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Comic Book / The One Hundred Nights of Hero

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The One Hundred Nights of Hero is a graphic novel by Isabel Greenberg. It's set in the same universe as her earlier work The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, and shares a few characters, but is a separate story - stories, rather.

Its plot, very briefly: two men, Manfred and Jerome, make a bet about whether Manfred can seduce Jerome's wife Cherry while Jerome is out of town for a hundred days. Manfred intends to win the bet, even if he has to rape Cherry, which is a problem because "unfaithfulness" will result in Cherry's execution. Her maid Hero, who she's in a relationship with, comes up with a clever solution: she'll tell stories to Manfred for a hundred days and so keep him from raping Cherry.

This is simultaneously a framing device (we see several of Hero's stories) and the core plot.

This work contains examples of:

  • Ancient Tradition: It's not actually very ancient (Hero's mother was involved in its creation), but the League of Secret Storytellers fits otherwise.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: They're apparently all considered equally bad on Early Earth, but Cherry and Hero are convicted of and executed for witchcraft, reading while female, and sassiness.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: The three youngest of the twelve princesses became moons after being trapped in the mirror realm. At the end of the story, the youngest (who may be Hero's grandmother) comes to rescue Hero and Cherry from their execution; they become a constellation, and will always be together.
  • The Bet: Jerome is going out of town for a hundred days, and bets Manfred his castle that Manfred can't seduce Jerome's wife during that time.
  • Child Ballads: One of Hero's stories is based on Two Sisters.
  • Defiled Forever: Even if Manfred outright rapes Cherry, she'll be executed for not being faithful to her husband.
  • Distant Prologue: The story begins with Kiddo creating Early Earth and her father BirdMan taking it from her.
  • Dystopia: Some places on Early Earth are reasonably nice, but Migdal Bavel is a horribly sexist theocracy.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Hero and Cherry go through a lot of unpleasantness for it, but at the end of the story, the power of the theocracy is broken, stories and reading are celebrated again, and they get to become a constellation.
  • Fairy Tale: One of Hero's stories is based on The Twelve Dancing Princesses.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: If Hero's grandfather's story was true, her mother is half human and half Moon.
  • Jaywalking Will Ruin Your Life: Being a woman who can read will get you executed in Migdal Bavel. Sassiness is apparently also a crime, although it's unclear how bad it is.
  • Jerkass Gods: Kiddo is fine. Kid doesn't show up enough to say one way or the other. But BirdMan, who's the primary deity of Migdal Bavel, is a sexist dick.
  • Loving a Shadow: The man who marries the youngest daughter in the story of the dancing stones loves his idea of her, who is nothing like the actual girl.
  • Magic Mirror: The glass house the twelve princesses are kept in turns into an entire room full of these at night. They use it to cross to a magical realm and dance all night. If the mirrors are broken while they're in the mirror realm, they'll be trapped there forever.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: The father of the twelve princesses, when he realizes that he's trapped his three youngest daughters in the mirror realm forever. He tries to rebuild the house so they can use the new mirrors to cross back, but it doesn't work.
  • Out of the Frying Pan: Hero's means of keeping Cherry from being raped and executed for unfaithfulness works! It also results in the two of them being convicted of witchcraft, which they'll be executed for.
  • The Power of Love: BirdMan adds it to Kiddo's world. It is specifically called out as the driving force behind assorted incredible feats.
  • Religion of Evil: Worship of BirdMan isn't evil, per se, but it's pretty awful to live under.
  • Scheherezade Gambit: Hero's means of saving Cherry.
  • Secret Relationship: Nobody knows Cherry and Hero are together.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The sisters in the Two Sisters story. One is light-haired and beautiful and full of joy, but none too bright; her sister is dark-haired, more sober, and more intelligent, and possibly resents her sister marrying the man she loves enough to commit murder.
  • Standard Hero Reward: The man who solves the mystery of the twelve princesses is offered the twelve of them, for him and his eleven brothers to marry. He turns it down.
  • Stellification: At the end of the story, Hero and Cheryl become a constellation.
  • The Theocracy: Migdal Bavel is ruled by the Beaked Brothers, disciples of BirdMan. BirdMan being a Jerkass God par excellence, the Beaked Brothers are awful and Migdal Bavel is a dystopia.
  • Weird Moon: There's three of them. They're supposedly a king's three youngest daughters, trapped in a mirror realm a very long time ago. At least one can come to Early Earth and take human form.