Little Red Hood

Been there?  

Done that?  

Think again. 

This is a very different retelling of the classic tale, one that does not shy away from its cruelty and awfulness, but embraces both through plot, graphic style and text. One wolf, one girl, two pencils, no décor to speak of, no props apart from the strictly indispensable or highly symbolic.  

The style of illustration is sparse in the beginning, perhaps even unpromising in its simplicity and offhandedness. But it’s only biding its time, waiting for its moment to explode in a firework of movement, teeth and shagginess, which the type design and spelling mirror perfectly. (You can hear the wolf ’s ravenous excitement in his anticipation of the ‘jooooocey meat’.) 

Little Red Hood herself is an extremely expressive character despite the fact that she consists exclusively of a red cloak with stick arms and legs and the bare outline of a face (no eyes, no mouth). Her range of  expression is very effectively (and impressively) conveyed through posture and body language alone. This visual minimalism is echoed by a tight, fast-paced plot. As a result, the reader’s attention is strongly focused on the intense, uncluttered drama. There is no distraction for the viewer, and, apparently, no escape for the protagonists. This, you might think, doesn’t bode well for Little Red Hood. Except she has  a trick up her sleeve, or rather under her hood. 

Unlike the straightforward, predictable wolf, she has depth and resources: pretence, a hint of seduction (look at her position when she mentions her captor’s bad breath) and absolute ruthlessness. This and her final word (deeming her dead opponent a ‘fool’) are in keeping with the original story and leave you wondering who the wolf really is here.