Category: fairy tales

Welcome back to Animated Shorts week!

Welcome back to Animated Shorts week!

Today we’re looking at Britannica’s Tales from Around the World and their 1990 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast. While the production clearly suffers from budget constraints and some of the weakest animation we’ll be seeing this week, its sheer dedication to ambiance not only saves the short but makes it one of my personal favourites. Subdued storytelling and pervasive sense of deep melancholy brings to mind more mature retellings of the tale, like Cocteau’s surrealist masterpiece, La Belle et la bete (1946) and Juraj Herz’s horror-tinged adaptation, Panna a Netvor (1978) and viewers often refer to the short as being Burtonesque in style and tone.






“When you gouge out my heart, give it a kiss, and dye your lips red with my blood.”

hawberries: the swan and the crow princess tut…


the swan and the crow

princess tutu is still my favourite anime ever of all time! this is my second try at this illustration and i’m much happier with this attempt than the last one, yay. (print available july 2017!)

Tutu much

Ah, I’m gonna post a little Princess Tutu content this week. It’s definitely outside the parameters of “Beauty and the Beast”, but I think I can make an argument for swan maiden/swan lake being relevant enough to my adaptation to merit it being on here. 

You’re a castle waiting fan?! I never th…

You’re a castle waiting fan?! I never thought I’d meet another :). Jains one of my favorite versions of belle out there, even though it’s only implied what fairy tale she’s from. What do you think her story’s gonna be like if we ever get that third book?

Castle Waiting is such an important book to me. It’s easily at the top of my Greatest Comics list. I discovered it in the local library during college and read it cover to cover twice in the same day, just shocked that a book could be so absolutely, perfectly, uncannily written for me. It’s everything I hope to achieve as a writer and artist one day, from the breathtaking draftsmanship to the brilliant characterization to the gentle pacing. I want to get the whole story on Jain, and figure out exactly who the monster in her past is…!

I understand Linda Medley has a patreon where she shares content, and is still working towards a third volume, but possibly without the involvement of Fantagraphics. The debacle with volume two was a bit puzzling, but who can say how that came about.

Readswaytoomuch sez…

replied to your photo “We had some fun over on twitter guessing how it all pans out, and many…”

(½) I don’t think Argus will stay a Beast mostly because it goes against the direction of his character arc. Argus became a beast because he rejected life (both literally and figuratively) as a man out of fear of the pain that humanity represents to him. His journey has become about him confronting his own pain and trauma and as of the last few pages its clear he’s deciding to embrace and accept his own humanity again for better or worse.

Ahh, what a beautiful analysis! It’s always so satisfying to read something like this that peels back the layers in ways I hadn’t consciously thought of them. Thank you, Readswaytoomuch!

Here is the 1976 version of Beauty and the Bea…

Here is the 1976 version of Beauty and the Beast we’ve been talking about over the last few days!

Palm Films presents a made-for-TV version of the classic tale, starring George C Scott and Trish Van Devere. Get ready for some very troubling 1970s relationship dynamics!

Let’s rank a Beauty and a Beast couple o…

Let’s rank a Beauty and a Beast couple on a spectrum from the best chemistry to the worst chemistry and even share on what the opinions of the BATB think is the best and worst couple.

Oh, that’s fun. I’m focusing on full length adaptations here, be they film, novel or TV series, because If I start bringing short stories and picture books into it we’ll be here forever. Weigh in with your own top ten list, everyone!

Belle and Beast (Beauty and the Beast, 1991)

Oh, come on. That ballroom number. That sassy tit-for-tat banter. Those heartfelt song-and-dance routines! Those lovingly animated lingering touches and subtly shifting expressions!  There’s a reason this movie was advertised as a Date Movie and not just a family film. Top marks for drama and romance.

Beauty and the Beast (Rose Daughter, 1997)

The monster you take home to meet the family. Everyone is very sad, and very oblique and mysterious through most of this book, but there’s still time for our alchemist Beast to show off his murals and to leave Beauty absolutely gasping with sensual overload after what some might deem too thorough an application of healing salve. Points for surprise sensuality!

Julie and Netvor (Panna a Netvor, 1978)

They are already confessing their love for each other by the time she realizes he’s a monster, and even when she knows this, she tries to accept it before panicking and running away. It’s hard to go “whoops, sorry, wrong number!” to someone, even a giant gore-covered carrion bird, once you’ve already led them to your bed and whispered about how you’re dreaming of their kiss. Many points for angst and pervasive dread.

