[5 November 2012]
PopMatters Comics Editor
2011 recipient of the Arthur C. Clarke prize for science fiction, Lauren Beukes, returned to serial fiction and to the world of Bill Willingham’s Fables with last month’s issue of Fairest.
The themes Beukes has already established, resonate strongly with Willingham’s more literary tone with the Fables setting as a whole. But interestingly, Beukes’ themes also resonate with postcolonialist struggles for identity.
Beukes makes a unique and high concept cultural statement. Rather than rely on the same mechanism Mike Carey did in Crossing Midnight where real-life Japanese characters find themselves awash in mythical Japan… Or rely on the same mechanism used by Andy Diggle, where technology is just now beginning to manifest the mythical Japan in strange and disconcerting ways… Beukes instead focuses on planting an already alienated character in a stranger and more magical world than her own.
This canny move on Beukes’ part sets the scene of an interesting thought-experiment on that nature of seeing and the nature of being seen both for and by, both the Self and the Other.
These are themes that have been wrestled with as far back as Joseph Conrad, and even as far back as Shakespeare. Beukes’ innovation is to encode this drama of seeing and being seen with the hyper-modern in the form of the fashion industry and the overwhelming existential angst of the 21st century.
Please enjoy our exclusive preview of Fairest #9.