Skottie Young’s I Hate Fairyland is the most putridly adorable book I have ever read. It is also quite possibly this year’s most well-written, pun-rife riot; and if you’re skipping it, you are missing out on one hell of a sugar rush. Or is it cocaine? Hell, with this book, it’s probably both. The second issue of I Hate Fairyland continues to follow the dimensionally-misplaced Gertrude, whose 37-year-old mind remains trapped within her eight-year-old body, after first being whisked away to Fairyland years ago and told to find a magical key to return home. She still hasn’t found that key (though not for want of trying), and has, as a result, gone crazier than a shit house rat. Of course, therein lies the book’s gruesome and infectious charm; more on that later.
Having recently found herself victorious in an off-panel battle against a barbarian hitman sent by the otherwise benevolent Fairyland ruler, Queen Cloudia, Gertrude continues on her quest for the key home. In the process this time, she drunkenly propositions an anthropomorphic frog, spelunks the blown-out chest cavity of a “giggle giant” (not a penis euphemism) and enters into the pitched axe slaughter of ravenous faun zombies. And fuck me if this isn’t the purest fun I’ve had with comics in a long time.
The best word I can use to describe I Hate Fairyland is cathartic. “All-ages” books with saccharine moral lessons about magical friendship are all the rage these days with grown ass adults. And that brings out all the rage in me. So when I see Gertrude -- a late-30s grump forced to drown in a perpetually churning sea of cute -- lash out in gory, hilarious fashion, it feels like someone is hugging my goddamn insides.
At the same time, Young doesn’t lean on the same crutch that many other so-called all-ages comedy writers do; that is, with a forced millennial vernacular. In fact, he makes up his own slang here and manages to be all the more hilarious throughout the issue for it, without instantly dating his writing. Combined with his visual gags, the endearingly deranged banter with which he venomously colors his dialogue and a story that is genuinely one of the most imaginatively written to have hit the stands, I Hate Fairyland has already, for me, become not just an instant classic, but a great formula for how to undermine genre.
The art of I Hate Fairyland #2 is the comic book equivalent of the world’s brightest, most adorable snuff film. I know there are some folks out there who aren’t Skottie Young fans, possibly owing to an over-saturation of his work on variant covers, but I personally can’t get enough of his thickly-bordered simultaneously enchanting-yet-disgusting style in this book. Its Nickelodeon meets heroin chic, and it snarls tantalizingly behind the electric pastel veneers of Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s incredibly vibrant colors. The effect is dizzying, like looking at a coloring book while tripping face in a seedy red light district.
Rounding out this book’s total package feel is the playful lettering of Nate Piekos, whose efforts to creatively convey voice (be it in Gertrude’s drunken wavy slur or the standout pseudo-profanity that looks like censorship stickers) are outstanding, and should not go unnoticed.
I never thought I’d have this much of a blast with I Hate Fairyland, but even after only two issues, it has turned into one of my most anticipated monthly(ish) reads. Clever, cuddly and raucously caustic, it scratches an itch I never knew I had.
I Hate Fairyland #2 Writer/Artist: Skottie Young Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu Letterer: Nate Piekos Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 11/18/15 Format: Print/Digital