COMIC REVIEW: The Man Who Laughs

Self Made Hero have become well known for creating stunning graphic novels, often retelling classic literature in the graphic medium. Their latest venture is capturing the classic Victor Hugo novel, The Man Who Laughs. The book is one of the main inspirations behind a little character called The Joker. David Hine and Mark Stafford are tasked with the job of retelling this classic and they succeed in everyway.

The story revolves around 18th Century England after The Civil War. King Charles I is dead, the monarchy is over and Cromwell is the Lord Protector. A young boy called Gwnyplaine’s face is mutilated and left for dead. As he searches for survival, Gywnplaine stumbles across a young girl who has also been abandoned. He takes her and finds salvage with a travelling medic. As the years go by, this travelling family of sorts become a theatre production with Gywnplaine as the main attraction. Before long, they start to get noticed.

The story is a clever, tragic drama that draws the reader in from the beginning to the end. Hine manages to capture the story brilliantly with his dialogue and captions. He is able to capture Hugo’s horrific drama to perfection. Further Stafford’s art jumps off the page. It is diverse and really adds something to Gywnplaine. The chapter pages look like a mural, reminiscent to the work of Dave McKean on The Sandman. The panel layouts are innovative and add something extra to the story, throwing the reader back to the 18th Century. The colours are dark and brooding, adding depth to the artwork.

All in all, The Man Who Laughs is a book that will fill you with heart ache, joy and delight. Self Made Hero continue to produce stunning book after stunning book and continues to do so with this novel. A hauntingly beautiful story that is matched by this hauntingly beautiful book.

GS Rating: 5/5

GS Reporter: Luke Halsall

More from the world of Geek Syndicate

%d bloggers like this: