I Hate Fairyland #1
Written by Skottie Young
Art by Skottie Young
Colors by Jean-Francois Beauieu
Published by Image Comics
Do you ever worry that human beings will eventually use up all of the cool ideas?
It’s a silly fear that haunts the deep recesses of my mind from time to time that is constantly pushed further and further back as independent artists get to work on new properties. The latest example is I Hate Fairyland from Skottie Young over at Image Comics, based around a premise so neat and original that it’s downright annoying it only recently came into existence.
The new ongoing series follows Gertrude, a woman pushing 40 who wished she could live in a whimsical world straight out of a fairytale whenever she was just a little girl. As the classic saying goes, be careful what you wish for, however; one day she does get sucked into that whimsical world of her dreams, with sugary sweet and in-your-face cuteness that drives her insane. She is now a constantly sour and tired mass-murderer from the excess in this Looney Toons-inspired adult-cartoon comedy.
From the very beginning, I Hate Fairyland’s debut impresses with a comfy, familiar narration contrasted hilariously against a profane rejection of what the narrator is saying. It’s an idea that isn’t wholly original, having been done similarly in other works, like South Park’s “Woodland Critter Christmas,” but Young takes the concept to such an extreme from the start and throughout that any connection to other works is quickly forgotten. One of the first pieces of art from this book shown to the public, after all, is the gruesomely violent and incredibly funny shot to the head this cutesy narrator receives.
It actually isn’t hard to point out connections to other works in this first issue, from the inherent humor of drug use in a cutesy world seen in stuff like Conker’s Bad Fur Day, to fake swear words like “hugger fluffer,” comparable to something like “cotton-headed ninnymuggins” out of Elf, but what’s important is that the core hook is unique. In a way, Young is exposing the disingenuous elements of these fantastical worlds, satirizing them by showing just how horrific the experience would actually be.
While Young certainly borrows the snappy and ridiculous style of Looney Toons in order to frame his fresh storytelling – something certainly allowable, given the lack of that style of comedy in recent years – there is some amusing irony in his ability to simultaneously embrace common fantasy clichés and subvert them. He gets away with using tried-and-true inventions because using them is actually necessary for his subversion. It is far from the first time someone has created a land made of ice cream, for example, but not only does Young create a visually-pleasing spectacle out of the cliché, complete with fantastic textures and details, but he subverts it, having his protagonist shiver and seek out a fire for warmth rather than marvel at the mounds of marshmallows and sticks of freeze pops.
What readers end up with is a fresh final product that is laugh-out-loud humorous and filled with tons of little, clever details and drastic changes in scenery. Little coppers in one setting are actually little anthropomorphic mushrooms, which Gertrude refers to as “dickheads” and gets high off of whenever she decides to eat them during a pursuit in gross, gory detail. Young’s art is in top form, with loads and loads of little details and characterization fueled by over-the-top expression. Jean-Francois Beaulieu’s colors are worth bringing attention to; the sheer variety and vibrant nature of her work is astounding.
It’s actually sort of worrisome to imagine how Young will follow this debut up. Whenever I finished reading this issue, that creeping fear of mine cropped up again. Considering this issue’s clever, liberal use of so many different ideas, I started to wonder if Young has already used up all of his ideas.
Although I do remember saying something about independent creators like Young constantly putting this fear of mine to bed.