Horror Comic Review: Mary Shelley Presents The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell

Without spoiling, we review the 40 paged horror comic and novel hybrid “Mary Shelley Presents The Old Nurse’s Story by Elizabeth Gaskell”, story adopted by award winning, NY Times Bestselling Author Nancy Holder, published by Kymera Press and also includes the original story text by Elizabeth Gaskell with narration concept & inspiration of Mary Shelley.

The team: AMELIA WOO (Penciller and Inker), SANDRA MOLINA (Colorist), DEARBHLA KELLY (Colorist), LAURIE FOSTER (Inker), & SAIDA TEMOFONTE (Letterer).

Official Synopsis:

“That night I dreamed of The Creature, pieced together from corpses, revived … and unloved. His tragedy has granted me immortality. Other women writers of my time have not been as lucky. Famous once, their ghostly stories now gather dust.”- Mary Shelley

Imagine if you will that one of the most renown female horror fiction writers of our time rose from the grave to lift up her contemporary female voices that would have otherwise been forgotten. It’s happening for real and the stories are here to haunt your dreams courtesy of Kymera Press as “Mary Shelley Presents Trade” Graphic Novel.  All the stories are adapted by award winning, NY Times Bestselling Author Nancy Holder ( Buffy the Vampire Slayer).  The original text of each short story is included in the back of each book, after the comic adaptation.

The first issue features Elizabeth Gaskell’s, The Old Nurse’s Story.  This story came to be after Charles Dickens’ asked Ms. Gaskell to write a story  for the 1852 Christmas special issue of Household Words magazine. It is a terrifying tale of evil and remorse.  

Spoiler Free Review:

Do you like novels? If not, this horror comic will make you a fan of novels and novelists. I say that because this is a unique graphic novel / comic that combines the work of real novelists with creativity of comic to make an entertaining, thrilling and educating book that has comic as well as the original novel story text included in the same book for a reasonable price. The comic provides a visual presentation of a classic horror story from a famous author and the introduction makes it feel like novelist, Mary Shelley is telling us the tale herself!

      In this comic issue, we experience “The Old Nurse’s Story” which is an actual classic story by a real life author & novelist called Elizabeth Gaskell. The introduction has the Frankenstein creator, Mary Shelley, explaining her story, her sorrows and as the front cover shows, we see her creation, Frankenstein’s monster comforting her as she is imagined as being a ghost in the present time narrating the story to you. I really like this creativity that has made Mary Shelley the main narrator of this comic series, and this being the first issue, you might need to read the introduction pages carefully as it takes some time to realize that there are two layers of narration. The first is Mary Shelley telling Elizabeth Gaskell’s The Old Nurse’s story and then within the story, we see the aged Nurse Maid / Guardian of a grown up lady whose children she’s narrating the ordeal of how their mother and she survived a creepy incident when their mother was just a child. That’s the core of the horror story.

       If you are a fan of English Literature or maybe through your studies, you might already know about the famous story by Elizabeth Gaskell but still, without much spoilers, let me tell you that the story is a Victorian era story of a guardian (Nurse Maid) & a young girl arriving at a big mansion belonging to an elder rich lady who has a sad and remorseful past. The mansion is cursed and a creepy music is heard when there is a snow storm outside. Things really get scarier as strange things and stories unfold with ghost sightings being the pinnacle of the horror story here. Essence of the story is the uncovering of the mansion’s history and also the lessons learnt from it. The story, with obvious finesse of the novelist, unfolds in a beautiful way that impacts you and makes you realize that there is a moral message to it as well. The real skill here is the fact that the graphic novel successfully captures the subtle and smooth way by which the twists and revelations are revealed. The adoption by Nancy Holder is brilliant, and well complimented by the realistic illustrations.

   Overall, the narration is beautiful, the comic art is exceptionally well made, and you are getting both- a comic book & the original novel text- in the same package, so, if you are a novel fan already familiar with the story then you get yourself a beautiful visualization of a timeless classic tale. The original text being there after the comic pages acts as an extra bonus, because it’s something special to be treasured for the fans, and for new readers, it might become a starting point for the further reading of engrossing Elizabeth Gaskell & Mary Shelley novels, besides the books of Nancy Holder.

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Purchase from the official Kymera Press website (Limited Edition)

Purchase the Standard edition.

Support the Kickstarter campaign for the Mary Shelley Presents Trade Paperback Graphic Novel!

The graphic novel collects previously published issues #1-3 and adds a 90-page double issue #4 that is brand new to fans. Full color and 200 pages this campaign is a must for any horror fan.  From options for retailers to digital options with partners like Fanbase Press.

Check out the Kickstarter here! (Only 12 Days Left to Support)

Sample Pages (From Issue 2 but the art style is similar):

Here’s a look at a few pages from the second book in the series. The story is titled Man-Size in Marble and is by Edith Nesbit with the graphic adaptation by Nancy Holder.  

Kymera Press Twitter

Kymera Press FaceBook

Author Nancy Holder’s Twitter

Nancy Holder’s Amazon.com Page

Nancy Holder FaceBook Page

Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was an English novelist who wrote the Gothic novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. She also edited and promoted the works of her husband, the Romantic poet and philosopher Percy Bysshe Shelley – Wikipedia

Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell, often referred to as Mrs Gaskell, was an English novelist, biographer and short story writer. Her novels offer a detailed portrait of the lives of many strata of Victorian society, including the very poor, and are of interest to social historians as well as lovers of literature – Wikipedia

Read the review of Issue 2: Horror Comic Review: Mary Shelley Presents Man-size in Marble by E. Nesbit
Read the review of Issue 3: Horror Comic Review: Mary Shelley Presents The Case of Sir Alister Moeran by Margaret Strickland

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