Friday, October 28, 2016

I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young

Gertrude was whisked away to Fairyland -- the candy-colored, sicky-sweet version from a thousand bad animated movies and theme-park rides -- as a young girl, to have a fun and uplifting adventure before finding the key back to home and coming back to her world with a new appreciation for the wonders of existence and of the power of love. (At least, we assume such was the plan.)

Instead, Gertrude proved to be so recalcitrant, and so horrible at key-finding, that twenty-seven years later a deeply sour Gertrude, still stuck in that little-girl body, is rampaging through Fairyland, supposedly still key-hunting but really just acting out her frustration on every smiley-faced anthropomorphic being that crosses her path. She is a murderous, horrible, twisted little foul-mouthed creature, and she is our heroine.

Such is I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After, which collects the first arc of Skottie Young's comic about Gertrude. It's gleeful in its violence, though apparently Fairyland censors all of Gertrude's would-be swears. (Perhaps this is meant to be a joke, but it recurs too much to stay funny.) It's episodic in that old-comics style, with each issue being relatively discrete and this volume completing the first overall story, in which Gertrude gets everything she wants, more or less. (As another nasty comics character said long ago, "The valuable lesson is that you can get what you want and still not be very happy.")

Young's art style is very good for cute little creatures, happy anthropomorphic plants, and sweet munchkin-esque folks, as evidenced by pretty much all of his earlier work. It's also, perhaps surprisingly, good for giant cliffs made of skulls and all of the things in the previous sentence lying dismembered with X's for eyes and cheery bright red blood leaking out of them. There's a joy in the violence here, which comes out in the art as well as the dialogue.

I don't think this series can run forever, since it only has one joke so far. (I suspect the next arc will introduce a new joke, based on the last page of this book. That will only go so far, obviously.) But this first collection is fun in a nasty, cartoonily-violent way, and that's good enough for now.

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