Who remembers Grimm’s Fairy Tales? And I don’t mean the versions that Disney created, but the originals written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. The Brothers were not looking to amuse children, but to collect folklore and fairy tales. They were trying to preserve Germany’s oral tales and collected 209 tales during the course of their work. And these tales were grusome. In the original Cinderella, the Stepsisters cut off parts of their feet in order to fit into the gold slippers (yes, that says gold, not glass). The wicked queen in Snow White was forced to wear red hot, iron shoes and danced until she died.
Not just the Brothers Grimm, but other story-tellers as well. Hans Christian Anderson’s (“The Little Mermaid,” “The Snow Queen,” “The Ugly Duckling”) didn’t have happy endings either. The Little Mermaid dies at the end; she doesn’t marry the prince.
These were not meant for children.
Now, my second favorite book in the world is Red as Blood: Tales from the Sisters Grimmer by Tanith Lee. These are dark, twisted fairy tales; Red Riding Hood’s Grandmother is a werewolf- not what anyone would expect. I love these tales, what I call messed-up fairy tales.
So, something about the fairy tales calls to me.
Enter: Fables and Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales.
Fables (DC Vertigo) is about the various fairy tale characters who have been chased out of their Homelands by the Adversary and now reside in Fabletown, which is somewhere in New York. We see Snow White (Deputy Mayor), Bigby (Big Bad Wolf , Sheriff), Beauty and Beast, Goldilocks, Prince Charming (has married and divorced Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella) and a whole crew of other, very familiar characters. My favorite part of this series is 1001 Nights of Snowfall, which is a spin on 1001 Abraian Nights, but I haven’t read past the fifth trade paperback, The Mean Seasons, so I don’t know how far this series has gotten or where the plot has gone. I have to catch up, eventually.
Grimm Fairy Tales is darker than Fables, mirroring the original Brothers Grimm stories more than any re-telling out there. These are dark tales; and often the fairy tale has a modern day parallel. Issues #13-14 tell the story of Beauty and the Beast, about a girl in an abusive relationship. This series follows Dr. Sela Mathers as she uses fairy tales to teach people lessons about life.
This series I have been following and I have up to Issue #36: The Ugly Duckling, Part 2. While some of the issues can be read as stand-alones, they are all tied to together by the underlying battle between Sela and Belinda, who keeps showing up in some of Zenescope’s other comic series.
Comics are not just about Superheroes saving the world.
Fairy Tales Collection. (2002). Hans Christian Anderson. Retrieved from http://www.fairytalescollection.com.