I was browsing in the children’s section at my local library when a brightly-colored book caught my eye. Pulling it off the shelf, I saw it was a collection of fairy tales retold as comics. Curious, I flipped through several pages. I noticed that a different artist had created each story, leading to a wide variety of artwork and writing styles. A fan of fairy tales, I was intrigued by the concept and decided to give the book a try.
As with many collections of short stories by various authors, Fairy Tale Comics compiled by Chris Duffy is a mixed bag. Portions of the comic book fall into the obvious pitfalls that face a work of this sort. Some of the installments are simplistic in their artwork and narrative, explaining too much of the story with dialogue rather than showing the reader what is happening. While I can’t know for sure what most young readers would think of these stories, I know I would have preferred regular fairy tales with beautiful illustrations and more poetic writing to oversimplified comic versions. Additionally, in some of the stories already familiar to most audiences such as Snow White or Hansel and Gretel, the comic retellings lack innovation, causing the story to fall flat. That said, the brevity of the stories does mean that the bland ones don’t last long, and I think the good tales outweigh the underwhelming ones. The book includes multiple stories that are well-told and humorous. These contain artwork that complements the story, interesting dialogue, and fun twists on old tales. My favorites were stories that I had never heard of before, perhaps because I was not comparing the comic version to some other retelling I had read, but I think they were also genuinely good comic adaptations. “Puss in Boots,” “The Prince and the Tortoise,” “The Boys Who Drew Cats,” and other stories are a lot of fun and make Fairy Tale Comics a worthwhile read.