A 250 word (or less) review of By Chance or Providence
by Becky Cloonan;
By Chance or Providence is a book collecting the independent comics of Becky Cloonan. Specifically, the book collects critically acclaimed comics Wolves, The Mire, and Demeter in a beautiful hardcover edition. While each comic stands alone, they all share common thematic elements of supernatural horror stemming from forbidden romance and are all set in medieval-ly Europe. In Wolves we see the story of an exiled werewolf hunter, in The Mire a squire is sent with an important message to a haunted swamp, and Demeter sees a young woman with a fear of the sea and a secret, fear for her lover. For me, the appeal of the comics collected in By Chance or Providence is that they are triumphs of storytelling. While the overall plot of each chapter is somewhat familiar, each story is delivered with such skill and nuance that every chapter is a remarkably satisfying read. Becky Cloonan has long been a favourite artist of mine, but these comics really highlight her skills both as a sequential storyteller and as a really gifted writer. By Chance or Providence is also pretty neat in that the comic feels like that special home project of a master craftsmen, like the gorgeous guitar a luthier makes for their private use. It's.... really, really great. While By Chance and Providence might be tough to track down, you can still get its constituent chapters digitally through Comixology or in print from Cloonan's store. You owe it to yourself to check this out.
Word count: 249