I feel like we’ve been here before. This modern spin on classic children’s stories and fables; the only added difference being the addition of nursery rhymes. This entire book confused me. Who’s the audience that this is geared towards? Children? Comic book readers? Casual readers? The only logical conclusion that I could come to is that it’s for fathers that read comics and find the idea of taking simple stories and making them demented cool. I don’t mean demented in a mean-spirited way either, I have absolutely no problem with demented. For instance one of the stories Jack, yes the Jack as he heads out to look for food due to his life being one of poverty. He finds a castle with a giant and the giant delivers his famous lines of, “Fee fi fo fum…” and so on. This gives Jack an idea as he trips the giant and then eats him. Demented right? It’s a bit strange to have a young boy portrayed as a cannibal and this is about the second story in.
There are several other stories that are simply goofy twists on the stories like “The Old Woman that Lives in a Shoe” which is more from the giant who owns the shoes perspective. Probably the cheesiest one was “Little Red Riding Hood” which also pulls from the opposite perspective this time from the Wolf and ends with Grandma’s house being Grandma’s Martial Arts School for Young Ladies. You can fill in the rest of the story for yourself I’m sure.
Personal favorites included Doug TenNapel’s “Rumplestiltskin” which was very fun and actually tried to do something different with the story in his own quirky way. It worked and stood out the most to me. Shannon Wheeler’s “Row, Row Row” also tickled my fancy with its simple idea and brilliant execution.
One thing is for sure, there is a lot of big name talent on the book. That doesn’t mean that it was all good and in fact most of the stories are just meh. Even the good ones didn’t smack me in the face and proclaim, “This is the best thing ever!” Rather it was more like, “You don’t have children why are you bothering to read this book while trying to find some redeeming value!?!” That’s the thing, this book is for a very niche audience and if you’re not a dad trying to introduce your child to a new generation of kids stories there is little to no reason to pick this book up.
It’s not bad by any means, but it’s so average that it basically makes it bad because of that fact. The art is really good, but not stand out good and the stories are just well told. The fact remains that there is nothing new here; no twist on an old idea that will do anything more than make you turn the page and wonder why you’re still going.
Score: 2/5 (Mostly because of the art throughout)
Publisher: Shadowline and Image Comics Price: $19.99 (They must be charging by the page for how long it will take you to read it and fully appreciate each page of art) Release Date: 2/29/12