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Beautiful Darkness

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  8,145 ratings  ·  1,488 reviews
Kerascoët’s and Fabien Vehlmann’s unsettling and gorgeous anti-fairy tale is a searing condemnation of our vast capacity for evil writ tiny. Join princess Aurora and her friends as they journey to civilization's heart of darkness in a bleak allegory about surviving the human experience.  The sweet faces and bright leaves of Kerascoët’s delicate watercolors serve to highlig ...more
Hardcover, 94 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Drawn and Quarterly (first published March 6th 2009)
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Whit It was the FIRST THING that came to mind for me. :)
John L I'd be very hesitant to classify this as YA. I likened it to "Lord of the Flies" in my review, as others did. Imagine that adapted as a graphic novel …moreI'd be very hesitant to classify this as YA. I likened it to "Lord of the Flies" in my review, as others did. Imagine that adapted as a graphic novel and you're still don't have a full idea of how dark and disturbing this is. There is a lot of violence, some of it graphic, and the themes are very adult. Some of the images, I suspect, will haunt me for years, if not forever (what happens to the mouse, for example).(less)

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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,145 ratings  ·  1,488 reviews

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Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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this is without a doubt the darkest, sickest, most jaw-droppingly insane graphic novel i have ever read.

which is me paying a compliment

it's a book that explores that old philosophical thought experiment: if a little girl dies in the forest and no one is around to see it, do little fairytale characters crawl out of her head??

and if so, do they then find themselves with no idea where they are or what they are meant to do now and suddenly confronting many dangers from plants

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Εyes-EisΝinΕ, a.k.a. Víðarr Andlát Fenris Liðster
Beautiful Darkness
(Spoilers Ahead.)

Vehlmann and Kerascoet have created a fully-painted, sugar-coated nightmare. It's an anti-fable, reminding us that underneath the beauty, life is pointless, brutal and absurd. Sounds like fun, right? Well, it's my kind of fun. People seem fairly split on the merits of 'Beautiful Darkness', which is to be expected. There's no real moral to this story, no shiny little wisdom you'll want to save or pass on to the kids. In fact, it's probably best you keep your kid
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

Beautiful Darkness begins with Prince Hector and Princess Aurora enjoying a spot of tea when all of a sudden the roof starts dripping all over them . . .

Houston commercial photography

If you’re anything like me you begin to wonder what the hell kind of house are they living in that has a roof that leaks splooshy red shit all over??? You then immediately regret asking that question . . .

Houston commercial photography

What the F*!?!?!?!?!

Houston commercial photography

The synopsis sums things up quite brilliantly.
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of creepy dolls and Grimm's grimmest
Alice in Wonderland meets Lord of the Flies!

I LOVED this horrifically DARK fairy tale where adorable ragamuffins turn on one another in an effort to stay alive (or occasionally, just for the hell of it!)

Never has murder, cannibalism and vengeance been so fetching! Or so gorgeously rendered!




I honestly can't think of anything I've ever read that's been so utterly charming and so wholly disturbing. In case you missed it before - this is DARK. Very, very DARK! (So don't come crying to me if you ha
Oct 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: have-read
I don't get the positive reviews. I thought the graphic novel had awesome ideas - but it was very poorly executed. The novel does NOT have a story, it does NOT explain, it does NOT have an ending & it does NOT satisfy.

I waited months for this (the translation) - and was deeply disappointed... This is only enjoyable if you are easily satisfied by art and some horror 'quirks' that lead to nowhere.

I give this three stars, only because I did see potential and felt the love of the author for his work
Jun 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
It's not often that I personally characterize something as both excellent and nauseating. ...more
✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
Meh and stuff. If there had been an actual story here, I might have slightly enjoyed this graphic novel a little more better. But there wasn't (because no, a succession of supposedly horrific occurrences does not a story make), so I didn't.

