Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists

This book features an all star team of creators retelling an all star team of fairy tales from across the world. I felt it was a very impressive collection of well drawn and expertly told tales. It is hard to pick one story as my favorite, but if I had to narrow it down to two, I am very partial to Luke Pearson's version of the Japanese tale "The Boy Who Drew Cats"

and Joseph Lambert's retelling of a Br'er Rabbit tale "Rabbit Will Not Help."

Also, Graham Annable's wordless version of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" had me laughing out loud.

Nevertheless, there is a wide range of excellent work contained in this book, told in very different styles and covering many kinds of stories, horrific, funny, sad, and adventurous. Among the other strong works in these pages are:

Gilbert Hernandez's bright retelling of "Hansel and Gretel"
His brother Jaime Hernandez giving us a spacy, wonderful "Snow White"
Comics veteran Ramona Fradon drawing the surreal and magical "The Prince and the Tortoise"

David Mazzucchelli's take on the creepy "Give Me the Shudders"
Craig Thompson sharing "Azzolino's Story Without End"
Raina Telgemeier's fun and feisty "Rapunzel"
Charise Mericle Harper's version of a strange English tale " The Small-Tooth Dog"
Gigi D.G.'s expressive version of "Little Red Riding Hood"
Brett Helquist's textured and impressionistic version of "Rumpelstiltskin"
And these are only some of the stories contained in this anthology! I did not think any one of them was a clunker, and what is more, there are endnotes that I found helpful when I ran into a story I did not know and wanted to learn more about. I also like the range of creators, and I am glad to have seen some relatively new folks mixed in with established ones I was very familiar with.

Editor Chris Duffy gathered all of these artists and stories, and he also wrote the adaptation to "The Prince and the Tortoise." A veteran in the field, he edited Nickolodeon Comics for 13 years, as well as the Bizarro Comics anthology for DC Comics and Spongebob Squarepants comics for Bongo Comics. For more about this book and how Duffy chose the stories and artists he did, check out this interview at Good Comics for Kids.

All of the reviews I have read thus far have been very positive. Publishers Weekly wrote, "Duffy has assembled a dazzling lineup of comics versions of more than a dozen fairy tales in this hilarious follow-up to Nursery Rhyme Comics." The librarians at Stacked were more measured but still called it "a great collection for young readers who may come to many of these stories with new eyes, never having read them anywhere else before." Michael May summed up the book nicely as "a fascinating look at modern culture through the lens of classic stories, but that’s what grown-ups are going to get out of it. For children, it’s simply an exciting, funny, beautifully drawn collection of unique versions of their favorite tales."

A preview and more are available here from the book's publisher First Second.

Thank you, Gina, for the review copy!

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