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Lauren Beukes

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Fairest #10: Lost in Translation

Fairest #10 with wordy bits by me and amazing artwork by Inaki Miranda and colours by Eva de la Cruz, is out! In part three of the six-part Hidden Kingdom mini-series set in Bill Willingham’s Fables universe, shit gets real.

Rapunzel reveals the story of her missing daughters. There’s a tricksy talking cat, personal fall-outs aplenty, a nest of hair in the forest, a helpful midwife with a poison apple and something really horrible in the end.

Huge thanks to Mikio Asakura (via Jayson Lorenzon) for the help with yakuza accounting on page 1!

Very stoked that it’s been getting some lovely reviews and some very interesting speculation…

Talking Comics reckons this issue is a great jumping-on point, even if you haven’t read the previous ones: “A seemingly kind heart takes pity on Rapunzel as she goes into labor, but there are other motivating factors involved. There is something special about these missing twin girls, and the well-timed midwife knows something while everyone else is in the dark. Rapunzel is out to find her daughters, but there is a possibility that these daughters are bigger and more important than Rapunzel herself.”

Rusted Mecha gave this issue an A and particularly liked the emotional punch of the backstory and the pop culture references. “Artist Inaki Miranda does another superb job with his work. The panels and scene transitions are structurally, a combination of complex and simple narrative work and style, matching Beukes’ script. Miranda goes full-page at times providing readers with more awe with the story and carefully leading the reader to one scene after another. The Rapunzel birth scenes were the highlight of this issue for me, with Miranda adding an extra bit of suspense and horror during those traumatic times” 

Michael at Futile Position says: “Beukes has a keen eye for characterization that makes Rapunzel hard not to like and does a good job keeping things tense, with danger around every corner for the Fable as she comes face-to-face with her past. More than just a fascinating story with interesting supporting characters, Fairest #10 also continues the well considered love story, such as it is, between Rapunzel and Joel Crow. 

Weekly Comic Book Review is still a little skeptical about the relationship between Joel and Punzel, but really likes the rawness and the hair. “In addition to the rather scandalous lifestyle choices she’s made over the years, Rapunzel simply seems more raw and primal than her fellow fair ladies.  You certainly can’t see Snow, Briar, Rose, or Cindy, even at their most desperate hour, spinning a nest of their own hair, strung and webbed across the boughs of a forest.  Combined with her urgent, instinctual hunt for her children, Punzel has an animalistic quality that makes her relationship with a kitsune almost logical.”

“This issue emphasizes how Beukes has really made use of Rapunzel’s hair as a character of its own, from which all kinds of eerie phenomena can emanate.  It’s pretty impressive that someone can take a plot device that’s been traditionally a bizarre joke or, at best, a tool for both slapstick and magic (see Tangled), and turn it into a threatening entity, something that endangers others and Rapunzel herself.  That last page demonstrates a rather twisted bit of imagination on Beukes’ part, but one that really works.”

There’s also a special cameo from South African Zulu mythology in this scene (and spot the SA politics references in issue 8!)

And appropriately for an issue starring a bakeneko, @comixbookgurl posted a picture of the new issue with her feline friend. (Gotta love the Spiderman duvet cover).


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