At the True Believers Comic Festival this Saturday in Cheltenham, UK, comic creator P M Buchan will be unveiling the third of his four-part gothic-horror with artist Karen Yumi Lusted. The book, La Belle Dame Sans Merci tells a love story of two lost souls damned to hell and is based on the John Keats poem of the same name.
Buchan, the co-creator of Heretics from 44Flood, looks at this series as a contemporary exploration of the concept of the femme fatale.
Now that we’re approaching the end of La Belle Dame’s journey, it’s probably safe for me to confess that the plot was originally inspired by the Moors murders, carried out by Ian Brady and Myra Hindley. I’m not sure that anybody would have picked the first issue up if I’d been more explicit about this, but the idea of nature versus nurture is something that factors heavily into a lot of my writing, and I always wanted to apply that interest to the myth of the femme fatale.
The femme fatale is one of the most striking tropes in film noir, but I’ve always felt like you could trace her back further, at least as far back as the poems of the Romantics. Historically women have been blamed for a great many of men’s weaknesses, but saying that something is true doesn’t necessarily make it so, and the idea that some people are born bad doesn’t sit well with me.
The new 36-page chapter of the series features pinups by Sally Jane Thompson (Fresh Romance, Atomic Sheep) and Luna-Razuli, with design by Michael Stock (Heretics, The Kill Screen).