P.S. Don't trust my so-called friends' outrageously generous ratings for this book, they all read it very terribly wrong.
Dave Schaafsma
I don't know what people are talking about when they call this an "anti-fairytale". Most fairy tales are dark, and this is in many ways no darker than many… Neil Gaiman, among others in contemporary times, reminds us of the thin line between horror and fantasy. Think the Bros. Grimm if you want grim fairy tales, right? This one, that others tell me takes a page from classical children's tale The Borrowers, looks mostly lighthearted and (as others have noted) Moomin-like cute, shifts quickly to d ...more
Jan Philipzig
I guess this is supposed to be the disturbing and darkly postmodern deconstruction of "happily ever after." The story has its moments (the utterly ruthless behavior of the self-absorbed bully princess), but overall I found it a bit pointless. Does "happily ever after" really still need to be deconstructed? ...more
Sam Quixote
Mar 20, 2015 rated it liked it
From The Brothers Grimm to Disney, fairy tales have been sanitised to appeal to all ages - family-friendly entertainment! - except, as most people know, they had very dark origins. Stories like Beauty and the Beast and Rapunzel featured “grown up” themes even though fairy tales, until the 19th century, were consumed mainly by adults.

Beautiful Darkness is writer Fabien Vehlmann and artist Kerascoet’s subversive take on the well-defined genre as little people living inside a young girl escape whe
¸¸.•*¨*•♫ Mrs. Buttercup •*¨*•♫♪
Well, let's put it like that. Have you ever read Lord of the flies? Imagine it illustrated by a childrens' book illustrator and you have this book. This was unsettling to say the least.


And even though I liked the idea and the artwork very much, I think this book lacks in cohesion, and it disturbed me how everything seemed just thrown there.


Characters appearing out of the blue, disappearing and reappearing without need; different sizes of people (??), many of them drawn with different artstyles
Seth T.
Nov 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
Beautiful Darkness by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët

What can you say about a work you can’t be sure you understood, a communication garbled in translation? Would it be fair to judge such a thing at all? If I see a movie but am mystified as to what happened in it or what it meant, it’s hardly fair for me to say either that it was great or horrible. I might as well talk about how I felt about the latest Takeshi Miyazawa piece despite the fact that my cataracts[1] make actually seeing the work with any clarity impossible. If I don’t understand the t
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
I'm trying to figure out how I feel about Beautiful Darkness. It's like Lord of the Flies with illustrations that disarm you with charm and then blindside you with gruesome.

The story features a cast of characters that make up the imaginary world inside a young girl's mind. Within the first couple pages, the characters are evicted, and are forced into the real world. At first, the naivety with which they explore their new world is cute, but soon their childlike exploration turns dark as the char
Books with Brittany
Very thought provoking.
And dark.
And disturbing.
And unsettling.
monica kim
Aug 06, 2016 rated it liked it
The artwork for this graphic novel is stunning and whimsical, but the story itself is dark and gruesome. Definitely one of the more disturbing stories I've read. However, the message and critique of polite society are clear, and it'll have me contemplating the meaning behind the ending and various scenes for awhile. ...more
Nov 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
mmmkay, this is something else, people.
It's a sweet little story that snaps your head off at the end.
It's a disarmingly charming world that flips into some very dark places.
It's definitely not for kids.

These cute little beings are horrifying to each other. The forest is a brutal place. You can make your home in the most repugnant locations. Just because something is adorable does not mean it is not capable of the worst.

The execution is beautiful - it really goes well with the mood of the piece.
May 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
Billed as an anti-fairy tale, but only if your fairy tales are written by Disney. The original Grimm's fairy tales are every bit as macabre and dark as this is. It's about a bunch of Borrower or lilliputian types who live in the shelter of a dead little girl. The simple watercolor art is a nice juxtaposition to scenes of wholesale murder or nature existing without a moral compass. This suffers from a lack of overall story. It almost feels like a series of vignettes or even a comic strip that has ...more
Liz Janet
Jan 28, 2016 rated it liked it
The process of reading this book:

OMG!!! Look at all the adorbs!!! AWWWW...........

What the hell is this?

I am having nightmares tonight......


That was such a nice comic... Hey mama! You gotta read this!
Melissa Chung
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned
I don’t know what I just read, but I liked it. The illustrations were lovely. The story itself was dark and tragic.

