Roger’s Comic Rambling’s: First Second’s Fairy Tale Comics

Fairy Tale Comics

Fairy Tale Comics


by Roger Ash

A while back, I interviewed editor Chris Duffy about First Second’s Fairy Tale Comics. Now, I want to tell you how much I enjoyed this book. If you aren’t familiar with the book, it features adaptations of fairy tales; some well known (Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Puss in Boots) and some not as well known (Give Me the Shudders, The Small-Tooth Dog, Sweet Porridge!). The creators involved include Gilbert Hernandez (Luba), Jaime Hernandez (Love & Rockets), Ramona Fradon (Aquaman), David Mazzucchelli (Asterios Polyp), Craig Thompson (Blankets), Raina Telgemeier (Smile), and many others. As with most anthologies, I didn’t care for everything in the book, but most of the stories are a great deal of fun. Let’s look at a few of my favorites.

Bremen Town by Karl Kerschl

Bremen Town by Karl Kerschl


Rumpelstiltskin is beautifully adapted by Brett Helquist. The story is pretty much as I remember it, and Helquist’s art is gorgeous and worth multiple readings. Bremen Town by Karl Kerschl is a fairly faithful, though shortened, adaptation of the story of The Bremen Town Musicians with plenty of humor added in. The panels of the donkey showing off his singing skills crack me up, and the final page is wonderfully silly. My favorite of the stories I know is Graham Annable’s adaptation of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. The story is told without words, and it really doesn’t need them. The facial expressions and body language of the characters conveys their emotions and thoughts perfectly. The point of view shot of the bears as Goldilocks sees them for the first time is priceless.

The Prince and the Tortoise by Chris Duffy and Ramona Fradon

The Prince and the Tortoise by Chris Duffy and Ramona Fradon


Oddly, to me at least, my favorite stories in the book are ones I didn’t know. Give Me the Shudders, adapted from the Brothers Grimm by David Mazzucchelli, is about a boy who knows no fear. He angers a king by not being scared of him and has to stay three nights in a haunted castle. If he survives, the king will give him his crown. The story is great Halloween fun, and Mazzucchelli’s art is charming. The Prince and the Tortoise is adapted from the 1001 Nights by writer Chris Duffy with art by Ramona Fradon. Three princes fire arrows into the city. Where the arrow lands, that’s where their bride is. And the third prince’s bride is a tortoise. Of course, there’s much more to it than that, but I don’t want to spoil the ending. The story is fun and Fradon’s art is wonderful. Her drawings of the tortoise are fantastic and she gets an amazing range of emotions out of a character who you wouldn’t think you could do much with.

The Boy Who Drew Cats by Luke Pearson

The Boy Who Drew Cats by Luke Pearson


My favorite story in the book is The Boy Who Drew Cats, which is adapted from a Japanese story by Luke Pearson. The main character is a boy who does indeed like drawing cats. I mean, he really likes drawing cats. So much so that his father apprentices him to a priest and the priest boots him out. Spending the night in a haunted temple is a game changer for the boy. The story is very cool and kinda creepy, and the art is wonderful and perfect for the story. The boy’s continual comment of “I like drawing cats” gets sillier and sillier as the story goes on. Short stories are one of the most difficult things to do well, but when they are, as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing better. And this is an amazing short story.

First Second’s Fairy Tales Comics is a wonderful collection of fairy tales, both familiar and unfamiliar. And while it’s great for kids, don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s only for kids. These stories have stuck around a long time for a reason. There’s plenty here for adults to enjoy as well.

Now, go read a comic!

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Fairy Tale Comics

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  1. Westfield Comics Blog » Roger’s Comic Ramblings: My Favorites for 2013 Says:

    […] 5  Fairy Tale Comics (First Second) – The one non-collection on my list. It features adaptations of fairy tales, both well-known and unfamiliar, by creators including Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Bobby London, Karl Kerschl, David Mazzucchelli, and more. It’s a very fun book for all ages. If you want to know more about it, I reviewed it here. […]