Catherine and Vincent (Beauty and the Beast, 1987)

These two exist to dance a gauzy waltz of earnest longing and society-could-never-understand-our-love-and-possible-psychic-connection usually reserved for teen vampires. Too bad the series couldn’t maintain it and gave them a surprise tragedy baby before they ever had a not-a-dream-sequence onscreen kiss.

Belle and La Bete (La Belle et La Bete, 1946)

A pair of strong but not necessarily likeable personalities might fall flat if not for the pervasive sense of danger and sensuality present throughout their strange encounter. These two are almost more ciphers for the unconscious than they are fully fleshed out characters, but that makes sense in the dreamy, surrealist world of this film. One feels more romanced by the ambiance than by the players.

Belle and La Bete (La Belle et la Bete 2014)

Nothing but sexual tension here. This is almost more of a battle than a romance, between two strong personalities with baggage galore and enough chips on their shoulders to open a food truck. A few breathtakingly sensual scenes (That kiss on the ice, amiright?) don’t rescue the film from a pervasive sense of masculine entitlement, the threat of violence, and toxic romance tropes, but it’s nice to imagine them fitting somewhere into a better story.

Beauty and the Beast (Beauty, 1978)
A congenial courtship between a well-matched pair who start off on slightly uneven footing but seem to end up happy enough. Not a lot of sensuality or tension between the two, but a nice sense of muted longing on the Beast’s part. Points for revolutionizing the fairy tale retelling genre.

Lindy And Adrian/Kyle (Beastly, 2007)

Yes, I’m grating my teeth as Adrian/Kyle sadsacks around and mopily compares himself to the Phantom of the Opera, but I’m also smiling, at least a little, as he and Lindy watch The Princess Bride, read poems in the greenhouse and compare abandonment issues. They’re a couple of dramatic high school kids who could really use a parent between ‘em and in the end I’m happy they’ve got each other. Don’t read any of the sequels (except Lindy’s Diary, which is cute fluff) and don’t watch the movie.

Chise and Elias (The Ancient Magus’ Bride, 2014)

(I’m not sure if I can really call this a BATB adaptation anymore, as Monster Lover it is evolving more into its own genre, and the series is doing its own thing more and more, but…) What’s going on with this pair? Will they be husband and wife? Mentor and trainee? Weird codependent magical battery packs? As Chise’s personality grows stronger and her trauma falls further behind her, Elias’ weirdness and weakness come more to the forefront, challenging the Commanding Gentleman Monster facade he first presents. Whether the pair will develop romantic chemistry remains to be seen, but they certainly depend on one another.

Tied for terrible chemistry that makes me upset are Belle and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast 2017) and Belle and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast 1976). Nobody likes negging. Girls aren’t going to start liking you because you make them feel bad.

You know, one of the aspects that really hooke…

You know, one of the aspects that really hooked me into your telling of B&B was the Enchanted Sentient Castle of Ancient Non-Human Morality. I really loved that added element because it made the situation feel less "Beast is keeping Beauty captive" and more "Beast and Beauty are captives TOGETHER". I thought it was awesome. It created a sense of camaraderie, and when Beast does lets her go, it becomes an even more poignant gesture, because he isn't just AT LAST doing something (contd.)

(contd.) that was in his power all along. He’s standing up against an outside force on her behalf because it’s THE RIGHT THING TO DO GODDAMNIT, even if he’s going at it in a self-sacrificial way. LISTEN?? I JUST LOVE THEM.

I did this on purpose, for exactly the reasons you’ve just laid out! I needed to even the power dynamics out in order to build a connection between the pair that I could feel good about. I was already thinking of the agreement between Beauty and The Beast as being a contract with some form of magical obligation behind it, but it didn’t make sense to give The Beast the power to enforce it and nothing besides his beastliness hobbling him. That made him a bad guy, and I’m not interested in writing a bad-dude-redeemed-by-love narrative, especially since I was already skating on that thin, thin captivity/isolation-based-romance ice. I wanted them to build a relationship that started on even footing, and let the readers realize that he was as much a captive as Beauty in real time along with her. A bit of mystery helps to keep the story compelling, I think!