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“Absolutely stunning and grotesque.” – Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing
Victor Hugo's scathing indictment of the injustice and inequality within Britain's political system tells a story of abduction, mutilation, loss and prejudice.
The narrative follows Gwynplaine, the two-year-old heir to a rebel lord, who is abducted upon the orders of a vindictive monarch, who has him mutilated (to produce a permanent, grisly smile), then abandoned. After years of living frugally he is re-introduced to the aristocratic life, and resolves to become the voice of the voiceless, whether he is heard or not.
In David Hine and Mark Stafford’s adaptation, Hugo’s impassioned, outrageous, and bizarre 19th-century novel – the inspiration behind the Joker in Batman – has found an ideal new form.
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“The Man Who Laughs is an excellent read, touching on themes of exploitation of the poor, love and humanity – all illustrated in Mark Stafford’s earthy style that nods toward a grim off-shoot of Quentin Blake’s looseness of hand. Stafford effortlessly captures the moods of each panel in rich detail and colour, as well as depicting the emotions and facial expressions of the ugly 17th century Lords of England so well! Worth reading for any avid comic book reader.”
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“Passionate and perversely beautiful.”
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“Given the distended reality of Hugo’s original, Stafford and Hine’s adaptation via the distorted glass of funfair hall of mirrors is perfectly apt, and their conversion of fictionalised allegory, to a full-blown romantic tragedy, a masterstroke.” – James Hoare