to survive in the woods. They used to live in a peaceful world until it suddenly disintegrated and forced them to go out. Knowing the actuality of their old “world” is literally shocking. However, the events that follow are even more gruesome. What Aurora and members of the colony show often seem like innocence and naivety but as things go on, it often lead to something fatal and gruesome, either to themselves or to others.
Digging the beautiful artworks in this graphic novel might be easy. Blending fairy tale and realistic world in watercolor, Kerascoët has successfully created gorgeous illustrations that will capture readers’ eyes. However, to fully understand the story written by Fabien Vehlmann and Marie Pommepuy (and what it means) can be quite a task. It may be hard in fact. However it will most certainly stir readers’ mind, seeing how darkness underlies something beautiful and seemingly innocent. Just like the title says, it’s a Beautiful Darkness.