I Hate Fairyland #17 (March 2018)

I Hate Fairyland #17

Well, Young certainly doesn’t go any predictable route. He’s into new territory in Fairyland now, seventeen issues in, and–frankly–the book has lost its charm. There’s still charm to the art, but the writing has lost its charm. It’s lost Gert, for one thing. She’s MIA this issue (for the first time ever) and not even the bug gets a follow-up from last issue.

Instead, it’s Duncan the Dragon’s issue. I can’t remember what’s going on with that kid–he was another kid trapped in Fairyland who maybe fought with Gertie, maybe didn’t–but a refresher would’ve been nice.

Instead, Young just powers through. It certainly seems like he’s wrapping up Fairyland. I’m just not sure I care enough anymore to stick it out until the end. The book has no momentum outside the trouble Gert generates, here and there. Take that aspect away and… it’s just… nothing special.

Not even the art is fun (without Gert).

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; editor, Kent Wagenschutz; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland #16 (February 2018)

I Hate Fairyland #16

Uh. So Young opens the issue with Gert talking about how the previous issue’s cliffhanger for Fairyland was manipulative and cheap.

Which is fine. Kind of funny.

But then this entire issue is manipulative and cheap as it undoes that cliffhanger.

The issue’s a dream sequence (basically), not just without anything to move the story forward, but without anything to give Gert good fodder. She gets chased, she gets upset, she gets mean, but there’s no real oomph to the new situation.

And the setting isn’t conducive to Young’s art style. Maybe if it were half the issue (or a third), but an entire issue of boring visualizations. Sure, there’s a little bit of Fairyland, but it’s that happy-go-lucky Fairyland, not the regular bloodbath Gert makes it.

As a series, Young’s worked out how to best play to his (and Fairyland’s) strengths. But now it’s like he’s floundering. And issue #16 isn’t a place to be floundering.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; editor, Kent Wagenschutz; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland #15 (August 2017)

I Hate Fairyland #15

Even though Young doesn’t do arcs in Fairyland anymore, he sort of does. And this issue is the end of the arc–i.e. trade–with setup for the next one.

It moves all right, but it’s nowhere near as funny as usual. Probably because Gert is being a good girl (not a spoiler, the trade’s out and it’s called Good Girl or something). Larry the Bug can’t make it funny on his own.

And the legion of enemies out to get Gert? They’re well-drawn, but they’re not funny.

Young lets the story supplant the humor, which isn’t what I Hate Fairyland is about. Usually.

It’s fine. Can’t wait to see what happens next. But don’t really care about what’s happened here (partially because it doesn’t matter). Young’s spinning his wheels through an issue just to get to the cliffhanger.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; editor, Kent Wagenschutz; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 14 (July 2017)

I Hate Fairyland #14

I Hate Fairyland just did something rather unexpected. And it’s hard for Young to do anything rather unexpected because, while everything is somewhat unexpected, that chaos is part of the comic. Gert is reliably chaotic. So for Young to pull off a surprise regarding Gert… it’s a neat move. He also has a phenomenal series of Labyrinth references; including, you know, that Labyrinth David Bowie reference. It’s a great issue.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 13 (June 2017)

Ihf13

Larry gets his own issue. I mean, there’s brackets, but Larry gets a flashback. An origin story of sorts. Dean Rankine does the art on the flashback, which takes Larry from his inglorious start as a larvae to his greatest achievements. The writing is fantastic, though it’s sort of unclear what Young wants to do with the issue, if anything. Even for a filler issue, Fairyland is kind of heavy on the cotton candy. The issue does set up another big plot moment possibility for the book, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens next.

CREDITS

Writer, Skottie Young; artists, Young and Dean Rankine; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 12 (April 2017)

I hate fairyland #12

Gert has turned over a new leaf and she’s going to be a good guy in Fairyland now. Of course, no one better tell Gert how to go about turning over that leaf; she and Larry are ronin on a mission to save a baby. It gives Young a lot of gags outside the norm, plus chances to homage Usagi amongst other samurai classics. It’s kind of slight–there’s a lot of action–but it’s a fun, gross time. Like Fairyland should be.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 11 (March 2017)

I Hate Fairyland #11

I Hate Fairyland returns on a high point, with Skottie Young embracing the “done-in-one” narrative while still developing Gert a little. She has to progress towards something now without a question. It’s very interesting to see in comics–the meandering narrative–but Young nails it. The issue itself is fun without getting too gory. Young’s expanding Gert’s snark, which has consequences. It’s great to have it back.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 10 (October 2016)

I Hate Fairyland #10

Young wraps up the second arc–which has been loose anyway–with an action-packed finale. There’s a lot of great art as future Gert battles a giant monster and some decent comedic dialogue, but it’s all a little light. Young safely cruises; there’s nothing ambitious here.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 9 (September 2016)

I Hate Fairyland #9

I Hate Fairyland continues on its demented way, with Young throwing Gert into her next misadventure. The recap text actually made me think there might be some kind of followup to the previous issue’s events, but no, instead Young’s full steam ahead.

