The vast number of people who hear the name Madame Tussaud will associate the name with waxwork museums, the creepy factor of realistic likenesses of celebrities, or perhaps the delight of having one’s picture taken with one and confusing friends. But very few people will know anything about the woman behind the name.
British publisher Cinebook actually publish a graphic novel about Madame Tussaud, I’ve discovered. Called The Fascinating Madame Tussaud, and told in 104 full-color pages, the book is set in Paris in the 18th and 19th century, and follows the life of Marie Crossholz, who manages a wax museum set up by her father. Always enterprising, she learns that In exchange for bribes, some executioners allow her to mold the faces of guillotined aristocrats.
After the French Revolution and the profits she made thereby, Marie Crossholz became Mrs. Tussaud. Unhappy in her marriage, she leaves for London with the goal of establishing a wax museum there instead. Apparently this leads to other “tumultuous adventures” and thirty years later, in 1835, she offificially opens the Tussaud Museum of Baker Street in London, which today still actively adds new celebrities and attracts millions of visitors per year.
This graphic novel would make a pretty great gift for friends who are a little macabre-minded or just fans of the origin of pop culture in previous centuries. It also looks like it might prove an interesting feminist narrative following a business woman of single-minded vision.
Find this book on Cinebook’s website here.