The Story...

   John Batten, 1915

   During the reign of Louis XIV, it was the vogue for educated noblewomen, and some men, to gather and spin fairy tales together. The conte de fées told in these salons laid the foundation of the literary fairy tale, a very different creature than the earlier folk narratives from which they sprang.  

   The story of Beauty and The Beast first appeared under this name in 1740, and was written by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot Gallon de Villeneuve, a French noblewoman. Villeneuve based her lengthy narrative on a number of other fairy tales and myths, reaching all the way back ancient Greece, and likely much earlier.

   The version most people are familiar with today is actually based on a much shorter retelling, published by governess Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont, in Le Magasin des Enfants in 1757. Beaumont was one of the first authors to aim her fairy tales at children.

   Beauty and The Beast has enjoyed great popularity throughout its life, consistantly ranking among the most well known fairy tales. It has been adapted to film, most notably by Jean Cocteau, in 1946, and by the Walt Disney Company in 1991. Numerous stage adaptations, including ballet and opera, have been born, and many authors have drawn on its themes, both explicitly (Robin McKinley's Beauty) and implicilty (Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre).

   The power of the tale comes from its evolving meaning. what was born as a story discussing arranged marriage has mutated and grown with each retelling, finding relevance in many social climates. It continues ot change and rearrange itself today. Just as the women of Louis XIV's court spoke of their own lives through fairy tales, this comic is one woman's exploration of what Beauty and The Beast means to her.

 

The Storyteller...

   Once upon a time there was a girl who was born into the strangest family. Her father came from a line of sailors and historians. Her mother was the youngest child of a great matriarchy, all teachers and farmers and craftswomen. The family moved a great deal, and so the girl was a perpetual newcomer. She learned to hide from the trials of the world inside of books, which she could take with her where ever she went… 

   Raised with a healthy love of books and storytelling, and an unhealthy love of comics and cartoons, Megan's twin passions led her to earn her BA in visual arts, with an English minor, from the University of Windsor (during which time she also self-published her first comic) and then to  Sheridan College, where she earned her BAA Honours in Animation, and produced her fairy-tale inspired short film, Once Upon a Winter Wood.

   Megan has been fascinated with the story of Beauty and The Beast since she was a teenager, living in at the edge of the forest in a small town, surrounded by rosebushes. She currently resides in the equally enchanting Toronto, with her husband and at least one rabbit.

 

Megan can be contacted via e-mail at

batbcomic@gmail.com

or by old-fashioned mail at

Beauty and The Beast
c/o Comic Book Embassy
392 Spadina AvenueSecond Floor
Toronto, ON
M5T 2G5
 

FAQ

Ask away, my beauties! Submit your questions and feedback to batbcomic@gmail.com or via tumblr

 

How often do you update?

Beauty and The Beast updates twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays. The tumblr updates every day.

Have you studied animation?

Yes! In fact, I have a Bachelor of Applied Arts with Honours in Animation, from Sheridan College. Despite this, I consider myself primarily a storyteller, not an animator, as I lack the elegance to really excel in it.

 

What is your process in creating your comic?

 

BATB is a big leap for me, as my first truly long-form work. I start from my script and rough out thumbnails in chunks of about 12 pages at a time. When I'm happy with my thumbnails, I draw a rough full size version in blue using an 11x25 photoshop canvas, making sure to leave space for the dialogue.  I focus on the characters and the posing at this stage and don't get too tight. Afterwards I go in and resolve the sets, then create a new layer and digitally  "ink" everything in black. The heavy shadows are the last part I do…. Sometimes its hard to watch the background vanish under all the shadow! 

 

What's your favourite version of BATB?

 

There are a few out there that I really love! My favourite book versions are absolutely McKinley's novels "Beauty" and "Rose Daughter". Both have wonderfully full characters and I love the tone of them. I can only dream of capturing some of what they do!  My favourite film version is "Panna A Netvor" (The Virgin and The Monster), a 1978 horror-themed Czech film by Juraj Herz. It has some amazing characterization and costuming.

 

What other fairy tales do you like?

 

As a kid, I liked "East of The Sun, West of The Moon", because it seemed much more detailed and drawn out than most fairy tales I knew. I loved the image of a girl on a Polar Bear's back, crossing the tundra under the northern lights. I also find salon tales like "The Subtle Princess" hilarious for their bluntness.

 

The Beast doesnt look very scary. Is he a lion?

