Friday, April 17, 2020

The Brontes: Infernal Angria by Craig Hurd-McKenney and Rick Geary

As I mentioned earlier, Isabel Greenberg's Glass Town got me wanting to read Craig Hurd-McKenney and Rick Geary's version of the story, which also explores the Brontë siblings' obsession with the fictional world they created as kids. I read the first part when it was released back in 2004 and was fascinated by it. It was my first exposure to the Brontës childhood creations and I was curious to learn more. It took a while for Hurd-McKenney and Geary to finish the story though (no judgment; graphic novels are monsters to produce), so I'd forgotten all about it until Glass Town reminded me. Thankfully, Infernal Agria was finished a couple of years ago and was all ready for me to dig in.

It's a cool companion to Glass Town. The art style is very different with Geary being perfect for nineteenth century atmosphere and details. It doesn't have the maps or clear geography that Greenberg provides in Glass Town though, so the versions compliment each other. They're doing different things.

Hurd-McKenney and Geary's story also makes Angria/Glass Town a real (though fantastical) place. It's like Wonderland, Narnia, or Oz in that it's separate from the real world, but fairly easy for the kids to access. But like Greenberg's story, Hurd-McKenney and Geary's take focuses on the obsession that the Brontë kids had with the place. Not just Charlotte - who's the focus for Greenberg - but all of them. Infernal Agria argues that this obsession was heightened by tragedies in the Brontë family, and the obsession itself becomes its own kind of tragedy piled onto past ones. It's a bleak take that I didn't enjoy as much as Greenberg's more universal one. I don't always agree with the actions of Greenberg's Charlotte Brontë, but I understand them and see myself in a lot of what she does and thinks. I mostly just feel really bad for Infernal Agria's Brontë kids.

I'm absolutely glad I read it though. I'd love to see the story and world expanded even further and am super curious now about seeing the 2016 biopic, Walk Invisible.

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