PIROUETTE (Black Mask Studios – Miller / Granda)
Raised from infancy by duplicitous clowns who entertain by day and menace by night, Pirouette dreams of washing the paint from her face and escaping to a better life far away from her cruel adoptive circus family.
A smile is only skin deep… and the makeup hides the bruises.
This isn’t the story you’re going to want to read if you’re looking to recapture childhood memories of the circus. In Pirouette’s closed off world, the circus is the trap pulled over her head like a burlap sack. Circus society is laid open like a raw wound, poked and prodded until it starts to ooze.
Uncomfortable? Good, that’s what I was going for. You see, the story of Pirouette, a young clown who asks the question, “Is this really all there is?” isn’t a lighthearted romp. Unless you’re Stephen King. Maybe Clive Barker.
Pirouette’s story is one of forgotten loss and all too familiar pain. She’s a bright spot in a dingy setting, delighting to the cheers and laughter of the crowd, but she knows that she can be more. Unfortunately, “more” isn’t what adopted father, “the Duke”, wants from her. What he wants is a clown, smiling and cavorting while his minions work the crowd and pick pockets. What he wants is to maintain the lines in his world. Pirouette is a clown, and clowns belong on the ground, not lost in daydreams of flying free.
The story is very well written… the characters all have obvious histories, of which we’re only treated to a taste. It’s dark, but there’s the definite sense that there’s a purpose behind it. The artwork- and make no mistake, the drawing here is art- is outstanding. The character detail is meticulously done, and no emotion escapes notice.
This isn’t mindless escapism, so make sure you keep your head on straight while you’re reading… or “the Duke” might just take an interest in you and you’ll end up a part of his world for good.