Sunday, May 25, 2014

Four Color Fairy Tales: Fairy Quest.

Y’know, one of the nice things about knowing other fairy tale fans is that they’re able to let you know when other fairy tale stuff is happening that you might have missed.   For example, InkGypsy of Once Upon a Blog sent me a link to Bleeding Cool the other day that let me know that there was more Fairy Quest hitting comic book store shelves in August.

What is Fairy Quest, you may ask?  Fairy Quest is an independently produced comic book written by Paul Jenkins and drawn by Humberto Ramos, two well-established comic book pros.  The comic is completely owned by the people who created it and licensed for publication by Boom! Studios.  It was also funded largely by a Kickstarter campaign.  I supported the Kickstarter for the first volume of Fairy Quest.  As a result, it not only got a comic book published but also netted me some sweet refrigerator magnets (pictured below) as well as a sticker I seem to have misplaced and a wallpaper for my computer desktop.

            Fairy Quest is what I like to call a “fairy tale rally” comic, in that it draws characters and ideas from various different fairy tales, children’s stories and nursery rhymes.  The story takes place in a land called Fablewood where all the characters from all the stories you’ve heard exist.  Now, it turns out that Fablewood is under the thumb of a man named Mr. Grimm who forces the characters to play out their stories over and over again with no variation or deviation at the risk of harsh punishment.  The worst of those punishments is something called the Mind Eraser.  The Mind Eraser is a machine that brainwashes characters into acting just as Mr. Grimm wants them to.  Now, the problem is that certain characters have started to deviate from the story in secret.  Cinderella yearns to stop going to the ball every night and, perhaps most scandalous of all, Little Red Riding Hood has become friends with the Big Bad Wolf.  The chips really hit the fan when Mr. Grimm finds out about all this.  Cindy Rella (Cinderella) gets Mind Erased and Red and Mr. Woof (Big Bad Wolf) make a run for it.  Their only hope is to find a mysterious place called Realworld, where they might be free of Mr. Grimm’s influence.

            Now, I’m not usually one for Little Red Riding Hood stories, especially ones where they reform the wolf.  I kind of find those to be done to death (hey, at least this one doesn’t turn the wolf into a love interest).  However, I'm willing to look past that because Fairy Quest is just a whole lot of fun.  The notion that the characters feel more imprisoned by their stories than anything is a neat twist as is their salvation coming from a place called Realworld.  In a way, it means that living a fairy tale isn’t all that great and that all the characters want is to be real people.  The writing is great and I absolutely love the artwork.  That’s to be expected for me, though.  I’ve loved Humberto Ramos’s kinetic, cartoony big-eyed artwork ever since he worked on a DC book entitled Impulse.  One other nice thing about Fairy Quest is that it doesn’t push too hard into being a comic for adults.  The comic book industry is probably among the first to jump on the “fairy tales aren’t just for kids” bandwagon.  However, while that’s not inherently bad, it has resulted in kind of a one-sided approach to fairy tale comics.  Now, while comics like Fables and Grimm Fairy Tales are definitely adults-only, Fairy Quest keeps things much closer to a PG level.  Maybe PG-13 where some of the creepy Mind Eraser stuff comes into play.

So, I’d strongly suggest giving Fairy Quest a try as the fun little fairy tale rally it is.  The first miniseries Fairy Quest: Outlaws is out there and only two issues long, so it’s easy to pick up if you find it.  It’s also available in an oversized trade paperback.  You can check local bookstores for that or of course your local library.  Fairy Quest: Outcasts comes out in August and you can of course find that at your local comic book shop.  You can find a local comic book shop with THIS.

Have something to say about Fairy Quest or have some other fairy tale comics recommendations?  The comments are below.

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