This book is beautiful. Disturbingly, hauntingly, beautiful. “Pirouette dreams of washing the paint from her face and escaping to a better life far away from her cruel adoptive circus family.” A simple synopsis that in no way conveys the raw emotion of both the plot and artwork present in this story.
The story of Pirouette, a circus clown, whose life is anything but happy Mark Miller brings us into the seedy underbelly of the traveling circus. A world we hope doesn’t truly exist but fear is all too real.
Abused (tortured really) and lonely Pirouette dreams of being a star of the show, high-flying on the trapeze, but her dreams are really more of respect and inner peace, something we all can relate to. The stark horrors of Pirouette’s life lend a warped mirror to our own misfortunes. Who hasn’t felt trapped by life and at the mercy of those who, instead of abusing us, should be our protectors.
I read tons as a child, my father always willing to give me another classic story to chew on. Treasure Island, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, Swiss Family Robinson the list is endless. One of the sticking points for me then (and well into my adult life) was this prevailing feeling that children in stories, though not content in it, put up with insane indignities. I remember thinking back then that I would rather have frozen in the street than put up with what Oliver Twist endured. Harry Potter struck me similarly in his relations with his “muggle” family. Of course I know that it’s very easy to say these things coming from a place where though I feared an occasional beating and was bullied all through grammar school I never actually feared for my life. Pirouette does. And has good reason to. Though as a true hero still rails against the terrors of her life.
Pirouette’s story brings you right back to the classic fairy-tale. Adopted child lives in the shadows of her “betters” and dreams of a different life. The twist here comes with the impetus of change. No fairy god mother appears to lead pirouette out of the darkness. The night-bus doesn’t whisk her away to a special place, no bald wheelchair bound man comes to tell her she has special powers. No the thing that whispers to her, telling her what she needs to do to change her life is decidedly evil (or at least appears so) and I was immediately struck with a feeling of mistrust and trepidation.
Is what is suggested to her a way out? Or is it just another tragedy in what’s obviously been a life filled with disappointments and miseries.
A word on the art. As I mentioned at the beginning this is a beautiful book, Carlos Granda has found a palette that conveys the flamboyance of the circus with the ominous and creepy life our Pirouette leads in it. Very few artists have the ability to give us hope and creep us out on the same page. He has figured out the balance.
This one gets 4.5 out of 5 clown noses
Created & Written by: Mark L Miller
Pencils & Inks by: Carlos Granda
buy it today from Black Mask Studios!