Snow White: A Graphic Novel By Matt Phelan

This 2016 New York Times Bestseller is an interestingly modern, late-1920’s rendition of the classic Disney tale that leaves a lot to be desired. While some concepts are well thought out, others are haphazardly assembled with little to no context other than that of common Snow White and the Seven Dwarves knowledge. Set in the late 1920’s after the stock market crash, our magic mirror is replaced with a stock market ticker that spits out vague messages.

“You…Or Another…Young…Beloved…White As Snow…. Kill.”

We have an evil stepmother / broadway star hell bent on obtaining her husbands riches after he was unaffected by the stock market crash. Bitter about the amount left to her in her late husband’s will, our evil stepmother sets out to kill our precious Samantha “Snow” White because that is the only way she will gain her riches. Thus our small orphaned child is forced to flee to the city streets of New York after she is warned that her stepmother is after her.

“She isn’t like no other woman. She’s powerful. Dangerous. Don’t go back, kid. Don’t ever go back. I’ll do what I can. But I can’t promise you it’ll be alright.”

Accompanied by seven small boys, Samantha “Snow” White is taken into the safety of a warehouse just before being poisoned by her stepmother in stage makeup and a beggar’s costume selling apples on the street. She’s chased by the boys into her own theater and then to the roof where she grasps some live wires and is killed.

Much like the original, Snow White is dropped into a powerful slumber and, unlike the original,  the seven orphaned boys sneak her into a window display at the Macy’s store surrounded by her favorite festive holiday scenery. This is where police and detectives find her body and for some reason one detective chooses to kiss her before pronouncing her dead. Just like in the original Disney animated cartoon when a prince comes out of nowhere and decides to start macking on a corpse. But our Snow White springs to life, adopts the seven boys and lives… yeah, well, you know.

I love this take and I love what the author was trying to do. But it felt like someone gave him a set number of pages and told him to cram the whole story in with as little dialogue as possible. This graphic novel is in need of a glow up. Better dialogue, new-aged story line, and a longer timeline; otherwise it’s just Snow White in graphic novel form set in the 20’s.

I also really wish someone had come up with a different way to save our princess other than a strange man kissing her while she’s unconscious. The book might be set in the 20’s but the ideals don’t have to be. 

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