Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 30, 2018

Book Giveaway: SNOW WHITE: A Graphic Novel by Matt Phelan

In 2016 Award-winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan delivered a darkly stylized noir Snow White set against the backdrop of Depression-era Manhattan. I just discovered the book and was so impressed that I had to get a book to share with you. Not only is the artwork gorgeous, but the whole thing is so creative, even down to the book trailer and the music that Matt created to promote the book. Don’t miss watching the book trailer. It is one of the best I have seen. SNOW WHITE: A GRAPHIC NOVEL has won many awards. Click this link to see. AWARD LIST

All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you did to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you. Check back to discover the winner.

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

The scene: New York City. The dazzling lights cast shadows that grow ever darker as the glitzy prosperity of the Roaring Twenties screeches to a halt. Enter a cast of familiar characters: a young girl, Samantha White, returning after being sent away by her cruel stepmother, the Queen of the Follies, years earlier; her father, the King of Wall Street, who survives the stock market crash only to suffer a strange and sudden death; seven street urchins, brave protectors for a girl as pure as snow; and a mysterious stock ticker that holds the stepmother in its thrall, churning out ticker tape imprinted with the wicked words “Another . . . More Beautiful . . . KILL.” In a moody, cinematic new telling of a beloved fairy tale, extraordinary graphic novelist Matt Phelan captures the essence of classic film noir on the page—and draws a striking distinction between good and evil.

BOOKS JOURNEY:

“Snow White” has always been my favorite fairy tale. Like most kids of the past few generations, the Disney version was my introduction to the story. I loved it then and still do. “Snow White” has more layers than many fairy tales. It has the stepmother element, the jealousy, and the murder attempt, but it also has the help and friendship of the seven dwarfs, which sets it apart. Unlike other characters in fairy tales, Snow White is not alone. She has the seven dwarfs. The Huntsman spares her. That always interested me.

People ask, “Why noir? Why set the book during the Great Depression?” It was always going to be set in the late twenties/early thirties. The idea sparked from sketching apple peddlers for a short story I wrote about Herbert Hoover for the anthology Our White House. One day, I drew a hag-like peddler holding an apple up to a smartly dressed young woman as everyone on the crowded street rushed by and I thought:“Snow White” in 1930s New York.

Once I had the idea, I started playing with how to translate the rest of the tale to that particular setting. Who was the Queen? She was the Queen of the Ziegfeld Follies. Who are the dwarfs? They could be seven street orphans, like in those old Dead End Kids movies, and so on. The noir tone came naturally, especially after I focused on the inheritance as the main motivation. I’ve always been influenced by old movies. For this book, I thought about the noir films of the 1940s, but also earlier atmospheric films such as Fritz Lang’s M and John Ford’s The Informer, not to mention the Thin Man movies and the first ten minutes of King Kong. The opening sequence of Citizen Kane was also an inspiration, but then again Citizen Kane is always a creative touchstone for my graphic novels.

My research tends to be image-based: books, movies, or online photographs. I have a wonderful book on the Ziegfeld Follies that I had originally bought for Bluffton: My Summers with Buster. There are a ton of great art deco books out there (they tend to be oversize so they may actually weigh a ton). I wanted some of that art deco in Snow White, but I was more interested in the darker visions of the Great Depression, such as the photographs of Walker Evans and Margaret Bourke-White. I also took some trips up to New York City to photograph locations in Central Park and Macy’s, as well as to find a stand-in for the White mansion. It’s always good to physically walk in the My research tends to be image-based: books, movies, or online photographs. I have a wonderful book on the Ziegfeld Follies that I had originally bought for Bluffton: My Summers with Buster.

There are a ton of great art deco books out there (they tend to be oversize so they may actually weigh a ton). I wanted some of that art deco in Snow White, but I was more interested in the darker visions of the Great Depression, such as the photographs of Walker Evans and Margaret Bourke-White. I also took some trips up to New York City to photograph locations in Central Park and Macy’s, as well as to find a stand-in for the White mansion. It’s always good to physically walk in the setting, even if it has changed considerably.

One thing that I didn’t do was seek out other versions of “Snow White,” aside from rereading the edition I’ve had since I was a kid (Sixty Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm with Arthur Rackham’s great illustrations). I wanted to approach this story fresh. Lisbeth Zwerger once said that “to illustrate a fairy tale is not an intellectual, scientific interpretation, but a transposition of internal pictures and feelings.” That was my approach.

