It’s a new “5 for the Fandom!” In this weekly ComicsVerse series, we pick a fandom and find 5 comics that remind us of that fandom, whether in tone, aesthetics, or themes. This week, make sure not to follow any fair folk that dance beneath a doomed moon, because we’re looking at THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: MAJORA’S MASK!
It’s the month of Halloween, which means it’s time for me to once again obsess over my very favorite LEGEND OF ZELDA game, MAJORA’S MASK. Most ZELDA games are known for their epic fantasy, but MAJORA’S MASK has a pretty different vibe from the rest of the games. Its fairies are creepy and mischievous. The woods are dark and foreboding rather than whimsical. During Link’s travels, he comes across a bizarre land called Termina. Here, a demonic mask possesses a creature who then curses the moon to come crashing down on everything in three days. The entire game is timed, but Link’s trusty Ocarina of Time lets him manipulate the timeline as he seeks a way to stop the moon’s descent.
MAJORA’S MASK is a game that is near and dear to my heart. It’s the first game I ever played where I honestly felt like my actions had consequences. If I lost, I had to watch as all the characters I’d grown to care for died in a horrific, catastrophic event. Plus, the music was profoundly moving. The bold color scheme somehow added to the horror rather than diminishing it. MAJORA’S MASK just has this precise feel to it that I have searched for in other media ever since I first played. And now, finally, I can share with you a list of what I’ve found – the comics that remind me of MAJORA’S MASK.
The cover of Fabian Vehlmann and Kerascoët’s graphic novel BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS tells you everything and nothing all at once. On the front cover, there’s a tiny, wide-eyed girl in a polka-dot dress, hiding amongst the giant clovers, grass, and leaves that take up most of the image. Next to the girl but fading into the shadows, there’s a big gray hand, firm in the way its fingers curl into the palm like a statue that has fallen to the ground. One could easily take a look at this image and shrug it off as a typical children’s fairy tale. But turn to the back cover, and there’s something big and rotten, with flies swarming around it. Look at the first six pages of the book, and you’ll learn what the big rotting thing is and how that gray hand connects to it.
BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS centers around a group of sprites in the woods that make their home around something horrible and regress into mindless cruelty as they struggle to survive. Just like in MAJORA’S MASK, the juxtaposition between the fairytale and macabre, the cruel side of fae and fair folk, and the interwoven nature of time and death feature heavily in BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS. You might pick up either story expecting a lighthearted fairytale and suddenly bear witness to a tragedy unfolding in real time. If you want to be as disturbed by the fae as you were in MAJORA’S MASK, then BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS is definitely for you.
Drawn and Quarterly’s BEAUTIFUL DARKNESS was completed in 2014. You can purchase it from Amazon here or check out the first couple of pages here.