The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog is a stand-alone, middle-grade, fantasy graphic novel that tells an illustrated tale based off of Hans Christian Andersen’s short story of a young mermaid who’s passionate about living in the world above the ocean, and on land. I was a little sceptical going into the novel because most illustrated renditions of the classic take liberties that end up destroying the overall appeal that stems from the original. But I’m extremely happy to say that this particular version completely blew me out of the water (pardon the pun).
The initial reaction upon opening up to the first page of The Little Mermaid was astonishment. I could physically feel my eyes getting big and excited simply by looking at the artwork. It is breathtakingly stunning. The illustrations look as if they are inspired by Polynesian influences as the colours are vibrant and exuberant with textured environments that truly envelope you in an engrossing atmosphere. For example, there are scenes that depict the oceans waves, or mist within the oceans’ waters (small groups of bubbles) that appear to be created using chalk. This effect makes me feel like I can reach out and touch the bubbles or mist. It’s quite fascinating.
It’s written in a very simplistic manner, and presented with a soft and fluid pace. The dialogue is kept to a minimum, while the artwork perfectly complements, and enhances, the narrative. The overall affect is very well-rounded and captivating.
The original story that was created by Hans Christian Andersen is one of my favourites for precisely the reasons that it’s not favoured by many others: it’s bittersweet and sad. Not all fairy tales have happy endings, which creates a more realistic sense of storytelling (in my personal opinion), yet a lot of re-tellings of fairy tales have altered finales to fit that “happily ever after” cliché. This comic, whom I’m happy to say, is enchantingly true to its predecessor. The finale for this is poignant. While it can leave you feeling a bit hollow (and unsatisfied if you’re unfamiliar with the true ending), I still found it rather perfect, and very meaningful.
In conclusion, I absolutely loved The Little Mermaid by Metaphrog. It sucked me in and wrapped my mind into a world of amazing colour, subtle storytelling with profound messages, and an overall fantastic reading experience. I highly recommend this to all fans of the comic medium, as well as to fans of fairy tales who don’t mind a little dose of sorrow with their magic.
Before I finish my review, I wanted to provide some brief background information on the artists that created the comic. Metaphrog are a Franco-Scottish duo consisting of Sandra Marrs and John Chalmers. They are both award-winning graphic novelists. Some of the nominations they have received include three nominations for the Eisner Awards, which is essentially the Academy Awards for the comic genre. Their most popular creation is The Red Shoes and Other Tales.
I read about their accomplishments after finishing the graphic novel as I became quite intrigued by the work and wanted to learn more about the masterminds behind it! Not recognizing the name off-hand, I forced myself to wait until after reading the title to find out who they were because I didn’t want it to affect my natural and original opinions of The Little Mermaid in any shape or form! Feeling rather pleased with their work, especially after learning of their accomplishments, I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of their work in the future!
5 fishtails outta 5!
**The Little Mermaid releases on 04-April-2017.**