Harlequin Valentine (graphic novel)
Harlequin Valentine is a graphic novel written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by John Bolton and published in 2001. The book is adapted from a short story of the same title Gaiman wrote which was first published in Strange Attraction in 1999. The story was inspired by art made by Lisa Snellings-Clark and uses the traditional Commedia dell'Arte and Harlequinade as its guide.
In the book, Harlequin, a supernatural trickster, pins his heart to the door of Missy, a woman he has fallen in love with, as a Valentine's Day present. She assumes it's a morbid joke played on her by her former boss who works at the morgue, but, after visiting him, she discovers he isn't the culprit. Harlequin sneaks after her, invisible the whole time, playing tricks on those around him, as Missy tries to unravel the mystery. But, the way in which she does is very unexpected.
Harlequin Valentine was on of the first stories I read in Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders, and it is also one of my favorites. After looking into it more, I discovered that it had been adapted into a graphic novel. I found a cheap used copy online and bought it. Strangely, the copy that was shipped to me included an old ticket to a museum in Tel Aviv, Israel! I finished reading it on 2022-04-13.
I own a hardcover US first edition.
- The story itself is wonderful — both morbid and romantic — it makes me feel good.
- Being fully illustrated, the visuals really help give the story more life.
- I don't care much for how John Bolton used photographs as a basis for his art. I would have preferred actual drawings or paintings.