This issue has Gert going into Larry’s magic hat to try to find a captured beast to pay off a gambling debt. She tries to sweet talk her way out of trouble. Doesn’t work, beautifully so. Instead, she’s got to go into Larry’s hat–Larry’s a bug of some sort, in case you don’t read Fairyland, which you should–and fight lice in order to save herself both in miniature form and big form.

Young’s new plotting for the comic–done-in-ones–is going beautifully. There’s just a solid, hilarious, maybe grotesque adventure every issue. It doesn’t get much better. Or, if it could, I can’t imagine how.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 8 (August 2016)

I Hate Fairyland #8

How much magic is there in I Hate Fairyland? An endless amount. Young’s reinvigorated on the book, with Gert doing a done-in-one where she tries to get out of Fairyland again. Does it work, does it not, doesn’t matter so much as the comic is actually moving. It might not be moving overall, but it’s giving this great “questing” illusion of moving.

Plus there’s the wacky video game fight sequence by guest artist Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz. It shows how well Young actually writes this book. The banter is just as good when the art style is completely different. Fairyland just fires on all cylinders.

I can’t even think of a complaint. It’s the perfect length, the ending is hilarious. I like this new approach to the comic–it’s Young not just giving readers what they want from Fairyland (namely Gert being a badass), it’s the best way to tell this story. Gert’s like Conan. Conan needs lots of adventures.

CREDITS

Writer, Skottie Young; artists, Young and Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 7 (July 2016)

I Hate Fairyland #7

Funny thing about Young and I Hate Fairyland. It’s even better when it’s toned down a little. This issue isn’t too gross, isn’t too mean, has a handful of really easy jokes, and it’s maybe the most pleasant experience of the series so far. Or maybe Gert is finally just a character. But we’re getting to better meet the citizens of Fairyland and they’re more amusing than the royalty too. It’s almost an entirely different book.

But Young doesn’t lose anything. He’s gotten the series to a point where the implied, off-panel humor is as funny as if he renders it, which isn’t an easy trick. It’s a very comic strip trick and not one he’s previously seemed concerned about. But Fairyland has always had more potential than what Young was doing with it.

Not anymore, though. Now he’s trying with the book and he’s off to a great start. Some of it works because no one’s particularly bright. Not even the bee. He’s kind of dumb too; it makes the relationship somehow more stable. It’s really cool and it helps with the narrative. It lets Young use expository dialogue. He’s good at the expository dialogue, he’s got a lot of wit, but it still should flirt with tedious and it never does.

Because it’s I Hate Fairyland; it’s brilliant in its saccharine putridity.

CREDITS

How to Drain Your Dragon; writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 6 (June 2016)

I Hate Fairyland #6

Based on this issue, which covers the entirety of the reign of Queen Gertrude the First (and Only?), maybe Young shouldn’t do arcs with I Hate Fairyland. He’s so good at summary storytelling, which fairytales rely heavily upon, he doesn’t really need to drag things out. He does amazing things with repeated visuals, repeated jokes. This issue’s narrative mostly takes place off panel but it’s still about as perfect a comic about a homicidal woman-child turned ruler of a fairytale kingdom could be.

The other thing about doing a bunch of short scenes is how much mileage Young can get out of the gore. Gertrude’s not just an evil queen, she’s bad at the job. She’s bad at being an evil queen. So he builds up expectation and then is able to fulfill it quickly before moving on. This issue is like a bunch of little hills. The gory, hilarious payoff is at the peak, but the journey’s the thing. While each gag has its punctuation point, the transitions are awesome too. Young knows how to make funnies.

I Hate Fairyland is high concept, but the series’s excellence isn’t in that concept. It’s in Young’s ability, which is sort of higher concept than the McGuffin. It’s masterful stuff. It just happens to be exceedingly gory and crude.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 5 (February 2016)

I Hate Fairyland #5

I Hate Fairyland succeeds, in general, because Young is always bringing at least two things to it. He’s bringing the story–the absurdity of a pissed off princess stuck in a fairytale–and he’s bringing the art. Young’s visualizing of Fairyland, which drips with such sticky sugar you’re ready to switch to stevia forever, is a delight. It’s a perversion of the saccharine, Saturday morning cartoon fairytale land. This issue lets Young unleash the literal dragon and lay waste. Both visually and narratively, though the narrative is a lot slighter than the art, which is intense.

This issue ends the series’s first arc; it’s a fitting ending, though one has to wonder if Young’s going to be able to keep it up in the new world order he creates–it’s so nice not to have a cliffhanger. Gertrude wages war on Happy, her replacement princess. All Fairyland learns they shouldn’t have messed with Gertrude; Young delights in having Gertrude recount her tale (narration is very important in Fairyland) and brings another layer to the book. All of a sudden, he’s using video game rhetoric as a narrative device. It’s simple (leveling up, bosses, etc.) and it lets him get through the flashback efficiently.

