Lots of new Cruella origin stories have emerged with the release of the Disney movie. I got the chance to read and review Evil Thing: A Villains Graphic Novel which tells Cruella De Vil’s story in her own words. Read on for a full book review of Evil Thing by Serena Valentino.
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Evil Thing is a graphic novel that starts with getting a good look at Cruella as a young girl. Her mother is mostly absent but her father is supportive and loving. Tucked away at the De Vil estate, Cruella and her friend Anita prep for boarding school after Cruella’s father passes away from sickness. This begins Cruella’s descent into what we know as Cruella De Vil!
At boarding school, Cruella wields her power to protect Anita all the while with her mother completely out of her life. Her mother returns when it’s time to work out Cruella’s father’s will. The will stipulates that Cruella gets the entire estate unless she marries and changes her name. In that case, the estate goes entirely to her mother. Life progresses and Cruella falls in love with a man named Jack and loses touch with Anita. When a tragedy happens, Cruella descends into madness and becomes the dog napper we all love to hate.
Evil Thing by Serena Valentino is a great Disney graphic novel that tells an amazing story and brings some unique art. Valentino humanizes Cruella and I liked that the author made Cruella’s grief change her into a villain. It’s not a hatred of dogs, or men but sadness and loneliness that wreak havoc on her mental health.
I also enjoyed the in-depth view we get of Cruella and Anita’s friendship. Anita is a likable character who is pushed to the brink before ultimately becoming suspicious of the woman she loved and trusts.
The art is so cool in Evil Thing. Illustrator Arielle Jovellanos brings Cruella to life in a red-and-white palette and there are subtle changes in Cruella’s appearance as the book progresses. Small lines pop up in her face and her hair becomes more and more unkempt which parallels her mental health struggles.