Ed. Chris Duffy
I have the honor of participating in one of FirstSecond’s blog tour’s once more and this time for their newest book in their amazing anthology series edited by Chris Duffy, Fable Comics. In this book 25 different artists tackle 28 different tales (George O’Connor has 4 short works.) Like the previous volumes, Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tale Comics, this work features more well known tales like “The Sun and the Wind” and less well known tales like “The Elephant in Favor.”
Each artist brings their own unique spin to the tale at hand and their own vision of what each character looks like. James Kochalka presents us with the story of “The Fox and the Grapes” where the fox uses….well some modern technology to try to get those grapes. Sophie Goldstien (recent two time Ignatz award winner for her amazing book The Oven), tackles the tale of “Leopard drums up Dinner,” with a fun musical bent.
My favorite by far though Tom Gauld (author of Goliath and You’re All Just Jealous of my Jetpack) takes on the tale of “The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse.” Gauld brings his own unique sense of stylized art and storytelling to create something that returns this classic tale to its bare essence. He strips the story down to 13 simple sentences, only two of which are ever spoken by the country mouse. And, unlike some other recent adaptations, Gauld doesn’t give the mice genders. They can be whatever the reader chooses. By doing this Gauld makes it easier for readers to connect with the moral of the story, simple and peaceful, is better than elegant and fear.
Gauld’s unique drawing style also adds a bit of grace to the characters. It’s whimsical and cartoony with simple lines and cartoon drops of fear coming off the country mouse. And yet…yet there’s an elegance to the simple lines, with cross hatchings that add depth to the characters that make them feel real and alive on the page. But I have to say what I love the most though, are the long vertical panels on each page, that frame the story and give us an a sense of the country and the city that the characters reside in. It harkens back to a time of old woodcuts and block prints. The simple color palette also emphasizes this, as well as really allowing the reader to again, connect with the story. All in all one of my favorites.
Each story has something for everyone with the artists bringing their own unique talents and styles to these tales. All of them are absolutely fantastic. This is the perfect book for any age and is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face. I highly recommend this book as a great addition to any shelf. 4 out 5 stars
ARC provided by Gina at FirstSecond