Little Lit: Folklore & Fairy Tale Funnies - edited by Art Spiegelman & Françoise Mouly

I'd actually read this one before, probably while at a bookstore, but since it's been several years I checked it out of the library to read again. Back in the late 90's and early 00's, Art Spiegelman and Françoise Mouly edited a couple "Little Lit" collections of stories in comic-book form for kids. This one, as the title states, is about fairy tales, but there were also collections of mysteries and sci-fi, done by some fairly well-known comics artists.

I think it's notable that comics have changed significantly since their introduction, enough to warrant the somewhat tongue-in-cheek blurb on the back cover: "Comics—they're not just for grown-ups anymore!" This collection, though, isn't inappropriate for adult comics fans, either. It's fun seeing the styles of artists I recognize in service of telling fairy tales.

As with any story collection, there are hits and misses, but it's a pretty good group overall. Spiegelman illustrates a lesser-known Hasidic fable titled "Prince Rooster" about a prince who thinks he's a rooster. Joost Swarte, recognizable from New Yorker doodles, adapts an old dutch fable in "The Leafless Tree." One of my favorites, though, is Chris Ware's "Fairy Tale Road Rage" punch-out-and-play board game in the endpapers. In typical Ware fashion, the instructions are a meta-narrative including a short comic about punching out pieces in a "collectible" book, with bitter passages such as the section entitled "One person play":

All rules are the same, though exchange between other players is, obviously, impossible. Do not, however, despair; someday you will grow up to be a famous cartoonist and all of the kids who made fun of you will have miserable jobs and be desperately unhappy, but you will get to draw stories for lots of money about how you still hate them all.

What makes it even better is that the game actually seems like it could be quite entertaining. (Of course, this being a library book, I didn't punch out the pieces to give it a go.)

Re-reading this volume makes me want to go look up the other versions as well.

Fed to jonathan's brain | July 07, 2008 | Comments (0)


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