Review: The ‘Evil Thing’ Graphic Novels Brings New Layers to Cruella De Vil

Cruella De Vil has been in the limelight this year with a new live-action movie that was paired with an “origins” novel as well, but there is something about Valentino’s backstory that feels far more true to the devil woman we all know so well.

Following the success of Evil Thing, the story was recrafted into a gorgeous graphic novel illustrated by Arielle Jovellanos, bringing to life Cruella’s tragic and tormented past in the form of an illustrated memoir. 

Just as Valentino’s book guided readers through Cruella’s tenuous relationship with her mother, her friendship with Anita, and her descent into madness, the graphic novel does the same, but with vivid red-tinted memories. 

Arielle Jovellanos’ illustrations add a new layer to this chilling story, creating a minimalist color palette that maximizes the underlying moroseness of Cruella’s story.

How do you make a puppy killer sympathetic? You don’t, but Valentino makes readers rationalize what got her to that point. 

Her mother’s controlling and emotionally manipulative nature, the loss of her father, her strained friendship with Anita, the societal responsibilities of an upper-class woman, her husband’s sudden death, financial struggles, and a pair of potentially cursed earring.