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Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful... New Fairytale Comics!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

I am happy to report that we have some great new fantasy graphic novels in! The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen being notable among them. Yolen weaves a story around just enough stereotypes to turn them around and come out with a satisfactory egalitarian ending -- a great read. Yolen is one of the most prolific writers of our time, boasting 300+ books to her name (with CPL carrying 40+ of her YA and Adult titles). A great storyteller with a penchant for fantasy and extremely relatable characters, she ranges from writing children's books, to poetry (adult poetry among them), to novels. She has also partnered with many great artists throughout her career, such as Come to the Fairies' Ball illustrated by Gary Lippincott. Sacred Places illustrated by David Shannon is also a notable highlight among her illustrious ilk. In The Last Dragon artist Rebecca Guay fits right in there by creating a visual feast for the eyes with hints of Art Nouveau and the Pre-Raphealites. I like pretty comic books, it's true. Guay has also illustrated Black Pearls A Faerie Strand, a YA novel by Louise Hawes.

Pay the Piper is a modern rock n' roll twist on the Pied Piper -- Modern, urban fantasy at it's best. Another great Pied Piper re-telling that just hit the stacks is The Brixen Witch by Stacey DeKeyser

At the back of the graphic novel The Last Unicorn there is a spread of art by 5 different artists depicting the characters from the story. I'm assuming the artists auditioned to illustrate the final comic. The art was amazing, as were the artists they picked, and it made me wonder how the novel would have been different if illustrated by each artist. A picture is worth a thousand words and this concept - of seeing other artistic possibilities for the same book intrigued me. Then, along comes Spera by Josh Tierney! One graphic novel, one story, illustrated by five different artists, each depicting their own chapter! The most surprising thing about this really is how smoothly the story actually flows from artist to artist, yet each lends a particular flavour, slanting and enhancing the scenes at hand. And for those of you who just can get enough, there's a Volume 2 on order!

Although not new to our collection the following items are more than worth your while.

Castle Waiting is a great comic book that takes elements from fairytales such as 'Sleeping Beauty' and combines them with a good dose of humour and plots about bearded ladies, two-headed girls, pregnancy and hidden libraries... Arthur Rackham makes an appearance as a stork and there are lots of other humorous post-modern references sprinkled throughout. Linda Medley, the author, has been described as Arthur-Rackham-meets-Charles-DeLint-meets-Marvel-comics! I highly recommend her. And there's Castle Waiting II too. Funnily enough the intro is written by... Jane Yolen! Of Medley she says: "Once upon a time, which is how all good fairy tales begin (if you grew up in western culture), a child was born in the rural Salinas area of California. Or Califunny as those of us who live 3000 miles away like to call it. Which, if one were writing a fairytale would be prophetic. If one were drawing a comic, it would come with a banner: Here is born Linda Medley. Then an arrow to a group of trees, Rackham trees. A child sits with her back against the heavy bark, in her lap a drawing pad. There is a newspaper, folded to the comics page by her side, a copy of Grimm Tales... So I feel as if Linda Medley is an old friend who has written Castle Waiting just for me - a feminist fairy tale with attitude, heart, imagination, laughter, love and truth. Er, Truth." I heartily agree!

The Goblin Companion by Brian Froud has long been a standing favourite of mine. Although Froud is famous for his fairies I particularly enjoyed seeing how he would draw a goblin wife, what kind of tools each fool possesses, and in general the rough juiciness of his pencil drawings particularly suits a more ornery subject... such as goblins. Check it out!

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