Friday, October 30, 2015

Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Frankenstein (Papercutz)

Today is Halloween, and though I am not a big fan of the holiday, there are some people who are, so I am going to recommend you two children's books/graphic novels - Tales from the Brothers Grimm and Frankenstein. Both are available from Papercutz, and both are part of the Classics Illustrated Deluxe series. For those unfamiliar with this series, it published over 70 years ago and took classic tales you read in school and put them in graphic novel format.

Tales from the Brothers Grimm is a 130 page hardcover graphic novel. It contains four stories from Grimm's Fairy Tales - Hansel and Gretel, Learning How to Shudder, The Devil and the Three Golden Hairs, and The Valiant Little Tailor. The first and last story are one that most readers know very well, but The Devil and Three Golden Hairs proved to be most interesting to me. In this story a poor family has a baby boy born with his caul on him. This is apparently very rare, and as part of the story, it was said that since he was born with his caul, he would marry the daughter of the king. The king heard of this and did not like it, so he bought the child from the parents under the premise of raising him in the castle. Instead he tossed the boy in the river. The boy was found by some millers, and years later the king discovered he was still alive, so he tried to get him killed again. Again, his plan is thwarted and the boy marries the princess. The king therefore sent him on an errand to Hell to return with three of the devil's golden hairs. I won't spoil the ending for you, but let's just say the king got what was coming to him. This is a nice introduction to Grimm's Fairy Tales, and one that might appeal to the teenage crowd or the comic book crowd. The illustrations were not as dark as I would have hoped, and I would have possibly picked some different tales than "Learning How to Shudder," but it's not a bad book.

I admit that I have never read the book Frankenstein. I have seen movies, cartoon adaptations of it, but never read the actual book. I know the premise all too well. I just never actually sat down to read it. I still have not read it, but I decided to ease my way into it with the Papercutz graphic novel version of it. Like all the books in this series, the original story is mostly intact. There were parts here in there (Paradise Lost in place of the doctor's research notes) where liberties were taken but the graphic novel adaptation rang mostly true. The illustrations are a bit cartoony in that the characters all have big eyes. It's not my favorite illustration style, but it's one I recognize. Thankfully, most of the panels are dark. I was disappointed with the Brothers Grimm book in this series, because it felt a little too light...not Frankenstein. The artist did a good job capturing and conveying the emotional despair of this work, and I think it's an overall great way to get teenagers (or younger) interested in the classics. That is after all what the series is about, because each story always encourages the reader to go read the actual work now. That is something I plan to do, and am now one step closer!

These books were provided to me for free by Papercutz in exchange for honest reviews!