Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Recent Release: Delphine by Richard Sala

Delphine by Richard Sala was released in January. I learned about it a month later and am just now finally sharing it. Where is 2013 speeding off to?

Anyway, the graphic novel started off as a serial but is now collected into one convenient tome. That's always nice, isn't it? And this one is especially nice if you like some horror with your fairy tales.

Book description:

Richard Sala’s graphic novel retelling of Snow White recasts the fairy tale as a chiller from the Prince’s perspective.

A mysterious traveler gets off the train in a small village surrounded by a thick, sinister forest. He is searching for Delphine, who vanished with only a scrawled-out address on a scrap of paper as a trace. In his newest chiller, Richard Sala takes the tale of Snow White and stands it on its head, retelling it from Prince Charming’s perspective (the unnamed traveler) in a contemporary setting. This twisted tale includes all the elements of terror from the original fairy tale, with none of the insipid saccharine coating of the Disney animated adaptation. Yes, there will be blood. Originally serialized as part of the acclaimed international “Ignatz” series, Delphine is executed in a rich and ominous duotone that shows off Sala’s virtuosity just as much as last year’s full-color post-apocalyptic horror fantasy The Hidden did — punctuated with stunning full-color chapter breaks.


Richard Sala: Well, like a lot of people on the planet, I've experienced the emotional highs and lows of being in love. You know -- the fascination, the desire, the heartache. You can't sleep or eat, you're filled with constant yearning -- it can feel like a sickness or mania. And of course you question whether or not the other person feels the same way. Are they in love with you or are they just tolerating you? Are you the person of their dreams or actually a deluded pest? Those mixed-up feelings -- especially when you're young -- are horrible. So, I figured, why not write a romance as a horror story? That was the impetus to set the story in motion.

It contains has many elements of classic fairy tales, especially Snow White.

Yes. It's told from the point of view of what would be -- in a fairy tale -- the Prince Charming character -- the guy who is on his way to be reunited with the heroine. As he attempts to get to her, there are all kinds of obstacles. And if he's clever -- people in fairy tales always have to be clever -- he'll overcome them, and if he's not, then he won't.

It's odd, but when you first started on this book, there weren't multiple Snow White movies or fairy tale TV shows.

Yeah, "Delphine" was originally serialized in four issues published jointly by Fantagraphics Books and Coconino Press -- in Europe -- beginning in 2006. Since then, there have been two Snow White-inspired movies which have already come and gone. I mean, there's certainly nothing new about doing a modern take on a fairy tale, but it is true that when the earliest issues of "Delphine" came out, a movie producer -- who was working on "Shutter Island" at the time -- was interested and we had many talks. He sent the first two issues to a couple of different screenwriters to get their take on it. So it was circulating. But, I think when it eventually dawned on him that -- due to the publishers' schedule -- this wasn't a monthly series, but a yearly one, he decided to move on. After all, Snow White is public domain anyway, and that's what he liked about it -- a "modern re-imagining" of Snow White. Now, I have no idea if it's connected at all (in fact, I'm probably flattering myself to even consider it), but before I could finish the last issue, suddenly there were two Snow White movies in development. Anyway, now my book version is coming out, just when that whole angle maybe seems tired and played out. Luckily, "Delphine" is still vastly different from those other projects, even with the fairy tale elements. I guess that's a testament to the versatility of those old stories.

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