Probably my favorite sketch from proto-Wet Hot American Summer troupe show, The State, follows a sitcom-esque gathering of friends eating dinner. When one guest inquires about the “delicious green felt meat” they’re all enjoying, the host affably reveals it is, in fact, “muppet.” He goes on to demonstrate how one hunts muppets, which mostly involves asking elementary word problems aloud and snapping the necks of the happy muppets when they arrive to help answer them. It’s gruesome, hilarious and illustrates perfectly what I love so much about Scottie Young’s first creator-owned book, I Hate Fairyland.
I Hate Fairyland #1 does what it says on the tin, following the magical misadventure of a young girl -- the maniacal-looking Gertrude on the cover -- who one day wished she would be whisked away to an enchanted world, à la Alice or Dorothy. And while her desire to set upon a magical quest comes true, it doesn’t go according to plan. (Keen observers might have already figured that out from the massive bloody battle-ax on the issue’s cover.)
Twenty-seven years later, Gertrude is still stuck there, having not grown in stature or physical maturity, but instead bitter in her inner-adult jadedness, as she continues to look for the key to going home. Aided only by her cigar-chomping fairy housefly companion, Larrigon Wentsworth III, Gertrude’s once youthful exuberance has twisted into murderously bored and frustrated bloodlust, such that even the good-hearted Queen Cloudia, who brought the girl to this world, wants her dead and gone.
As we follow Gertrude along her ill-fated path toward home, we are treated to a veritable buffet of well-written, beautifully-rendered misfortune rife with creatively cutesy cursing, thievery within fairyworld’s red-lit underbelly, the cannibalism of adorable magical creatures, drug-induced hallucinations and even celestial genocide. And it’s bloody perfect. Literally.
In his capacity as both artist and writer, Young does a spectacular job of marrying his innocent aesthetic with the story’s decidedly adult, if not content, then verve. In fact, undoubtedly the best part of I Hate Fairyland is that parity: the way its starting premise, story and art directly undermine each other, in a way similar to something like Rat Queens, which bucks tradition in a likeminded way.
Drawn in Young’s instantly recognizable, ostensibly “all-ages” style, its at-first cutesy look belies its fangs and viscera, a presentation made all the better thanks to the bright, pastel palette of colorist Jean-Francois Beaulieu, who, with a measured, in-on-the-joke hand, skirts the balance Young has established beautifully in the story.
Even outside of its concept, I Hate Fairyland proves to be goddamn hilarious, making me legit laugh out loud a few times thanks to its parity of on-point comedy writing and sparkle-sodden visuals. The scene pitting Gertrude against the toadstool guard was particularly knee-slapping, but to be honest, the entire reading experience succeeded in carving a wry, sugar-coated smile on my face just like that episode of The State.
I Hate Fairyland #1 is the comic book equivalent of snorting a whole packet of Pixie Stix, or mainlining a bushel of Sour Patch Kids. It’s weaponized sugar, and barring any unexpected crash, we can all look forward to reveling hard in its high every month.