Maids opens with a bloody eyeball casually lying on the ground, setting the scene for an uncanny retelling of the Papin Sisters' murder of their wealthy employers. The dialogue here is succinct but Skelly's artwork deftly conveys themes of class tensions, power, femininity, and female rage. The Papin sisters' close relationship was enigmatic to the French public, and Skelly explores this inscrutable dynamic between them; juxtaposing scenes of their earlier life in the convent with their present life serving the Lancelin family, she depicts their knowing looks and cryptic speech, offering glimpses into the Papins' private world. Fraught with tension behind its glossy, girly veneer, Maids is a graphic novel that reminds us not to underestimate the power of women pushed to their limits.
Maids, by Katie Skelly