July 31st, 2014

Review: Nightmares & Fairy Tales Vol. 1 by Serena Valentino & FSc

Nightmares & Fairy Tales Vol. 1: Once Upon a Time…
by Serena Valentino & FSc

A little rag doll named Annabelle believes herself to be cursed, and readers may soon agree as they read through this collection of short stories. Many of the tales are variations on fairy tales or other spooky themes (monsters in the closet, vampires in the cemetery) but one thread ties all of them together: the presence of Annabelle, always passively observing the fates of others.

Some of the stories are familiar: there’s a version of Snow White and another of Cinderella, both of which are fairly faithful to the classic tale but with a slightly more gothic, dark approach. Other stories are set in contemporary times. In a three-part tale, a girl named Morgan has a lover claims to be a vampire, but when Morgan hesitates to join Dominque as one of the undead, those close to her die horrible, gruesome deaths for which Morgan is blamed. In one of the few happy endings found here, a little girl lives in terror of the monsters of her closet, but they quietly protect her from the true monsters in her life. Stories are occasionally quite bloody and violent, but of course that is a trait carried over from the classic fairy stories.

To me, the art is very attractive and one of the key reasons I picked this graphic novel up. There’s a definite Japanese influence, with big-eyed waif-like girls and a spare black and white aesthetic, but there’s also that tactile, graphic sketchiness that you find in a lot of American independent comics, all wrapped up in that cutesy-gothic influence that’s all the rage at Hot Topic. It suits the stories very well, matching the mood and creating the perfect atmosphere.

4 out of 5 stars

To read more about Nightmares & Fairy Tales Vol. 1, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.

Peeking into the archives...today in:
2013: X2 (Times Two) by Shouko Akira
2012: Afterlives of the Saints by Colin Dickey
2011: Brunelleschi’s Dome by Ross King
2010: Last day to enter the drawing for “The King’s Mistress”!
2009: Book Trailer: Sacred Hearts
2008: Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths by Bruce Feiler