Comic Book Reviews

Book Review: Grimm Fairy Tales, Vol. 1 (Trade Paperback)

By Patrick Luce Oct 2, 2006, 18:12 GMT

Book Review: Grimm Fairy Tales, Vol. 1 (Trade Paperback)

Grimm Fairy Tales, Vol. 1 collects the first six issues of the new hit comic from Zenescope Entertainment, and is well worth the money if you failed to catch the comic when it started or just want all of the first set of tales collected into one reading.

The comic is written by Joe Tyler and Ralph Tedesco (who also created the series) with pencils by Joe Dodd, and covers by Nick Marks.

Thanks to its pacing, story-telling, and use of plot devices, Grimm Fairy Tales has shades of the great horror comics of the past – such as EC Comics’ Tales from the Crypt and Vault of Horror. This makes the comic a GREAT read for horror fans, and one of the main reasons why I was quickly hooked on the book.

The book’s basic premise takes a classic tale (such as ‘Red Riding Hood’ or ‘Hansel & Gretel’) and re-tells them with a “modern” introduction. The new characters are told the fairy tale by mysterious woman (think the Crypt Keeper, but really hot), and somehow the story relates to what is happening to them in the modern world.

The 167-page trade has some really good spins on the classic tales. ‘Sleeping Beauty’ is without a doubt the best of the stories collected. It features great art, a dark take on the classic tale, and more details to the story itself. This story is also the best at showing similarities to the old EC Comics.

If the issues before ‘Sleeping Beauty’ haven’t sold you on what the creators are doing with the comic, this story will. “Red Riding Hood,’ ‘Hansel & Gretel,’ and ‘Rumpelstiltskin’ also demonstrate the comic’s formula and shades of the past great horror comics.

‘Rumpelstiltskin’ is probably one of the best written stories with some good surprises at the end. The modern story has a woman dealing with a pregnancy that her boyfriend wants her to abort, and meeting our mysterious woman for a fairy tale.

The fairy tale features a woman becoming queen thanks to a mysterious creature, but having to promise to give him her first born. When the time comes, she strikes a new deal to save her baby’s life, but the creature has a twist in store for her.

‘Red Riding Hood’ is the classic tale of an innocent girl being stalked in the woods by the big bad wolf (in this case it is a werewolf), and meeting danger at every turn. The modern counterpart to the story deals with a girl who is being pressured by her boyfriend to have sex before she is ready. Naturally, the story warns her not to do it.

‘Cinderella’ is a somewhat “ghostly” take on the traditional story. The fairy godmother is a bit spookier than what Disney would have us believe, and the modern aspect of the story has a girl dealing with rejection and being the outcast. The story also features a scene that seems straight out of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”

‘Hansel & Gretel’ (one of the better stories in the trade) takes a darker look at the already dark Grimm tale. Gretel runs away from home because she is sick of her step-mother making her do chores around the house. Hansel goes with her to make sure she is safe. The two get lost, and end up at a witch’s house.

The witch tells Gretel that she will eat (yes eat) poor Hansel unless Gretel promises to help her and clean her house. Before long, Gretel tries to free her brother - which make the witch decide it is supper time. The modern story is pretty much the same with a brother and sister running away and meeting up with our hot Crypt Keeper.

The trade also features a short little comic ‘Legacy’ that sheds some light on our mysterious woman, and leaves you waiting for her next story. It is a short story, but a nice addition and clever way to end the book with the reader’s interest still hooked on what is happening.

The collection also features an Al Rio cover gallery for the different issues collected; an introduction by David Wohl, and a letter from Joe Brusha, the Editor in Chief of Zenescope Entertainment.

If you are a fan of horror comics or like the classic Tales from the Crypt, I would highly recommend checking out Grimm Fairy Tales, Vol. 1. The comic is a great take on the classic stories, and features good art throughout the entire collection. The pace of the comics stays solid (although a bit formulaic), and each issue leaves you looking forward to the next.

Visit Zenescope Entertainment for more information on this and other available titles.



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