Comic Review: Snow, Glass, Apples (Dark Horse Comics)

Dark Horse brings us the horror short story, Snow, Glass, Apples. It’s written by Neil Gaiman and adapted and illustrated by Colleen Doran. Snow, Glass, and Apples is a 1994 […]

Dark Horse brings us the horror short story, Snow, Glass, Apples. It’s written by Neil Gaiman and adapted and illustrated by Colleen Doran.

Snow, Glass, and Apples is a 1994 short story written by Gaiman and released as a benefit book for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. It’s also included in Gaiman’s book Smoke and Mirrors. Snow, Glass, and Apples retell the Snow White story from the point of view of the stepmother, who is usually portrayed as being evil. In a fascinating twist, we are sympathetic to the stepmother now and very alarmed at the behaviour of ‘Snow White’. Something’s quite scary about her!

Colleen Doran, from the US, (Sandman, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Legion of Superheroes, etc) talks about being heavily influenced by the graphic style of Irishman Harry Clarke.
Clarke was a stained-glass artist and book illustrator who lived in the early 1900s, quite active in the Irish Arts and Crafts Movement. His highly detailed and beautifully designed pieces are the basis of her drawings throughout Snow, Glass, and Apples. Indeed, Doran devotes several pages to show her rough sketches, layouts, and illustrative approach, in tribute to Clarke’s vision.

Gaiman’s words are succinct and poetic. He can thread a needle with the exact right word, and keep the stitching invisible. Likewise, Doran’s illustrations are achingly gorgeous and sometimes gory, all in service of the story. The colour palette is full-fledged, and panels nicely flow from one to another.

It’s a breathtaking and touching story, filled with romance, horror and a ‘Grimm’ realization of just how bad things can get when you live in a castle… Not for the faint of heart, but highly recommended for lovers of prose, the dark sciences, and good old gothic horror.

Dark Horse Books, Snow, Glass, Apples; $17.99 for 64 pages of content, Rated 14

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!