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Comic Book / Beautiful Darkness

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A French Fairytale/Horror comic book co-authored by Fabien Vehlmann & Kerascoët, which contrasts beautiful, bright watercolors with horrific imagery and brutal death. A group of tiny people makes a home out of the corpse of a little girl who died in the woods, but as the girl's corpse deteriorates, so does the fairy society. They quickly descend into Lord of the Flies-esque anarchy and violence.

Tropes found in Beautiful Darkness

  • Ambiguous Gender: Plim's pronouns are not revealed.
  • Ambiguous Innocence: The Fairies are all fairly blase about each other's gruesome deaths, it's clear they have no way to conceptualize what's happening. The exceptions are Aurora, who is genuinely kind until the end, and Zelie, who is genuinely cruel.
  • Anyone Can Die: And nearly everyone does. Aside from the main character and the mysterious man everyone else is either dead or unaccounted for by the final page.
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  • Asshole Victim: Zelie is horribly burnt to death, but [[spoiler:given that she knowingly buried Timothy alive and barely reacted to Hector's death, only crying at his makeshift funeral to look better in the eyes of the rest of the fairies, it's hard to argue she didn't deserve it.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Aurora is the friendliest and kindest fairy in the story, but turns absolutely vicious when pissed off.
  • Batman Gambit: Aurora lures Zelie and her followers to the stove, by telling Plim of a "nice secret place" and making them promise of not telling Zelie about it. Naturally, Plim betrays her and tells Zelie about it.
  • Black Comedy: Depending on your sense of humor much of the book can become this, particularly when you see a death coming a mile away and the oblivious victim doesn't. Bonus points if they deserved it.
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  • Body Horror: Nearly all of the fairies die in graphic and creative ways. Of particular note, the fairy who touches some mysterious plant, causing her hand to swell up and turn red and bumpy. Every time we see her after that the swelling is worse, traveling up her arms and across her body, eventually leaving her unable to move before it finally kills her. Over the course of the story, the body of the human girl slowly decomposes until there's barely anything left.
  • Break the Cutie: Aurora's innocence and compassion are slowly destroyed by the harsh world she finds herself in, culminating in her outright murder of Zelie and the others.
  • Bright Is Not Good: Bright, colorful watercolors, terrifying world of horror and death.
  • Buried Alive: Poor Timothy is tricked into being part of a "fake" funeral, which quickly leads to (probable) death.
  • Callousness Towards Emergency: The fairies have little reaction to seeing their brethren dying— a particular egregious example is an instance where one commits cannibalism mid-conversation with another fairy, and a third party witness hardly acknowledges the carnage.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Pretty fairies living in the woods, frolicking, having tea parties, killing each other, dying off painfully...
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: All of the fairies, with the exception of Aurora, die in very creative and graphic ways. From cannibalism, to internal bleeding, to capture by local wildlife... The group is whittled down over the course of the story.
  • Death of a Child: Zelie lets one of her followers take the baby that Timothy found away, then after leaving Timothy to be buried alive, simply leaves the baby on the ground and walks away. Many of the fairies seem very child-like, and some might actually be fairy children, and of course there is the dead little girl they were using as a home.
  • Dwindling Party: The story starts with a few fairies dying here and there, then more and more end up being killed until only a small handful are left. Then that small handful decides to antagonize the wrong person...
  • "Everyone Dies" Ending: All the fairies except Aurora die by the end.
  • Evil Is Petty: Zelie, again. She has no empathy for anyone but herself, and has fairies killed both directly and indirectly for no reason other than boredom.
  • Eye Scream: Aurora escapes through the eye of a dead young girl at the very start. Later she blinds a mouse in a rage.
  • The Fair Folk: The fairies, although bright and colorful, have more in common with this type of fairy than the cute Disney type. Their malice isn't directed towards humanity, but rather, each other.
  • Giant Corpse World: The fairies living in the corpse of a little girl who died in the woods.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Zelie, among other things, orders one fairy buried alive for being ugly.
  • Good Is Dumb: Timothy, one of the few fairies who seems to be rather kind rather foolishly gets into a pencil case for a "pretend" funeral and lets the other fairies bury them, without a single suspicion. However, evil isn't much smarter.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: One larger fairy casually pops a tiny fairy into her mouth and swallows her.
  • Kill It with Fire: Aurora tricks Zelie and her last surviving servants into the human's wood stove and locks them in.
  • Last of His Kind: By the end of the book every fairy save for Aurora herself is killed off.
  • Nemean Skinning: Aurora wears the skin of a mouse she kills.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: When the fairies are moving the dead girl's belongings, a notebook has the name "Aurora" written on it, which Aurora takes as her own name.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Timothy's hair always covers the left side of her face to hide the fact that she only has one eye.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: The beautiful red-haired fairy, Jane, one of the few fairies who isn't stupid and/or evil, leaves the group early on when it becomes clear things are going downhill. We later find out Zelie caught up with her and murdered her.
  • Spoiled Brat: Zelie won't lift a finger to help anyone, criticizes Aurora despite all her hard work, and effectively sets herself up with servants and declares that everyone must call her 'Princess Zelie'. Almost everyone else is too weak-willed to go against her.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: A group of brightly colored, adorable woodland fairies dying in graphic and disturbing ways. Slightly subverted in that the fairies were never nice or innocent to begin with, and they happily kill each other the whole time.
  • Surprise Creepy: In the first couple pages, Aurora is enjoying a tea party in a round pink room, only to step outside through the eye socket. After that it quickly stops being a surprise.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • A fairy boy sees a bird feeding its chicks, so he sneaks into its nest and opens his mouth to be fed. The bird obligingly stuffs its beak all the way down his tiny throat — in the next panel he is choking and spitting up blood. And yes, this kills him.
    • The entire comic, really. A bunch of tiny fairies, with no magic and very few skills, end up unprotected in a forest filled with predatory animals and it ends exactly as one would expect.
  • Swallowed Whole:
    • Subverted. Zelie has Hector tie a string around his waist and go out to grab a ribbon she'd dropped in the water, only to be swallowed by a frog. When they tug the string to pull him back out, the frog barfs up his mostly liquefied body. We see him being buried the next page and at least his face and torso are in one piece.
    • A more straightforward example would be the small fairy a much larger fairy swallows in one gulp. She says she now "looks pregnant" and invites a third fairy to touch her belly, who remarks that she feels the "baby" moving.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Many of the main characters either backstab or abandon those that help them, even for petty reasons.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Although Aurora tries to save as many fairies as possible throughout the story, and prevent violence, by the end she has no choice but to kill or be killed.
  • World of Jerkass: Literally all of the fairies except Aurora are antisocial, self centered bullies who don't care at all when the others die.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Most of them, but Aurora in particular when she tries to make a little Peter Rabbit-style party for the woodland animals and they act as, well, animals.