I HATE FAIRYLAND #1
Written by Skottie Young
Art by Skottie Young, Jean-Francois Beaulieu, and Nate Piekos
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: October 14th, 2015
Close your eyes. Make a wish. Did you wish for something to make your day better? Well, you’re in luck because I Hate Fairyland #1 is here to make your inner child dance. You like Skottie Young? Get this book. You enjoy sarcastic anti-fairytales? Here’s a new series for you. Have you secretly been wishing Angelica from the Rugrats was transported to the comic book equivalent of an even more psychedelic version of Alice in Wonderland? Look no further.
Skottie Young has officially found his home at Image Comics with his brand new series about a young girl, Gertrude, who’s been transported to a fantastical realm. After wishing for a chance to go to a new magical world, Gertrude is sucked down a hole and slammed face first into Fairyland’s less than fluffy floor. Immediately wishing to return home, Gertrude meets Queen Cloudia, given a guide (Larrigan Wentsworth III), and a map of her new home. She set out on her day-long trip to find the magical key to return her to her home…and 27 years later she’s still searching. Gertrude still looks very much like the kid that fell down that hole decades ago, but her unsuccessful journey to go home has aged her in ways that manifest themselves in her wildly offensive demeanor. Her attitude has earned her a reputation, and Queen Cloudia calls for her head. While Gertrude may be the toughest green-haired 27-plus-year old kid on the block, will she be tough enough to save her own life?
This first issue is very clearly a labor of love for Skottie Young, best known for his young Marvel characters, his satirical takes on the Marvel Universe, and his beautiful illustrations in Marvel’s Oz series. From the story and dialogue to the energetic illustrations, I Hate Fairyland is quality Skottie Young from cover to cover. I’ve read most of Young’s most recent Marvel work (Rocket Raccoon and Giant-Size Little Marvel: AvX) and I can confidently say that as much as I enjoyed those series, this is my favorite thing that he’s ever had his hand in. The writing in this book is solid and tight as a first issue. The plot flows wonderfully from page to page, interrupted by the occasional splash page to showcase the fun this book intends to have.
Every bit of writing in this issue has a loud, booming impact on you. The lyrical narration is reminiscent of Dr. Seuss. Larrington is perfectly portrayed as the pissed-off chain-smoking Jiminy Cricket he’s been made to become. And Gertrude herself is a constantly shouting, incorrigible, vile woman trapped in a sweet little girl’s body. This book is full of dichotomies that add unrelenting depth to this story, and I can hardly wait to peel each layer of each character off one by one. The dialogue is hilarious at times, capturing Young’s sarcastic and darkly humorous style that I’ve grown to enjoy so much. The tone of this book is ridiculously entertaining, fast-paced, melodramatic, and overall, fun.
The dark notes in this book are even more noticeable against the backdrop of the brightly colored and cutesy illustrations provided by Young with Jean-Francois Beaulieu on colors. Young is known for his chibi-style characters, and I Hate Fairyland is chock full of them. However, Gertrude and co. ruthlessly tear through the story and the tiny creatures of Fairyland, leaving a bloodbath in her wake. The art is filled with emotion, both in the characters’ faces and the gloriously rendered landscapes of Fairyland itself. Every panel could easily be an illustration in a child’s storybook, but Young’s dark humor has spattered these pages with blood and viscera of a wide range of interesting characters.
Beaulieu’s colors are truly a sight to behold. The colors are vivid and soft, wild yet soothing, and, as usual, a perfect fit for Young’s artwork. Every color blends together and also pinpoints your area of focus for each panel, while not sacrificing the beautiful backgrounds to dull coloring. Combined with Nate Piekos’ fantastic lettering, every panel is well-constructed and easy to follow. Piekos’ has helped to truly define the tone of this books with his unique style of lettering. Like the rest of the book, the font choices simultaneously convey a fantastical, yet harsh persona for Gertrude and Fairyland’s other constituents.
I Hate Fairyland is the book meant to fill the void for something you didn’t even know you needed. This is equal parts fun, dramatic, and action-filled, offering a one-of-a-kind story. While it might seem like a book suitable for kids, this is the best adult-oriented fairytale out there. Much like my favorite not-children’s story Go the F*** to Sleep (by Adam Mansbach and Ricardo Cortes), I Hate Fairyland hits all the right childhood memories with the perfect amount of dark humor, weird cursing, and no-holds-barred fun. This book is unlike anything on the stands. Do yourself a solid and make this your new favorite bedtime story.
The Verdict: 10/10