the november blogs-sir gawain and the green knight

It’s a Christmas Miracle!

John Reppion and MD Penman‘s adaptation of the ancient story is not just a worthy version it’s a fascinating introduction to the story itself. At Christmas, a vast Green Knight rides into King Arthur’s court and suggests a game; any knight can strike him once, but must be ready to receive the blow back a year later. Eager to prove himself, Sir Gawain, Arthur’s nephew, does just that. He beheads the Green Knight and then watches horrorstruck as his foe laughs, picks his head up and tells Gawain to be ready for his turn in a year’s time.

Penman’s art and Reppion’s script dives in and out of verse and graceful visual surprises with the same speed as the fox that Gawain sometimes seems to be. A flash of red against the white of the page and the winter snow. The green of the knight and all he represents constantly encroaching. My favourite double page layout is a nightmare Gawain has which begins with him as a fox on one page, pursued through the woods by the increasing feral visage of the Knight and ends with the trail broken and him awake, terrified and human. The art and script are stunning throughout but this is a moment that absolutely haunts you, the story distilled perfectly.

This is a wonderful version of the story, a wonderful introduction to it and just flat out beautiful comics storytelling. It evokes Christmas annuals in the best of ways and having Ijust reread it I can confirm it’s even better at this time of year.

The hardback is out now and it’s fantastic.

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