Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nightmares & Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time

Nightmares and Fairy Tales: Once Upon a Time

Serena Valentino

Date: 2004-03-31   —   Book

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Fiction, Horror, Graphic Novel

I love dark fairytales. And horror stories. And tales of things that go bump in the night. I can't go Goth, though; I'm too happy. But for your inner Goth, there's nothing like a horror comic based on traditional fairy tales.

Admittedly, the first two installments are more standard slasher horror in black & white, but the stories quickly turn to a dark retelling of Snow White, and an interesting take on Cinderella. There is also the tale of a little girl with horrible parents, and monsters in a new house. One wonders a bit how they ended up with such a sweet girl until one realizes that she's farmed out so much that she must be the product of sympathetic daycare workers and nice teachers.

All of the stories are told from the perspective of a tattered little doll named Annabelle, whose depiction hovers somewhere between Goth and emo*. And Annabelle says she has no happy stories, though quite honestly, some of them do end happily for some of the people involved (Cinderella, for one, though her step-relations fare far worse.) The artwork is beautiful if you're attuned to that style, though possibly bizarrely elongated for those unused to it. All in all, good stuff.

*Goths are the ones in the quasi-Victorian black clothing. Emo is the indie-rock crowd that follows twenty-somethings singing about how their lives suck because they don't have a six-figure job out of high school, or college is so hard. I have friends in both camps who will understand me making fun of them.

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