Books, Medium, Reviews

Bloody and Beautiful: Review of Tredici: Hannibal Season Three Art Book

Tredici by Pangaea

Tredici: Hannibal Season Three Art Book

Pangaea (artist)
Orenda Studio
Hannibal (c) Thomas Harris, Bryan Fuller, and Delaurentis Co.

(Disclaimer: This book was provided as a review copy in exchange for an honest review)

Tredici: Hannibal Season Three Art Book by Pangaea stares you down with thick heavy lines and the piercing eyes of the titular character himself. Reminiscent of the iconic picture of Hannibal Lecter in a muzzle; staring out into the world with surety and chaos in his eyes. On the cover of Tredici is Hannibal, bathed in shades of red, an eerie mix between Mads Mikkelsen, and Anthony Hopkins, staring out at you with those same heavy lidded chaotic eyes.

Tredici was showcased at Small Press Expo this past September. When I saw the cover I was intrigued. Hannibal, the NBC television adaption, was a beautiful show in various aspects that swept up fans and created a cult-like following. Sadly, it was canceled this past summer, and another great, Constantine, was also lost. Let’s face it, NBC can’t handle genre shows. Both shows were simply too raw for a network whose biggest achievement is showcasing the lives of the whitest and worst people ever in Friends. With Hannibal’s passing, fans have taken up to near begging other networks (include streaming sites like Netflix) to pick it up. I hope their efforts won’t be in vein, because Hannibal was a truly epic show, and that’s showcased heavily in Pangaea’s Tredici.

Everything about Hannibal screamed sensuality that was a mix of subtle and in-your-face. Mads Mikkelsen’s titular character often teased both characters and viewers alike with his people-eating puns. Then there were moments where Will Graham, our dark would-be hero, dreams about waves, wendigos, and drowning all for some metaphor about the inner workings of his psyche. It was a strange, yet captivating invitation into the darker aspects of the well-known story of Hannibal Lecter.

In the inside cover of Tredici, Hannibal is bringing down a cleaver, making way to chop into a severed arm. The backdrop of the scene is serene, as if we’re looking into the home of a French chef (is this Hannibal cooking for Will in Florence?) happily hacking away, creating their next masterpiece. The image is striking, because it is beautiful yet horrifying, just like the show. The color palette used is bright, and light cascades through the honeycomb window behind Hannibal, who has an air of serenity about him. I found myself looking at the picture and feeling calm, then realized our “hero” undoubtedly just killed the person whose arm he was about to make steaks from.

Mads Mikkelsen S1 "Apertif" | Hannibal |

Hannibal on NBC cooking people in a ridiculously beautiful kitchen

Ah, the duality of Hannibal is so delightful.

For the following pages, each picture comes with an episode title from season three describing it. There were a few that stuck out especially for me. Secondo I found wonderfully striking with the usage of colors, thick lines, and overall imagery. Will faces the audience, but looking up, while standing back to back with a Wendigo (whom we know to be Hannibal in Will’s mind), who glances over at Will in longing. Everything is colored in darkness, with a heavy outline of light blue for contrast. A dark tree creeps up behind our two characters, as tiny spots of fireflies flutter about them. There’s an ethereal air to the image; as if it is somehow out of a fairy tale. Like most true fairy tales, there also exists a sinister quality, as light splashes of red melt into the dark clouds behind Will and the Wendigo. I have to say, of all the art in Tredici, Secondo may be my favorite of the bunch–can you tell by my gushing?

Though Secondo may be my favorite, the rest of the book has plenty of gems as well. There’s Dolce, which acts as almost a homage to The Rape of Persephone. Will, naked, is held tightly by Hannibal, as flowers burst out of wounds on his body like blood. It speaks to Will’s own journey in the show as well. The flowers signifying Will’s narrative “becoming” from a once-hero to a willing murderer alongside Hannibal, who forced his transformation as it were. It’s bloody disgusting, and yet utterly beautiful.

I also enjoyed the contrasting images of The Great Red Dragon and …The Woman Clothed with the Sun. With Francis Dorlarhyde (the dragon) standing before a full moon, eyes and mouth aglow while in the following page, Will stands before a half-moon (as if being consumed by darkness), drenched in blood and screaming. The second to last page is dedicated to the last episode of the series (but not the series finale hopefully!) The Wrath of the Lamb and features a domestic looking Hannibal and Will ready to eat at a table. The final image is simply of a heart with the words “Grazie Wille” below. It’s humorous and clever.

The Number of the Beast is 666 by Pangaea

The inside cover on the last page is also of Hannibal, continuing his work on the same arm that we saw when we opened Tredici. This time, the hand has been removed and Hannibal is bent over ready to slice skin and meat from the bone. I spy a ring on his finger, so I’m pretty convinced this is life after Wrath of  the Lamb and Hannibal is ready to make Will some tasty human styled homecooking.

All in all, I wouldn’t call Tredici a pretty book in the traditional sense. The line work is heavy, less clean than digital art, and it lacks technical skill in some areas. There were some images I wasn’t in love with, and I wish the book had more than one picture of Bedelia Du Maurier and Alana Bloom. There’s a lot to dissect in the imagery which reminds me more of a mix of traditional acrylics and watercolor paintings.  Pangaea put out an amazing product for showcase that’s a powerful homage to a great show.