Troll Bridge is a short story taken from an earlier collection of Gaiman’s work. As expected, the plot is nuanced and character driven. Artist Doran’s work is particularly beautiful in soft pastel watercolors well suited to a tale looking back on a life lived bittersweet.
story: Young Jack believes in the supernatural and so isn’t surprised when he stumbles across a troll under a bridge. Through a bargain, he promises to come back after he has lived more of his life and become tastier -and then the troll can eat him. As Jack lives his life and returns to the troll now and then, melancholy and regret set in about the life he has lived. Will he finally allow the troll his food?
Perhaps a metaphor for time and how it eats our lives, Troll Bridge is about memories and regrets – of the things done and not done. And the troll always represents the childhood full of potential that somehow wasn’t realized despite the promises made. One expects a deceptively simple story from Gaiman perfect for thoughtful evenings and this book does not disappointed.
Doran’s artwork is exquisite – perfectly realized full size drawings beautifully melding the fantasy with the reality. The use of frames within frames and carefully placed elements is especially superb – this was clearly a labor of love for her and this quality hasn’t been realized in her work since her very early A Distant Soil days (pre-Warp breakup). The soft pastel hues evoke a 1980s setting without actually needing it stated in the text and each page looks effortless in its simple complexity.
I haven’t always felt Gaiman’s had a good match of art to story in past graphic novel adaptations. But this really works here – story and art working together to create a modern day adult fairy tale. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.