Polly Guo is a storyboard artist for Adventure Time, Dreamworks and various well regarded animated shorts.
She made a comic called Gawain’s Girlfriend and the Green Knight that is one of the best comics I have ever read.
It’s an echo on the poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, a medieval manuscript about loyalty and honesty. In this version, we see the girlfriend Gawain left behind undergo a quest to rescue him from the Green Lady. Along the way she loses everything and finds…well you must read it to find out. It feels like a version of the story that has existed for 500 years.
Like the best fairy tales, Guo’s comic hits you right in the heart with its naked tableau of love and sacrifice. Guo gave a trigger warning for themes of abuse, some violence and nudity, and sadly the comic is her own way of dealing with abuse in her own life. That is what gives it its blistering power. A print version exists, but, this comic rivals Emily Carroll for using the comics scroll itself as a storytelling device as the unnamed heroine goes to the depths of a lake to find her love. The drawings as simple but perfect, like a great storyboard.
Gawain’s Girlfriend and the Green Knight
by Polly Guo
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.