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Porcelain: A Gothic Fairy Tale

(Porcelain )

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  390 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Set within a world that’s a magical echo of our own, Porcelain is the story of Child, an urchin, who leaves behind the cold streets of a snowy city when she climbs the high wall into the Porcelain Maker’s garden.

The Porcelain Maker discovers Child trespassing but, amused by her audacity, he offers her the chance to stay. He’s a lonely man, kept company only by his alchemic
Paperback, 92 pages
Published July 2013 by Improper Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 4.12  · 
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 ·  390 ratings  ·  83 reviews

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May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was really, really good.

It's the sort of comic that I read and immediately wanted to lend to my friends. Or, preferably, buy them their own copies so the bastards won't steal mine.

I liked the feel of it, like an old-school faerie tale. A nice, tight, well-written story. A little mystery, a little humor, a little horror. It made me smile in places and get a little weepy in others.

I could go on at length, but that's it in a nutshell. It was excellent.

Apparently this is one of the first en
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-sff-faves
This is a story which I picked up without ever having heard of it before. I got it on a recommendation from my local comic books shop and the style of artwork and colouring drew me in. I read it as part of the #Rainbowthon.

The story is a cross between gothic and fairy tale and I have to say it was original. The premise is that there's a big old manor house and everyone avoids it, but one day a young street girl is dared to go in there by her 'friends'. The story feels like a classical fairy tale

-Pretty good. It was a bit too short for my liking though.

-The story was somewhat predictable and cliched, it was kind of a rags-to-riches-orphan-Annie type of gothic fairy tale with the urchin girl (Child) being welcomed into the rich, misunderstood, lonely man's (Uncle) estate. Thus bringing joy back into his life, fast becoming a family, and the girl reaping the rewards of her guardian's riches. It wasn't anything unique or original, I've read similar stories before but it was still a
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
'Twas alright. I feel kinda bad not giving this a higher rating, because the creators are SUPER excited about it in the Author Notes/ behind the scenes sections, and I didn't have any particular problem with the graphic novel. It just didn't leave much of an impression on me, neither story-wise, nor art-wise. Maybe if it were longer and the characters were more developed? ...more

This was intriguing, but much too short! It's sort of a steam-punk Bluebeard re-telling with a twist. I love the story idea, but there just isn't enough depth or development to carry it satisfactorily. This should have been twice as long!
Almost a 5 stars read.
I enjoyed reading this. The story is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast with a dash of orphan Annie. It was predictable, but dark and twisted.

I found the concept very creative.
Reuben Thomas
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
An intriguing story and characters I felt invested in, all written with personality and wit, and tied together with stunning artwork. Next one please.
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One day, an urchin girl is forced (by fellow gang members and their cruel urchin leader) to break into the grounds of a mansion to go a-stealing. It is rumoured the man inside is a wizard, and the mansions protected by monsters.

From such a beautifully evocative start, the tale of porcelain develops, echoing various fairy tales and children's stories. Bluebeard and Oliver Twist, Krabat and Doctor Frankenstein, the list of echoes is long - even though the story is quite short.

The story is beautif
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I cannot praise this book highly enough - the illustrations alone are worth the price of entry with colours and line to die for. That the story is such a heart-breaking gem, so redolent of dark Victorian tales and fantasy makes it completely essential. I was lucky enough to get one of the early editions, sketched in by the the artist and I feel very VERY happy about that. Congratulations to Read and Wildgoose and may they produce many more superb volumes of graphic story-telling.
What can I say about this one, it was superb! The story was an excellent balance between mystery and suspense, science fiction and gothic fantasy showing the price to be paid to create life, and the price to be paid in breaking promises. While the illustration style isn't my favourite (personally I prefer darker more brooding styles), the strength of the story and the characters excels past this and grips you from start to finish. ...more
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
It's like Annie meets Bluebeard in the best of all possible ways! A surprisingly sad, beauitful, melancholy story that made for a delightful few hours reading! ...more
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This graphic novel, the first from Improper Books, written by Benjamin Read and illustrated by Chris Wildgoose, is a wonderful read.

The story is a character driven one, focusing on the charming relationship of Child and Uncle for the most part, as she's introduced to the large stately house and to the workings of the porcelain factory by Uncle, who takes her in as the daughter he never had, but he is hiding a dark secret. The second half features the kind of fairytale horror that you might expec
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: graphic-novels
I ummed and aahed about getting this book for several months when entering my local comic shop, in the end, I was at the con and the artist was there and I just couldn't help being sold on the cover art.

An utterly charming book that not only has a lovely story, but with an interesting twist on a magic (read alchemy) system. The art is stunning and writing is lovely. I just hope the sequel comes out soon! I think i'll have to go look at the rest of Improper Books selection in the mean time.

Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
A really lovely start to a story, with gorgeous illustrations with a slight Art Nouveau edge to them. I enjoyed this very much, but felt it was rather slight; the book is deceptively long with quite a large 'making of'-type section at the back (although very interesting). I will look out for future editions as I would love to follow the story, I just felt this could have done with a bit more to it, it was over almost before the story got going. ...more
Αταλάντη Ευριπίδου
I got this one as a birthday gift and it was truly amazing. It is a gothic fairy tale -which is precisely what it promises to be, right from the cover. The story is highly enjoyable and the artwork is beautiful. There was one line that stuck with me. When the child goes into Uncle's workshop, she says that it stinks. Then, Uncle answers: "the sources of wealth normally do, my dear", which I thought was pure genious. All in all, a great read. ...more
Jun 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Or 9/10. Rather lovely little twisted fable, beautifully illustrated. Particularly loved the creepy 'friends' and the very angry Belle in all of her incarnations. Reminded me a bit of Angela Carter in graphic novel mode. Not the perfect 10 because I wanted more of the ending, which was quite abrupt (though strangely logical). ...more
Alex Sarll
Engagingly peculiar upending of the Bluebeard story into various other fairytale motifs. It almost feels like a genuine (if obscure) fairytale, which is a lot rarer than one might think.
May 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
The detailed drawings would benefit from simply being printed larger. As is, it's to be read in a well lit room. Consider using a magnifying glass. ...more
Ryan McArthur
predictable, noting really new by way of plot or characters. it needed to be longer to develop the characters and their relationship.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: comics
Beautiful! I love the art in this. And the story was interesting and horrific. Really good.
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was not expecting that.

Victorian bluebeard/oliver twist WITH ALCHEMY (or is it).
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
The story is about a girl, who is coerced into breaking into the premises of a mysterious Porcelain Maker. Fortunately for her, he takes her in and teaches her the alchemical science he uses to make his, spooky Porcelain made, bipedal & quadrupedal contraptions come to life. However, there is a dark secret the Porcelain Maker is keeping from the girl. This story is a accumulates fairy tale, occult, magick and Gothic concepts quite well. Plus, the dark vibe of the story I thought was gripping.

A true Gothic graphic novel. (For Young Adults)

I'm generally not a fan of the Gothic dark and dreary, but this was just the right mix of heartfelt and creepy.
Child is a maybe one of the realist representations of a kid I've ever read on-page. She's a spunky guttersnipe, a loving step-daughter, and also a spoiled, bored little girl.
She has this super hesitant and then loving relationship with the man she calls Uncle, who is just a sad, loving, misguided, lonely, and tired adult. They're both ver
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking and magical. Toys with the Bluebeard/Fitcher's Bird story, and turns it in a different direction. I love how Read and Wildgoose have portrayed the young child-- she acts exactly as any child I know would to complicated feelings of loneliness and abandonment and her inability to voice the uncanny discomfort and sense of betrayal when "Uncle" builds her friends instead of inviting real people to her party. Most of the horror of this tale is left understated until the end, and it reso ...more
Jan 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Some really nice world building elements here. There's enough scope that it feels thought out while still leaving ample room for exploration in subsequent volumes. The pace, for the most part, is spot-on; the scale of the house and its two characters capable of supporting the story as it ambles through its classic gothic horror tropes. Overall, Porcelain is a great study in character, pace, world, and dialogue. ...more
Monica Michelle
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you are a Neil Gaiman fan or love the magic of The Night Circus or Starless Sea tuck into this amazing fairytale of over the gate and into a world of automata, possible kindnesses, and a fresh start. The art is beyond comparison. I am lucky enough to have stumbled on this graphic novel while I was doing research on the history of Automata.
Jan 05, 2021 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a pretty awesome story. The art work was cool, the plot was interesting and it was pretty weird and. The only thing I feel like could have been improved was is I would have liked it to be a little longer. But lucky for me I found out there are more books in the series and I am very excited to read them.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I heard of this graphic novel years ago and was sold but the cover and subtitle a gothic fairy tale.
The story is indeed nods or popular fairy tale but has its own unique story life. I was attached to the characters and loved the art.
Great first read for 2020
Dasha M
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Holy moly I loved this so much.
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Benjamin Read writes comics and makes films. He wrote the multiply award-nominated PORCELAIN: A GOTHIC FAIRY TALE, the silent comic BUTTERFLY GATE, and children’s book, NIGHT POST, as well as the TRUE GRIT and SUPER 8 comic adaptations. He also wrote and produced the films ARMISTICE and 500 MILES NORTH. He is one of the founder members of the Improper Books comics collective, and is fuelled princi ...more

Other books in the series

Porcelain (3 books)
  • Porcelain: Bone China (Vol II)
  • Porcelain: Ivory Tower (Vol III)

News & Interviews

  Jordan Morris is a comedy writer and podcaster whose credits include @Midnight, Unikitty! and Earth to Ned.  The sci-fi comedy Bubble is his...
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