One of the earliest short stories in The Witcher saga is getting a graphic novel adaptation by Dark Horse. The Witcher: A Grain of Truth will adapt Geralt's encounter with Nivellen, a man cursed to bear the semblance of a beast, who hides a secret much darker than his hideous appearances. This story, the latest in a series of The Witcher graphic novels, is the perfect showcase of The Witcher's creator Andrzej Sapkowski's unique brand of storytelling and his ability to spin fairytales and folklore into modern and compelling stories.
The Witcher began as a series of short stories written by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, which then expanded into a fantasy saga comprising six novels and a total of 15 short stories, all revolving around the Witcher Geralt, a professional monster hunter, mutated and raised to be the perfect killing machine, who travels through a grim world where the most dangerous monsters are usually the humans. The Witcher soon gained a cult following in Poland and Eastern Europe, but true worldwide success came after Polish video game developer CD Projekt Red adapted the saga into a trilogy of best-selling games. Since then, The Witcher became one of the most appreciated fantasy products of the past decades, as proved by the success of the recent Netflix series, which also adapted A Grain of Truth for one episode. Dark Horse owns the rights for The Witcher comics since 2014 and has released many books, not based on Sapkowki's works but presenting original stories.
The Witcher: a Grain of Truth is an exception, as it adapts one of the earliest Geralt stories written by the Polish author. The graphic novel is written by Jacek Rembis, drawn by Jonas Scharf and colored José Villarubia, with cover art by Kai Carpenter. In the story, Geralt comes across a derelict mansion in the woods where he meets Nivellen, a beast with the faculties of a man. Due to a past sin, Nivellen has been cursed to bear that monstrous appearance, and only true love will set him free. However, despite his best attempts, he was unable to break the curse, until something even more dangerous took residence in his mansion. Dark Horse shared a preview of the book, which you can enjoy below.
A Grain of Truth is perhaps the best story to understand why the world of The Witcher is so compelling. It is based on the classic tale of The Beauty and the Beast, from which it borrows characters and symbolism. However, Nivellen is fully aware that his curse resembles those seen in fairy tales, so he tries to take advantage of it in a humorous but also cynical way. Geralt's job is to see through the deception, which means lifting the glamour that every fairy tale uses to hide the dark, ugly truths behind them. There is a moral in every The Witcher story, and while it's usually an unpleasant one, it's also a lesson that readers don't easily forget.
The comics published by Dark Horse have done a great job in expanding the universe of The Witcher, and this graphic novel is the perfect way to go back to Geralt's earliest adventures and enjoy them in a different format.
Fans of The Witcher should not miss A Grain of Truth, available now in comic shops and coming soon to bookstores too.