Fairytale Theater

Posted on February 25, 2010 by


Once upon a time in a land far away when fairy tales were told in leather bound books with no pictures a series of stories were unfolded onto these pages. These were tales of girls brought back from the dead, princes finding love, and magic in all ranges. Now as we have evolved and writing has become embedded with art we learn that these story tellers missed a few things. Did you know Cinderella was a spy? Mary Jane was Red Riding Hood? Alice was sacrificed to Wonderland?

It is true my little kiddies. Time has washed away the happy Disney movies of youth and had them replaced with the true grit and fun of the original stories we all know and some love.  Even the fables of lore were re-written to exist in these days. Cinderella went from a quite abused girl seeking a better life to a secret calculating spy with a loud mouth alter ego.  Nothing is going to be the same again, but is this a good or bad thing?

If they had these fairy tales when I was growing up I think I would have read even more. Sorry, but I do not remember Mother Goose looking that hot. While not everything in this world is perfect and amazing there are some titles though that knocks things out of the park on a regular basis. For the art side alone I will advise you to check out Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tale series. Here’s a small battery of some of their covers. Enjoy and do not drool over your keyboard. **Legal Note: Wicked Cool Comics and affiliates will not refund any damages caused by drooling at the following pictures**

Those are just covers with Red Riding Hood (and just the covers I can get away with showing). Art isn’t everything though and I do love the dark stories as well. It is very hard to find great art mixed with some great story telling. Is it worth it though to see these stories being told by a slightly devious woman playing a new age Mother Goose? Well, thankfully not everything revolves around that sort of story.  Sometimes the storyteller wants to weave a whole new version of the classics to give a different flavor when grinding your bones into bread.

Enter the new age storytelling of Fables. Published by Vertigo comics since 2002 this series takes the characters and kicks them into reality. Cinderella is a spy, the Big Bad Wolf is a Sherriff, and Snow White booted Charming’s cheating butt to the curb. Take that Shrek! C’mon you know you were wondering how that guy got around without ever getting in trouble. This series explains that not everything was perfect and sometimes you just gotta look at the reality of the situation (the reality of made up stories? Hey, it’s still a good series.)

Not every re-telling can be golden and perfect. There was a time not too long ago that Marvel went a little crazy with the fairy tales coming out everywhere. X-Men had a bit of fun, Spider-Man got in on the action (is there anything Marvel does without this poster boy?) and even the little abused Avengers got a shot at the spotlight for this one. I won’t say everything was bad about these, but there were a few that were definitely cringe inducing.

The major flaw with this series though is actually not the writing or the art. It is having to forget you know these characters by heart and seeing the stories as true stand alone joy rides. Parker plays a decently pathetic woodsman who still works for Jameson and who still thinks that Spider-Man is helping the wolves. Yeah induced any cringes yet? How about a re-telling of Peter Pan with Captain America playing the leading role? The biggest flaw on the creation end is that a lot of the time it seems the writers couldn’t forget they were using characters they knew by heart. Is that a bad thing though?

So there you have a small mix of what the world of comics has to give us for bringing back our beloved memories of Grand Ma reading us fairy tales. Okay maybe not the Zenescope ones. Grand Ma was not that weird. You have your ups and your downs, but it is always nice to see new tales getting out there. Remember in the end companies like Disney altered the Happily Ever Afters into most of these stories and made them a lot more childish. Proof we have always gotten second hand versions of these tales. I personally prefer to see the darker side of the tales as they were intended and as the warnings of the times back then. C’mon you know The Boy Who Cried Wolf was the first “This is your brain on drugs.”

These are my opinions though. There have been many fairy tale / fable / folk lore told in comics. Go ahead and tell us what your favorite fairy tale comic book moment was. Do you like the “Hollywood” style treatment of just re-writing what already existed? Feel free to blow up comments on here or skip over to the twitter. While you are around on Twitter answer a few questions and they will give you magic beans! (What?  No more magic beans? Then what are we using? Geek points? Can those grow magic beanstalks??? Didn’t think so..)


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