I Hate Fairyland
Writer/Artist: Skottie Young
Colourist: Jean-Francois Bealieu
Letterer: Nate Piekos
A review by Stephen Combs
At its core, I Hate Fairyland seems to be a rebellion against much of writer/artist Skotti Young’s own career. Due to his cutesy style, Young has often been asked to do comics based on it, such Marvel’s Wizard of Oz graphic novels and, as his bio at the end puts it, “enough Little Marvel variant covers to build a small ranch style home out of them”. I Hate Fairland is, in spirit, closer to Johnny the Homicidal Maniac than his previous work, and it is glorious. A bit sadistic, and oh so wrong in all the right ways I Hate Fairyland takes trappings of portal fiction, such as the Wizard of Oz and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and shows the dark side of being taken from home to such a world. The main character’s reactions to it are even better
Taking place in the titular “Fairyland” it starts Gertrude, a 30+ year old woman, who was magically transported kidnapped as a child to “Fairyland”. She was told she had to find a key to get back home and it would only take about a day and a half. At the start of the book, it had been twenty-seven years and she had not aged a day. Physically at least. It is made very clear that though she looks like a child, Gertrude is an adult. By the time our story starts she is not happy about the situation in the slightest. Thus starts our journey with this wonderfully psychotic woman.
Each issue starts with the murder of a member of the Narrator’s Guild in the first few pages, and that first death sets the real tone of the comic given that said narrator is the moon. Yes, dear Gertrude takes out a cannon and kills the moon, and then, just to be on the safe side, takes out a machine gun and kills a bunch of stars. Following that each issue follows Gertrude as she continues her quest to get back home while killing everything in her way to do so. Early on, the queen of Fairlyand, who cannot kill Gertrude herself because Gertrude is a guest, decides she needs to take this little psychopath out and starts hiring muscle. This gives Gertrude foes to work against, and it is a joy to watch her do so.
Skottie Young’s style along with Jean-Francois Bealieu’s colors, and Nate Piekos’s lettering transcends the basic concept, which is a bit thin to say the least. Every page is bursting with color and, what should be joy, but instead misery. It is amazing how Young is able to create a sickening sweet world, but have it come off as entirely evil. Gertrude may be evil herself, but the reader understands why and can certainly sympathize with her. Her graphically illustrated kills are all the more entertaining because they are done in a style that you wouldn’t normally expect to be drawing them.
Special mention has to be made for Piekos’s lettering. Each word balloon has extra emotion, and feeling due to it. The way each word pops out of the page is astounding. There was as much care put into the lettering, as there was the art and the coloring. When Gertrude is angry, Piekos is able to make it all that much clearer.
BUY IT! Go read this book. Give Skottie Young your money and thank him for it. This is such a refreshing and, above all, entertaining book that it needs to be on everyone’s book shelf. The way it subverts expectations from the very beginning to the way it, predictably, ends is a sheer joy. The team behind the book clearly knew what they wanted to do, and executed their plan to perfection.