Since 1968, this story has been capturing hearts and minds. My heart was taken prisoner in the late eighties when it appeared on TV and like many children I didn’t realize there was a book. Sad, but true.. now there is a graphic novel to call me back to this enchanting tale. It adds rich details that the movie did not and left me craving more. Thankful the local library has a copy of the original book waiting for me.
I have become a Last Unicorn addict and I want you to join me.
The story is about a unicorn who goes in search of her fellow unicorns upon hearing that she is the last of her kind. Her quest leads her away from her forest and into the lands of moral men. There she is seen only as a beautiful white mare because human beings have lost the ability to see creatures such as her. Well, most humans. Mommy Fortuna, voiced by the unforgettable Angela Landsberry in the film, finds her sleeping, realizes what she is and traps her.
At the Midnight Carnival, Mommy Fortuna along with her vile henchman, Ruhk, run the show passing off ordinary albeit sad animals as mythological creatures. Mommy Fortuna’s magic allows people to see the unicorn for who she really is as well as one other creature, a Harpy.
A quest as we all know cannot end with the heroine in prison so enters the cursed wizard Schmedrick who seeing the unicorn’s plight rescues her. She in turn rescues the other creatures trapped including the Harpy who takes revenge on Mommy Fortuna and Ruhk. It is then that we learn not to run from an immortal creature it only attracts their attention.
Along the way to find the other unicorns, we meet Molly Grue, a character who the author did not provide much background for, but was brought to life so beautiful by Tammy Grimmes in the movie that Peter Beagle was grateful to her. She is my favorite human character and reading her words in the graphic novel I was immediately reminded of the movie. Eventually, the trio makes it to the castle of King Haggard, who with the help of the Red Bull has driven the rest of the unicorns into the sea where they wait to return to the land.
Beagle created a classic tale which the movie brought to my generation and the graphic novel will bring to a new generation. The illustrations are truly beautiful and pay homage to the movie’s creations while bring in more of the original tales richness. They are both detailed and captivating. This is one book that will be finding its’ way into the hands of my nieces and nephews this Yule.