I wanted the art to feel like a black-and-white movie, which of course really means a wonderful soft atmosphere of grays and shadows. Stripping your palette down, then introducing color in a limited way can be very effective dramatically. Red was useful for the apple, lips, and the Queen’s fury. I also tinted many of the scenes blue or green to add variety, which is a technique that was sometimes used in old films, particularly in the silent era setting, even if it has changed considerably.

One thing that I didn’t do was seek out other versions of “Snow White,” aside from rereading the edition I’ve had since I was a kid (Sixty Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm with Arthur Rackham’s great illustrations). I wanted to approach this story fresh. Lisbeth Zwerger once said that “to illustrate a fairy tale is not an intellectual, scientific interpretation, but a transposition of internal pictures and feelings.” That was my approach.

MATT’s BIO:


Matt Phelan is the author-illustrator of three previous graphic novels: the Scott O’Dell Award–winning The Storm in the Barn, Around the World, and Bluffton, which was nominated for three Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, including Best Graphic Album. He is the author-illustrator of Druthers and the illustrator of many books for young readers, including Marilyn’s Monster by Michelle Knudsen and The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, winner of the Newbery Medal. Matt Phelan lives in Pennsylvania.

Thank you Matt and Candlewick Press to bringing us such inspiring and creative books and giving a book to one lucky winner.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. I absolutely ADORE the idea of this book. Sweet Snow White meets the hard-boiled city of Manhattan? This sounds like an absolutely wonderful book idea! This sounds worth a book review and I will definitely be telling my family and friends about this read. I would love to flip through it!

    Like

  2. Its very interesting to read a fairytale set in a different era. Especially how the 7 urchins and the huntsman are incorporated into the story. It gives me the thrills while reading the summary. Ive always liked to read graphic novels and this one is definitely added to my reading list.

    Like

  3. Wow–I love this!

    Like

  4. I just read “Marilyn’s Monster” and loved it! Brilliant artist/writer. “Snow White” is now on my list. Will be tweeting and FB sharing too. A keeper this: “Lisbeth Zwerger once said that “to illustrate a fairy tale is not an intellectual, scientific interpretation, but a transposition of internal pictures and feelings.” That was my approach.”

    Like

  5. Can’t believe I haven’t read this one yet. Love matt’s work!

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  6. I am a big Matt Phelan fan and this is a terrific post!

    Like

  7. Last year we had Matt Phelan as our keynote speaker at a local conference for authors and illustrators of PBs and MGs. It was SNOW WHITE: A GRAPHIC NOVEL that attracted me to this talented author/illustrator in the first place, and I was thrilled when he agreed to come and tell his story of his path to publication. Needless to say, he was very well-received.

    Like

    • Sheri,

      Lucky you. I am sure he was very inspiring.

      Kathy

      Like

  8. Intense and inspiring. And this is not my fave fairy tale…maybe I just needed this version all along.

    Like

  9. Matt Phelan strikes again with another beautifully anticipated book. Can’t wait to crack the cover!!

    Like

  10. “We’re the seven. That’s all you need to know.” – pure genius!!
    This looks like such a great read and an interesting take on the original fairy tale. I’d love to add this to my library!

    Like

  11. I read this book at the library. It’s amazing as well as beautiful! I think all fairy tales should be updated to the once upon a time of the early 20th century.

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  12. This sounds awesome. Love the story idea and the illustrations.

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  13. This looks beautiful! I can’t wait to read it.

    Like

  14. This looks like an awesome book, text and illustrations! Great post, thank you.

    Like

  15. I don’t usually care for retellings but this book is obviously something very special. Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
    I’ve tweeted a link: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/1001865953775239168, and pinned an image on Pinterest with a link: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772146221468/. Thanks again, have a great day!

    Like

  16. Looks gorgeous! Love the concept!

    Like

  17. Wonderful trailer. Sucks you right in.

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    • The video really did suck me in and made me want to share it with you.

      Like

  18. This looks fantastic! Love it.

    Like

  19. Saw a sneak preview of SNOW WHITE at a recent SCBWI conference. I’d love to own a copy of this. 🙂

    Like

  20. This has been on my “to read” list for quite some time. Now I really must!

    Like

  21. I have a few of Matt’s books (signed, too 🙂 ) and I think he’s fantastic! Nice too 🙂 I’m guessing I’m too late for the giveaway, but this great interview is prize enough 😀

    Liked by 1 person


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