Talk’n about Comics: Gabrielle
If you’re American you’ve probably never seen or heard of this comic before. As far as I can tell, an English translation doesn’t exist. Here in the Netherlands it’s omnipresent. I’ve seen it in every comic shop I’ve set foot in and I picked it up at a discount book fair. As it was originally printed in 2001, I suppose that means either it’s a popular classic or spectacular failure in that the stores are still trying to get rid of the book nine years later. Judging from the fact that I didn’t see a copy of this in the used section, I’m guessing this is classic. I know a few of you are reading this on screen located in Europe so feel free to educated me on the history of this book, entitled fully: Gabrielle: I. Et in Arcadia Ego, in the comments. The artist and writer is list only as “Kara” no last name, which I find odd. I wonder if it’s a pen name, since it certainly reveals no information when you stick it in Google. A few places to buy the book, but that’s about it.
On Monday I mentioned that I was both in awe of the art and utterly mystified by the plot. I am happy to report that I am still in awe of the art and I have decoded the plot using my second grade Dutch and a fair bit of Google Translate. If you actually have intentions of reading this book you probably should stop start reading now.
Gabrielle opens with the murder of an innocent little girl and finishes with the end of Christianity. It’s a fairly heavy book for 52 pages; they don’t get much more epic than that. However the book focuses on just four characters: Gabrielle and Raphaelle, two archangels, a demon librarian (the only male among the main cast) and devil herself in the final pages. The plot is actually quite simple. God has pulled the plug on heaven, something made him snap and kill everyone in heaven. Then he left. Raphaelle and Gabrielle are the only angels left. Gabby wants to find a new path and has turned to hell for help while Raphaelle is loyal to the old ways. This leads to a fatal conflict for Raphaelle and Gabrielle pins her to a cross with her dagger. This murder convinces the devil to manifest to Gabrielle to welcome her to the ranks of hell. Gabrielle wastes no time in stabbing her too, destroying hell in the process. Which she then reveals was her actual plan all along, to destroy hell in order to prevent it from filling the void left by a vacant heaven. Leaving humanity’s destiny to itself.
Really its the sort of thing that I would have found totally inspiring when I was ten years younger. A story about how, in the modern world, we no longer need absolutes of heaven and hell. Our destiny is our own now. Its a good retelling of that sentiment, certainly better than all the JRPGs were you wind up killing god because he’s being a butt. However it just seems… simple to me, Gabrielle’s means, the murder of her sole surviving sister, were justified by her ends. And that’s the end of it. Life goes on.
I like the book, the art is breath-taking but I feel the story just needs an extra step in there.
This was the Devil, she took the form of a corrupted form of mother nature: I really loved the character design.