I had another graphic novel that I had been looking forward to reading and finally got a chance to give it a read. This is a graphic novel by the independent publisher Dynamite Entertainment entitled “Heart of the Beast” and was written by Dean Motter and Judith Dupre and illustrated by Sean Phillips. This is the 20th anniversary edition of this graphic novel.
“Heart of the Beast” is the tale of Sandra. She is a bartender and aspiring artist. Her struggles with getting by on her night job and the occasional small acting part has her somewhat frustrated but she is still hoping for her big break. Her life changes when she meets Victor at an art show. Victor is a mysterious and refined man that works for a renowned plastic surgeon. Sandra is instantly taken with Victor and the two begin a whirlwind romance that has the promise of more although Sandra becomes increasingly frustrated with Victor’s need to drop everything, including her, at his employer’s whim as well as his shying away from intimacy. When she decides to find out what lay behind these mysteries, she finds something much darker than she could ever have expected.
As with all graphic novels, I will start with the artwork and I will admit that the art in this book was not my favorite. I do recognize that there was a lot of work put into the artwork in this book as the illustration is all painted along with a mix of some real photography and that it does suit the story well. I am just more of a fan of traditional illustration in a graphic novel so I did not enjoy the artwork as much as other will. It did flow well with the story and was not a distraction from the story so I would rate the art as sufficient if not spectacular but, again, this is more of personal preference rather than a problem with the art.
As for the story, I thought that the story was well written and compelling. The novel does start a little slow and I was wondering what direction it was going to take but that all soon became clear and I slid right into the narrative. The story draws heavily on the Frankenstein story, which is one of my favorite novels, so it grabbed my interest in its unique take on the story. The mixture of narrative as well as journal entries and letters spoke to the original novel and I thought that was a very effective way in which to tell this tale. While I would not call the story terrifying, there are a lot of different horror tropes at play in the story and it was reminiscent of horror at the time that the original “Frankenstein” novel was written by Mary Shelley. This was one of the better graphic novel stories that I have read in a while and I am happy to see that it is being brought back in this printing for a new generation of fans to discover.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Dynamite Entertainment for this advance review copy. “Heart of the Beast” is scheduled to be released in August.