“Somewhere, on the coastline of a tiny European country, there was a garbage dump” isn’t the usual opening lines you would expect from most fairytales. And yet that is how Ravina the Witch? welcomes us into the spellbinding and imaginative world created by Junko Mizuno. Finally translated to English from the original French publication, Titan Comics introduces this gothic fairytale to a new audience. Although Ravina’s is a story that employs numerous tropes we’ve seen before such as old witches, talking animals, and creepy (possibly haunted) mansions, it’s all about the presentation here. If you’ve ever seen Puella Madoka Magica, Mizuno’s art is as creepy and abstract as that show’s depiction of its in-universe witches. Mizuno’s style has been termed “gothic kawaii” what with her taking what is considered traditionally cute and giving it a decidedly darker edge.
Our heroine is a raven-haired ingenue with large eyes that often flicker between innocent and sinister throughout the book. Fans of her previous twisted fairytales like Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel will recognize her distinct artwork coupled with her straightforward, matter-of-fact narration. In spite of its cute and childlike packaging, make no mistake: Ravina the Witch? is definitely for mature readers. Thankfully, Mizuno handles the adult themes with surprising delicacy. There is nothing raunchy or exploitative about Ravina’s brushes with erotica and BDSM, and she’s always an active part of these plot developments as opposed to being a victim of the whims of fate.
Ravina the Witch? is on-sale now from Titan Comics.