Saturday, April 25, 2015

Nursery Rhyme Comics

Nursery Rhyme Comics follows the formula used by editor Chris Duffy in Fairy Tale Comics and Above the Dreamless Dead, start with some classic source material and get an all-star team of talent to illustrate those classics. I am glad to say that like those two aforementioned books, this one is also quite excellent. It features a bevy of talented artists, 50 in all, many of them well celebrated like Jules Feiffer, Roz Chast, Raina Telgemeier, Kate Beaton, Gahan Wilson, and Gilbert Hernandez.

The artwork is gorgeous and varied in superb manner. I love the multiple styles in here, and also that these nursery rhymes are depicted in punchy, one or two page spreads for the most part. Some of these adaptations are pretty literal:
A rare non-Love and Rockets Jaime Hernandez piece.
Others are set in exotic locales:
This picture just makes me smile.
Others rely on playful re-interpretation:
Dave Roman rules!
And a handful are funny, clever meta-commentaries on nursery rhymes:
Not going to lie. I laughed out loud at this one.
Taken together, this book is a treasure trove of fun, expertly crafted comics. I think it is best savored in small chunks, so that the reader can experience each nursery rhyme on its own terms without creating a blur by binging on these short tales.

All of the reviews I have read about this book have gushed as much as I have here. Kirkus Reviews gave it a starred review and summed up, "As much as the visual styles may vary, the high levels of wit and invention never falter." Elizabeth Bird wrote that this book "gives kids everywhere a new way of encountering some essential cultural touchstones." Stumptown Trade Review called it "a fun and unexpected delight."

Nursery Rhyme Comics was published by First Second, and they provide a preview and much more here.
I can't stop posting preview pages!

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