The third volume of Fantagraphics’ monumental collection of Guido Crepax’s comics collects the “Baba Yaga” storyline, which recasts the witch of folklore (it was adapted for the screen in 1973 starring Carroll Baker as the middleaged, lesbian villainess). Under Baba Yaga’s influence, a doll, Annette, comes to life; Valentina and her lover, Philip, are forced to act out the fairy tale Bluebeard; and Philip must fight the witch in her lair to save their kidnapped child.
Evil Spells also features the famed Italian cartoonist’s sinuous adaptations of several literary masterpieces: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw, and a giallo genre take on Edgar Allan Poe. Accompanying the stories are notes providing historical context, and an article by the director of the film. The oversized format and exacting reproduction standards perfectly showcase Crepax’s virtuosic composition, design, and draftsmanship, as well the boundless visual imagination that has inspired several generations of cartoonists and designers.