By Katie Skelly. Published by Fantagraphics.
Hardcover, 112 pages, Colour, 2020.
The scandalous true crime story about the Papin Sisters, as told by one of comics' most stylized talents.
Christine Papin, an overworked live-in maid, is reunited with her younger sister, Lea, who has also been hired by the wealthy Lancelin family. They make the estate's beds, scrub the floors, and spy on the domestic strife that routinely occurs within its walls. What starts as petty theft by the maids — who are flashing back to their tumultuous time in a convent — shortly turns into something more nefarious. Madame Lancelin's increasingly unhinged abuse ignites the sisters' toxic upbringing and social class exploitation and explodes into a ghastly double murder, an event that shocked and fascinated 1930s France and beyond. Maids has high bravura and high intrigue, all drawn in Skelly's highly stylized manner, which combines the best of pop art, manga, and Eurocomics.
"Skelly's latest venture, Maids, continues to excavate her obsessions with symbiotic friendships, control that runs generations deep, and personal liberation… Maids finds Skelly at the height of her visual and storytelling powers and promises to be one of her most twisted visions yet." — Rachel Miller, feminist media scholar, Ohio State University
"This subversive horror story will satisfy readers who like their crime stories served with gender and class analysis and a pretty whipped topping." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Maids draws striking power from the way Skelly fully embraces the potential of her format." — Book Page
"Skelly's perceptive examination of the complex bond between [the Papin sisters] evokes incredible sympathy for the two." — Library Journal
"Katie Skelly has become one of the most distinctive voices in the US alt comics and minicomics scene over the last few years." — Broken Frontier