Young’s narrative devices are maybe Fairyland’s greatest asset. It’s not just his understand of how to do a perversion of a princess in fairytale land story, it’s his understanding of how to tell that tale.

Well, wait. The devices are maybe it’s second greatest asset, because Fairyland is always going to be glorious with Young’s art. Especially an action issue like this one, which has “My Little Pony” versus a dragon at one point. Lots of double page spreads, lots of gross out visual humor. It’s not a deep comic, but it’s masterful nonetheless.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 4 (January 2016)

I Hate Fairyland #4

It’s a solid issue. Young doesn’t do anything crazy like he did in the previous one, he just sets Gert out on a quest. She muscles her way through it. Young’s formula for Fairyland is just enough detail to make readers gag on the saccharine nature of it, but not too much to get caught up in it. He breezes through the details. His art is always more important that the associated text.

The issues work like big pieces Young is arranging. He doesn’t just have to move Gert, he’s also got to move the supporting cast. Fairyland is like a busy stage play. The hurried nature of it is part of the charm.

Still, it was a little disappointing to see such a traditional narrative after last issue’s nuttiness. There are a lot of good jokes, as Gert explores the dark side of Fairyland, but Young drags them out. He’s even got a pattern–little in text, little in art, lot in art–in how he tells them.

They’re good jokes and often quite funny, they just aren’t particularly creative ones to make. Young coasts through this issue and gets out without even using a third of his built-up goodwill.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 3 (December 2015)

I Hate Fairyland #3

Young’s a bit of a show-off this issue. He works on his subplot–the queen conniving to rid Fairyland of Gert–and gives Gert what seems to be a standard adventure. Until it isn’t. And then Young goes crazy with this lengthy sequence–it seems to take place over decades (or a day). It’s phenomenal.

Except it isn’t just that sequence, it’s what he follows it with. He uses the time transition to bring Gert into the queen’s subplot. It’s a great script.

And the way the subplot plays out leads to a battle royale between Gert and her erstwhile nemesis. It’s a lot for a third issue, but Young has thought out all these places he wants to go with the book. He’s moving quickly, but still deliberately.

Young’s pretty much gotten to where he can’t make any storytelling missteps as long as he at least tells it right. The content doesn’t matter, the visuals are so strong. It could be anything and he would find a way to make it visually compelling.

I Hate Fairyland is an excellent book.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Scottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 2 (November 2015)

I Hate Fairyland #2

I Hate Fairyland continues to be an awesome bit of storytelling from Skottie Young. It’s so awesome, there’s nothing wrong with it. Every page has something purely delightful in it–whether or not it’s the issue’s narrator realizing he’s in for a lot of trouble given the protagonist is Gertrude or Gertrude getting hammered and hitting on a frog prince. By making Fairyland all sorts of annoying and awful on its own, even without Gertrude’s kidnapping figuring in, Young has set up the comic to just be wish fulfillment for the reader. Here’s this lame saccharine fairytale situation, just wait for Gertrude to come along and chop it up.

Literally.

While she’s hammered. And she looks like she’s eight.

However, the comic is so successful, there’s really not a lot to talk about. Young works B and C plots–Gertrude’s (unknown to her) nemesis and said nemesis’s more visible agents–perfectly. The villains have a measure of self-awareness, which the background players don’t get to have; Young’s humor works on multiple levels.

And the art is gorgeous.

Once again, I love I Hate Fairyland. There’s nothing not to love about it.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Skottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

I Hate Fairyland 1 (October 2015)

I Hate Fairyland #1

I love I Hate Fairyland. I love it. Skottie Young loves it too, which is good, since he’s writing and illustrating it. If he didn’t love it, I don’t think I’d love it.

Young’s got a particular style–accessible to children but with a lot of detail, not much attention to anatomy. Expressive anatomical representations. But not in the Liefeldian sense. Very tall people, very short people. He could use this style on gritty fairy tales, but instead he still fills Fairyland with wonderment and magic.

And a protagonist who hates Fairyland. And she’s wonderful. She’s one of the only humans (so far) and she got trapped in Fairyland as a kid. Twenty years later, she’s still a kid on the outside, but on the inside, she’s robbing casinos and eating mushroom people. Because, why not? Fairyland sucks after all (and she can’t get home).

There’s no way to tell what kind of story Young has in mind for the comic–one could argue, at the beginning, it’s about the lost girl (Gert) getting home, but not once Young skips ahead twenty years. Then it’s just about her getting into trouble and making trouble of her own.

Beautiful art, hilarious riffs on generic fairy tale standards. Young’s going for the humor in the writing and the magic in the art–though, really, Gert falling into Fairyland and breaking her face on the landing–she’s fine, promise–sets the mood for the rest of the comic.

It’s excellent.

CREDITS

Writer and artist, Scottie Young; colorist, Jean-Francois Bealieu; letterer, Nate Piekos; publisher, Image Comics.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: