Writer: Skottie Young; Artist: Brett Bean; Colors: Jean-Francois Beaulieu; Letters: Nate Piekos.
I've never had the pleasure of reading the original of I Hate Fairyland, the story of Gert and her intense hatred of Fairyland — a girl's childhood wish turned prison after she becomes stranded. If the upcoming I Hate Fairyland ongoing series from Image Comics is anything like the original 20-issue run, that being an energetically creative bullet train of viscera to the gut, then I will undoubtedly be adding it to my list. Skottie Young brings Gert back for another fairy tale, this time with help from artist Brett Bean, and no punches are pulled in a perfect jumping on point for new fans, as well as a brilliant continuation for existing ones.
I Hate Fairyland #1 takes its numbering seriously, recapping its predecessor with a dark hilarity that reveals only enough to catch us up to a present day Gert, whose malice has only steepened since finding her way back to the real world; now, she's faced with a return to Fairyland and she is definitely not happy. Though the ridiculousness of Fairyland is in the rearview, Gert now contends with the comical stupidity of everyday life, a life where carnage and slaughter aren't resume builders. Young's script feels thoughtful and genuine as he balances wacky and relatable moments with sheer mayhem in a way that makes every page feel like a feast. Piekos' lettering only aids this endeavor by ensuring we hear tones of voice and differing modes of speech across different characters, subtly populating the world as we read.
Bean's turn in the artist's chair proves fortuitous for us as readers as he brings his dynamic visuals from Marvel's Rocket and Groot to the table. Every character is a caricature with some manner of physical exaggeration that even extends into the more violent scenes. Arms are lanky or hulking. Necks are long and slender or so large it could be said there is no neck at all. Limbs accordion in on themselves and bruises swell to the size of cantaloupes. The resulting funhouse spectacle is a visual feast that works with Young's script to deliver an eye-catching and chuckle-inducing welcome issue. Beaulieu's colors, vibrant as always, make every panel pop. Wrapped in Bean's beautiful art Beaulieu demonstrates a unique diversity of contrasting colors that manage to unify into the "Fairyland aesthetic" while also energizing every scene with its own atmosphere and mood.
I Hate Fairyland #1 is a swing for the fences that manages to excel well into the horizon. It's fun and inventive while harboring a murderous brutality that's wrapped in the malice of green-haired Gert who just wants to go home. For new and returning fans alike I recommend this book highly. See for yourself how good it is when you pick it up from YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK SHOP (!!!) or at Image Comics' site here on November 16th! Grab this issue and find out why it gets 5 OUT OF 5 POPs!!!!!
If you're a fan of eclectic violence and funky visuals, then I can keep the Fairyland train rolling with a few recommendations! Obviously I've gotta put a word in for the original I Hate Fairyland series, but also check out the gloriously gothic and meticulously macabre The Me You Love in the Dark or the emotional whirlwind of a folk story that is Middlewest. Finally, to bring attention to the awesome importance of lettering I'm recommending Nate Piekos' amazing look into the art in his Essential Guide to Comic Book Lettering!
Austin Kemp read Batman #315 (Batman vs Kite Man) when he was 5 years old, and hasn't stopped reading comics since. Austin is a college writing teacher and has a masters degree in Comics Studies. Austin and his partner, Savanah, live in Massachusetts with their master, a cat named Chaplin.