Beautiful Darkness is about a group? Community? These little humanoid creatures not much bigger than ants live and gather in the forest. They have emerged from the corpse? Cadaver? A child dead in the forest. They use the things they find around them. Some from the girls backpack, some from the dead girl herself. They forms smaller groups. Our main character is named Aurora and she
Steve Cooper
Dec 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kerascoët, French illustrator duo Marie Pommepuy (b. 1978) and Sébasten Cosset (b. 1975), started drawing comics in 2002 with a couple of Donjon Crépuscule stories by Sfar:


They then began Miss Pas Touche in 2006 with Hubert and a clearer line:


In 2009 Jolies Ténèbres came out, and artistically it marked a further move toward claire ligne with coloring sometimes substituted for line-shading:


By the way, I have confirmed that the Plim character above far-right is not, in fact, an eyebrow-shaven Cra
Eddie Watkins
May 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: manga-comics
A post-apocalyptic tale rendered in sweetly childlike images, but only at first glance, as upon closer inspection even this sweetness is thoroughly tainted with rot and evil and infectious swelling.

My wife bought this for my daughter but when she looked closer she decided it was for me.

A playful family interior scene is suddenly disrupted by dark red blobs oozing from above, which continue to ooze engulfing the entire space. The family evacuates, and then it’s an entire community, an entire po
Farel Dalrymple
Jun 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
this might be the best comic have read so far this year.
Isa Lavinia
Jan 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, comics
Just couldn't get into this, and it ultimately felt pointless. I don't think that books in general need to have a point, but I did feel like this one was trying mightily to make one, and failing utterly. ...more
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels, adult
What the hell was this?
Am I ok now? ARE WE ALL OK?
Ed Erwin
May 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror, fantasy, comics
Nature is rough. Yesterday I was delighted to watch a couple of robins 🐦🐦teaching their chick 🐣 to fly right outside my window. The chick perched cutely on my bicycle handlebars. The parents let me know to keep my distance.

This morning, out the same window, I watched a squirrel raid the nest. Cute little birdie will fly no more. But squirrel gets a tasty treat. 🍳🐿️

That, to me, is basically what this book is about. Nature doesn't care about you. Not any of you. Animals (and people) will be nice s
Jon Nakapalau
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Truly disturbing graphic novel that turns our concept of fairies upside down. Think of Quentin Tarantino adapting a novel by Samuel Beckett.
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
In Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët's savagely allegorical Bande dessinée, a whole imagination's worth of metaphorical fairyish manifestations suddenly and shockingly find themselves without the comfort of their vessel, exposed to the elements, nature (red in tooth and claw) and most horrifying of all, themselves.
Beautiful Darkness is the human condition condensed small, as each of the now homeless cartoon-like pixies represents a facet of our many constituent tics and behaviours, from narcissism
At the midway point in this graphic novel I was still smiling. It sort of clipped me upside the head as I read, and though it drew blood, I still thought it might be a little cute. I didn't really like the story--it seemed a bit grim--but... I thought it was going to come around.

The authors (it would have to be two, one couldn't bear that dark vision alone, for long) are making a comment on man's seemingly infinite capacity for evil--really banal, thoughtless evil. It hurts, this vision, because
I don't even know where to start. Wow....just...bloody hell. The illustrations are beautiful and disturbing. The Goodreads description compares the book to The Borrowers - The Borrowers in HELL, maybe. ...more
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Fates of some characters? (Spoilers) 4 86 Aug 25, 2020 08:29PM  
Is Aurora...? Is the man...? (Spoilers) 2 71 Nov 14, 2019 08:30AM  
I Read Comic Books: May 2019 BotM - Beautiful Darkness 19 39 Jun 03, 2019 08:55AM  
I want to talk about the book in general 2 19 Jun 25, 2018 07:11PM  
Mrs. Eriksson's S...: Beautiful Darkness by Fabian Vehlmann 1 24 Aug 18, 2014 08:15PM  

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Usually uses the pseudonym Vehlmann

Fabien Vehlmann est comme son héros : pétillant, engagé et plein d'humour.

Après avoir patiemment suivi les cours d'une école de commerce nantaise, Fabien Vehlmann réalise que sa voie est ailleurs. Bien décidé à se lancer dans la bande dessinée, il se consacre à l'écriture de manière intensive durant une année entière. Il empile les projets et inonde scrupuleuseme

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