 

While I was workshopping this comic, I got a lot of critcism for The Beast's design looking too "soft". I did make a number of changes based on that feedback, but ultimately I felt that a "soft" design that I could reproduce and that could carry the emotions needed to tell the story was better than one that was more initially jarring but couldn't do the acting longterm. He's mostly a mashup of lion and, oddly enough, Irish Setter. Dogs are very emotive, so I thought that would help make him read (and our studio labradoodle, Jai, is always happy to give me some soulful eyes!). Besides, there's no competing with what Disney did, so it's a lost cause from the start!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bibliography

 

Books

 

Apuleius, and Robert Graves. The Transformations of Lucius: Otherwise Known as The Golden Ass. New York: Farra, Straus & Giroux, 1951. Print

 

Bettelheim, Bruno. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. New York: Knopf, 1976. Print.

 

Clark, Kenneth. Animals and Men: Their Relationship as Reflected in Western Art from Prehistory to the Present Day. New York: W. Morrow, 1977. Print.

 

Charter, Angela. The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories. Harmondsworth [u.a.: Penguin, 1986. Print.

 

Cummins, John G. The Hound and the Hawk: The Art of Medieval Hunting. New York: St. Martin's, 1988. Print.

 

Duby, Georges. Love and Marriage in the Middle Ages. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1994. Print.

 

Griswold, Jerome. The Meanings of "Beauty and the Beast": A Handbook. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 2004. Print.

 

Hearne, Betsy Gould., and Larry DeVries. Beauty and the Beast: Visions and Revisions of an Old Tale. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1989. Print.

 

Hearne, Betsy Gould., and Joanne Caroselli. Beauties and Beasts. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx, 1993. Print.

 

 

Lang, Andrew, H. J. Ford, and Hood G. P. Jacomb. The Blue Fairy Book. New York: Dover Publications, 1965. Print.
 

Manchester, William. A World Lit Only by Fire: The Medieval Mind and the Renaissance : Portrait of an Age. Boston: Little, Brown, 1992. Print.

 

Opie, Iona Archibald., and Peter Opie. The Classic Fairy Tales. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1992. Print.

 

Ovidius, and Mary M. Innes. The Metamorphoses of Ovid. Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin, 1985. Print.

 

Schiesari, Juliana. Beasts and Beauties: Animals, Gender, and Domestication in the Italian Renaissance. Toronto: University of Toronto, 2010. Print. 

 

Solomon, Charles. Tale as Old as Time: The Art and Making of Beauty and the Beast. New York: Disney Editions, 2010. Print.

 

Warner, Marina. From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers. London: Chatto & Windus, 1994. Print.

 

Zipes, Jack David. Beauty and the Beast and Other Classic French Fairy Tales. New York, NY: NAL books, 1989. Print.

 

Film

 

La Belle et La Bete. Dir. Jean Cocteau. Perf. Jean Marais and Josette Day. Criterion, 1946. DVD.

 

Beauty and the Beast. Dir. Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise. By Linda Woolverton, Paige O'Hara, and Robby Benson. Walt Disney, Buena Vista Pictures Distribution, Inc., 1991. DVD.

 

Panna a Netvor. Dir. Juraj Herz.  Filmove Studio Barrandov, 1979. DVD.

 

Beauty and the Beast. Dir. Edward L. Cahn. Perf. Joyce Taylor and Mark Damon. Universal, 1962. DVD.

 

Beauty and the Beast. Dir. Eugene Marner. Perf. John Savage and Rebecca De Mornay. Cannon Video, 1987. Video.

 

Beauty and the Beast. Dir. Masakazu Higuchi and Chinami Namba. Golden Films, 1993. Video.

 

Faerie Tale Theatre Presents Beauty and the Beast. Dir. Shelley Duvall Perf. Klaus Kinski and Susan Sarandon. 1984. Video.

 

Hallmark Hall of Fame's Beauty and the Beast. Dir.. Perf. George C. Scott. Hallmark, 1976. Video.

 

Web

 

Sur La Lune Fairy Tales

Endicott Studios

 

Articles

 

Babineau, Lauren. ""He Was So Different From Herself": Transformations in the "Beauty and the Beast" Tales." Diss. Sweet Briar College, 2012. Online.

 

Griffin, Jasmeen. "Beauty and The Beast Fairytales as Narrative Othering" Diss. Athabasca University, 2009. Online.

 

Rondeboom, Viola "American Beasts: The Cinematic Revision of Beauty and The Beast in The Elephant Man and Edward Scissorhands" Diss. Utruecht University, 2006. Online.

 

Warner, Marina, "Go! Be a Beast: Beauty and The Beast." Folk and Fairy Tales. Ed. Martin Hallet  and Barbara Karasek.. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview, 2002. 415-27. Print.