FEATHERS SC
FEATHERS by Jorge Corona with Jen Hickman
Plot
Characterization
Art
Summary
Jorge Corona's gripping fairy tale FEATHERS soars into readers' hearts with vibrant artwork, dynamic narrative choices, and surprising twists and turns.
98 %
Soaring Fun!

Fairy tales are home to many fine, furry, and fearsome beings called hybrids: part human, part animal. Examples include Madame D’Aulnoy’s fairy tales about the monkey princess Babiole and the bird prince The Blue Bird. There’s also Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve’s beloved classic Beauty and the Beast. Half-human-half-animal characters charm and confuse readers. Even today, we can’t seem to get enough of them. Hybrids frequently appear in modern comics. Of course, they have varying levels of success. However, one that should not be missed is Jorge Corona‘s FEATHERS from BOOM! Studios.

Corona’s FEATHERS will delight readers with its bold young hero Poe. The strange young boy’s body is covered in striking black feathers. Although giving the name Poe to a raven-boy verges on corny, there is nothing weak and weary about Corona’s protagonist. In fact, the lively boy seeks friendship in the chaotic Maze where he lives. There, he looks after the Dickensian street urchins and prowls the rooftops. Sadly, his adoptive father forces Poe to keep his mysterious feathers secret. Life is lonely for Poe until Lady Bianca Chappelle from the city across the Wall drops into his life. Together, Bianca and Poe go head-to-head with the forces of evil at work in the Maze.

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Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

Writing with Chaos and Order

FEATHERS opens in the chaos of the Maze. Disembodied voices argue over the fate of humanity. The narrators compare the system of order in the City with the confusing chaos of the Maze. A man-made wall divides the City dwellers and the Maze dwellers. However, the narrators hint that the boundary may not be as secure as everyone thinks. Corona’s narrative approach is part fairy tale and part Dungeons & Dragons debate. At times, it feels as if there is a cosmic Dungeon Master arguing with a player. The overall effect immediately invites the reader into the adventure.

Jen Hickman’s colors help guide readers into Corona’s narrative. For example, she emphasizes the darkness of the tunnel-like Maze and the clean and bright world beyond the wall. As a result, the landscape captures the divided nature of the worlds. Another highly effective choice involves the characters’ speech bubbles. Instead of leaving the bubbles in white, Hickman fills different characters’ voices with specific colors. The colors give power to their words and clue readers in on their motives.

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Image courtesy fo BOOM! Studios.

Feathered Friends

FEATHERS reads like classic fantasy with its strong takes on good and evil. Corona’s artwork adds a more whimsical element, with cute characters that welcome younger audiences. For example, although Poe is meant to be a fearsome sight, he’s really quite adorable. And Bianca’s large eyes and enthusiastic smile show off her kind and adventurous personality. Capturing the view from a child’s eyes, the domineering adult antagonist towers over the children.

The artwork of FEATHERS brings optimism to a mysterious tale. Additionally, both story and artwork keep a fast pace. This moves the narrative forward even when there are occasional gaps. Indeed, several of Poe and Bianca’s escapes are inexplicably easy, as if panels are missing. Nevertheless, the story focuses on relationships between characters, helping Poe find his humanity through his newfound friendship with Bianca.

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Image courtesy of BOOM! Studios.

Exploring Monstrosity in FEATHERS

Throughout the comic, Corona examines what “monstrosity” really is. Traditionally, fairy tales suggest that the nonhuman body is dangerous. Beasts and hybrids are only redeemable if the person is good in spite of their body. In many fairy tales, there is a transformation to a more normative (i.e. human) body. Meanwhile, in FEATHERS, Poe might look different. However, readers will know to look elsewhere for monstrosity.

An evil lurks in the dark alleyways, waiting to pounce on the street urchins who run hungrily through the marketplaces. This figure embodies evil with a human form. Poe’s strange feathers make him stand out as the “other” to the “normal” humans. However, the “normal” people most in power are the true danger. Ultimately, just as Poe is unable to completely fit in, his nonhuman form makes his humanity stand out. Moreover, the characters who respect Poe find it easier to identify the true monsters.

FEATHERS transports readers into a magical land where adventure waits around every corner. Poe and Bianca prove that friendship and compassion are excellent tools against forces of evil and corruption. This delightful work transforms the fairy tale genre as it lifts readers into this magical universe.

The full graphic novel version of FEATHERS is available starting Feb. 6, 2019. Find it here

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