By Chance or Providence
A review by Hafsa Alkhudairi
By Chance or Providence is Becky Cloonan’s new graphic novel, containing three mini narratives. Under the themes of Gothicism, love, and the sublime, the gorgeous art and narration bring these stories to life. The stories each follow different characters under the names: Wolves, The Mire, and Demeter. Although the stories are short, they express a fully formed idea. The stories may keep you questioning, leaving the door open for further speculations and expansion, but they do leave the reader satisfied about the characters and stories.
The art of By Chance or Providence is gorgeous, subliminal, and Gothic. It was beautiful to look at, making the experience of reading the comic very enjoyable. There is an ethereal quality to the scenes. Cloonan’s art very memorable and impressionable. Loughridge’s colouring gave the art a vivaciousness and softness. However, the colouring style is also rough and jarring. The contradiction makes the artwork stand out as well as makes it more beautiful. If you just want to peruse the art, it will be well worth your time!
My favourite part, and I know this sounds silly, but I loved the concept sketches and illustration section. It showed the range of Cloonan’s talent. The reader can extrapolate what art piece belongs to what story easily. This section can be read/seen as a gallery of sorts, of how the stories evolved into a coherent narrative. Plus, there is a cool anecdotal story at the end that left me breathless from laughter!
Buy it! I honestly had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the experience of the narrative made me experience the sublime of Gothic tales by reading and seeing it as well. By Chance or Providence is beautiful and grotesque, creepy and beautiful, mysterious and clear. Becky Cloonan outdid herself with this graphic novel that speaks to the reader. It shows them different ways one can love and lose. So, go grab a copy! It was awesome!
To read what Becky Cloonan had to say about the comic, check out our previously published First Looks: By Chance or Providence.