Written by Sarah Vaughn
Art by Leila del Luca, Alissa Sallah, Gabriel Fischer, and Deron Bennett
Edited by Alissa Sallah
Published by Image Comics
Release date: February 14, 2018
Sleepless is a gorgeous fairy tale that adds the wonderful variety of humanity to the usual white-washed storybook fables media has so many times been regurgitated for us. Apart from this, though, it is a excellent story illustrated by artwork that very easily could be found among the pages of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It’s another great example of writer and artists coming together to produce a harmonious overall effort.
Sarah Vaughn’s world of Sleepless is created with care and builds upon a history that she has woven for this tale. While many comics run through a story at full speed, Vaughn’s story has been steadily building over the past three issues. This gives the reader time to acclimate to this world and its rich content of past and present events.
Sleepless almost feels like a G-rated version Game of Thrones but it doesn’t need the grittiness of that TV series to be even more likeable. The story has a warmth to it that exudes from the characters that populate this world. It’s refreshing to read a fantasy series that is filled largely by people of color and even better that they aren’t just thrown in as lip service.
Vaughn has constructed this issue with several panels that do not contain dialogue but instead shape the story by action and reaction. They are quiet moments that deliver much more than a whole page of text could and works beautifully. Learning more about Vaughn’s world is like exploring the digital world of a RPG as you progress though the story and reveal new fascinating facets.
Leila del Luca is the perfect match for Sleepless. Her gorgeous fairytale artwork compliments the elegance of Vaughn’s writing. Flipping through the pages of this book is like looking at lovely tapestries that recount the history of a time long ago. Where del Luca excels is her diversity in the design of her characters. Each person feels like an individual being and less like a stock character from an artist’s repertoire. In this issue she has the opportunity to draw many of the characters at an earlier time in their history and does so successfully. It is immediately discernible who the characters are in their younger form.
One of the best parts of del Luca’s art is her ability to capture the deep emotion that the characters are displaying. This is especially important for the scenes that have little or no dialogue and meaningful glances or glares. There are quite a few moments in this issue where characters share glances that could take up a whole page of written word.
Alissa Sallah and Gabriel Fischer provide wonderful colors for this issue. The characters all have rich skin colors, and the costumes are diversely colored. It’s gives the world a bright romantic feel to it and not a dreary medieval look that stories of this period can sometimes fall prey to. There is a good use of textures created by the colors used throughout. It only becomes obviously visible on occasion but adds to the feel of the book being a timeless fairy tale.
Deron Bennett handles the lettering very well making large chunks of dialogue easily readable. There are also a large number of sound effects in this issue that blend in perfectly with the story without pulling the reader out of the experience.
Overall, Sleepless, is absolutely a book you should be reading. Though it is slower paced than other books readers may be used to it is a welcome moment of escape. The art is a treat for the mind to absorb and the overall feel of the story is a very positive one. It’s an adult fairy tale without an ‘R’ rating, and this is a very good thing.
The Verdict: 9.0/10