"I Hate Fairyland #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written and Illustrated by Skottie Young
2015, 32 Pages, $3.50
Comic released on October 14th, 2015
There have been countless stories about children being whisked away to a fantasy land where they have miraculous adventures and encounter all kinds of strange creatures before returning back home having learned some valuable life lessons. What if they didn't come back though? What if they were stuck in that far off world, unable to get back home for years? That's the situation Gertrude finds herself in. She's been stuck in Fairyland for almost thirty years and she's gotten a bit testy about it, so much so that she's ready to murder every talking moon and mushroom soldier she comes across.
I Hate Fairyland takes that amazing premise of a child's fantasy adventure and distorts it through adult cynicism. Everything in the world isn't shiny and happy. Gertrude literally falls into this world and despite the fact that everyone is smiling all the damn time, no one is really helping her get home (or fix the many injuries she suffered in said fall). She's told that there's a door that will get her back to her world, but she needs a key to open it and that key is hidden somewhere. You can imagine the frustration that she must have felt at that moment. That has only compounded over the thirty or so years that she's been stuck in this place.
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Although Gertrude has been in Fairyland for a few decades, her body hasn't aged. She has the mind of a forty-year-old woman in the body of an eight-year-old. This makes for some interesting and hilarious scenes as she has gotten to the point where she does not give a fuck. She flips off people and...well...she doesn't exactly curse. Maybe it's something that's just not possible in Fairyland or perhaps since she came here at such a young age, she never got a chance to learn real swear words, so she ends up saying things like “Hugger Fluffer!”
Skottie Young's artwork is nothing short of incredible. I was mainly aware of his cover work for Marvel, such as the amazing “Baby Variants” featuring pint-sized versions of various heroes and villains getting into mischief. I Hate Fairyland is a whole other level from that. This is that work on steroids. It's also for a much more mature audience. I can show my kid those covers, but I can't show him a shot of a character literally being blown apart by a massive cannonball, as awesome as it is. That is just scratching the surface of the blood and gore that fills this issue. It's all presented in Young's cartoonishly fun style, so it's almost like Bugs Bunny or Wile E. Coyote taking their antics just a little too far.
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Gertrude has a near constant crazy look in her eyes. The sights and sounds of Fairyland have really taken their toll on her. She's snapped and it shows. She sports many maniacal facial expressions throughout this issue. She's missing a couple of teeth, which is totally normal for a little kid, but somehow adds to her lunatic-like style, especially when a crazed grin spreads across her face.
I Hate Fairyland is like Candyland seen through the prism of John Kricfalusi. It's filled with the dark humor that we've come to love and expect from the likes of Lenore and Invader Zim. It takes the tropes from classic children's tales and kicks them right in the balls before ripping their hearts right out.