Lovefool 01.27.14 | Angels and Demons

 Our Lovefool loves her fairy tales, so naturally she found a lot to enjoy in the mystically star-crossed romance of Yuriko Matsukawa’s A Dark Fable of the Forest.

 

 

I love fairy tales. But I’m very particular about them and really prefer the old ones, the dark kind before the man behind the mouse came along and sterilized all of the world’s oldest tales and boxed them up all prettily for today’s kiddies. There was a lot of blood in those stories, vengeful tales of comeuppance that they could be. And magic. Bears murdering rude dwarves and doves whispering about bloodied feet – nothing was as it seemed in those old stories the Brothers Grimm recorded so faithfully. And bits and pieces of those gory old tales float up in pop culture every now and again, from the occasionally gritty issue of Fables to…well, whatever that is that’s happening on television on Sunday nights.
 
And when the wind is cold and the days are short and you just want another day to stay in bed and hide from the entire universe, sometimes a little bit of gothic fairy tale can come in handy. So thanks, DMG, I appreciate your noble efforts today in providing two bite-sized volumes of A Dark Fable of the Forest, which was really, really sad and really, really kind of weird.
 
Written and drawn by Yuriko Matsukawa, the story doesn’t hold anything revolutionary, since angels and demons have been shojo fodder for a while now, and the art looks slightly dated. None of that is probably particularly reassuring but it really suits the tale, making it almost seem a bit like a legitimately old legend, rather than something featuring a digital camera. Sure, most timeless tales don’t feature angelic co-eds from Florida doing work experience for supernatural magazines and red-eyed dolls who can talk, but that’s half the charm. What is this story trying to be? Twilight or WutheringHeights? Somewhere between those two things, a little more on the Twilight scale (I see that creeping and here is my token disapproval) than not, and perfect for a cold Monday night.
 
So I can’t give you motives or intent but I can tell you what it is. It’s the story of ancient powers slumbering under human skin and stored in the dark, cool ground. It stars angels and demons and men wearing faces they shouldn’t be. It’s a story about family and both the benevolence and malice that can thrum along those ties. It’s about checks and balances, facts and figures. Matsukawa tells us that 90% of the world can be explained away with science and logic, leaving 10% a mystery. And in that 10%, we learn the story of a lock and a key, a dark man and a bright woman, and a long tradition of keeping them apart to keep those aforementioned mystical powers safely away from those who once held them. Alyssa Hamilton and the Chevalier d’Or, the co-ed and the demon, aren’t going to work it out, possibly ever, but that’s okay. There is, in the style of these things, a kiss and a smidge of salvation before the not-necessarily-happy ending.  
 

A Dark Fable of the Forest is all of that. And, frankly, there’s nothing new under the sun here but sometimes you need a little star-crossed mystic love to remind you that there are more things in heaven and earth, really, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. | Erin Jameson

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