Story, Art & Letters: David Chelsea
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
It’s supposed to be Spring here in the UK, but you wouldn’t know it. No sooner are we gifted with a pleasant, warm day than the temperature cruelly plummets once more. Flecks of snow drift free and easy across the capital, neither settling down nor leaving well alone. Further north, the snowflakes pile into obtrusive mountains of white, fluffy mess.
The nation is beginning to resemble the Kingdom of Narnia under the White Witch, trapped in its very own perpetual Winter of Discontent. From this jaded perspective, the protagonist of David Chelsea’s one-shot Snow Angel runs the risk of appearing less a benevolent hero than a foolhardy nuisance. But such cynicism acts as an invalid approach to what is an unconditionally innocent yarn. (Although, one wonders if the author is aware of the unintended meaning behind the “Valley of Minge” on page 29.)
The main body of the book concerns a young girl who regularly sneaks away from her parents to create a snow angel outside, thereby transforming into a living embodiment of the very same thing: halo, wings and long white locks are par for the course. Aside from using her powers to foil crime, this Snow Angel is utterly convinced of the undeniable virtues of snow, and sets about shifting the earth’s polar axis so that her new home in Tuscon is permanently blessed with sub-zero temperatures.
This bemusing plot point reinforces the binary between horrified adults and gleeful children faced with the prospect of eternal snowfall. Chelsea is duly aware that snow fantasies are predominantly held by the younger generation, and his book addresses them foremost with storybook panels of almost purely visual information, concisely coloured and reveling in a childlike innocence.
One key exception to the rule is a bizarre but harmless aside between a penguin and a snowman recalling at length the poor fate of President William Henry Harrison, possibly for the benefit of snow-bashing fogies everywhere. Chelsea indulges his creative mind again in a backup story entitled “The Kids Movie”, a step inside the silver screen that permits further fantastical tangents and a denser art style.
Still, the clue’s in the title; this overall volume belongs in the hands of a child who can still willfully identify with the worldview of the Snow Angel. Nothing matters except snow.