Pirouette, an early indie series from then up-and-coming publisher Black Mask Studios, will be collected in trade paperback this week. The series is written by M. L. Miller and drawn by Carlos Granda who reunited on this creator-owned title after their work-for-hire Jungle Book trilogy published by Zenescope Entertainment. Pirouette generated some early hype for Black Mask at the time. As the publisher ramps up to return to publishing with a current slate of trade paperbacks rolling out over the past few months, it's interesting to see this 2014 debut finally reprinted in its entirety six years later.
Pirouette is a dark tale of a young woman, the title character, who was raised by "duplicitous clowns who entertain by day and menace by night." Pirouette has Disney movie dreams of leaving the circus life and its many hidden horrors behind, and Miller and Granda tell a captivating story of her attempt to break free and live a life free of all that facepaint. In their PR for this new release in trade paperback, Black Mask said:
M.L. Miller spins Pirouette with authentic darkness and depth of character, while Carlos Granda's sweeping, exuberant line art evokes all the exotic charm and mysterious gloom of Pirouette's shadowy big top.
While M. L. Miller would go on to create Gravetrancers for Black Mask, this early work generated some hype from major creators. Namely, Charles Soule, the man who dominated solicitations across the board for quite some time, the man of both the law and the paneled page. Soule said of Pirouette:
"I loved Pirouette! It's hard to think up a more story-friendly setting than an old-timey circus and M.L. Miller and Carlos Granda make the most of it!"
Indeed, Miller and Granda are quite the team. An underrated writer, Miller's writing provided memorable comics for both Zenescope and Black Mask at a time when the former was overlooked, and the latter was emerging. In a key sequence in Jungle Book, Miller illustrated through slowly transforming lettering how regular humans heard the speech humans that lived on Kipling's Reach. Miller knows how to play with the format of comics to great effect, and those looking for an interesting read would be smart to give his Pirouette from Black Mask a shot.