December 5, 2014

Getting Graphic: a review of "Heart of the Beast" by Dean Motter, Judith Dupre, and Sean Phillips

Heart of the Beast: 20th Anniversary Edition
written by Dean Motter and Judith Dupre
artwork by Sean Phillips
Dynamite Entertainment (2014)
112 pages

I never heard about this graphic novel until I received a review copy of this edition celebrating its 20th anniversary. As it stands, with a story revolving around the New York City art scene, I'm inclined to think the book is more visually captivating than anything else.

A torrid love affair between Sandra and Victor. She's a bartender with aspirations of being an actress. He's a bad boy figure, all brooding hunkiness that has her enamored to the point of obsession. But as Victor's secrets worm their way into the open, his true nature is revealed, and given the allusions to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, it ain't pretty.

While stylish and atmospheric to a point of saturation, the story itself felt muted and not terribly interesting. A bit manic, a bit moody, but not very memorable. Perhaps there is a fondness tinged with nostalgia for the era in which this story is depicted, or for when it was originally published. But I came at this story anew and unfazed by any accolades it may have received previously. It's good, hits all the right notes for a standard gothic romance, but the visuals came away having made more impact than the words.

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