The past 24 hours have brought reworkings of three classic stories to me, and darn if they aren’t all wonderful.
- Firstly, Rebecca Clements has, as noted not long ago, been busy with many things besides comics for a while. Fortunately, she’s got quite a backlog of comics that can be read and re-read. One of those older stories has now been released as an e-book, namely, an attempt at retelling Jack and the Beanstalk from memory, for one Australian dollar (or more! you can give more!) over at Gumroad.
Clements was kind enough to send me a copy for review and it’s the most interesting take on Jack I’ve ever seen — all the elements are there — eventually — but suffused with the loopy, Seussian logic and visual style that Clements is known for. Oh, and a couple of bad words — including the dreaded F-hyphen-hyphen-hypen bad word — so give it a read through before sharing with a youngling, yes?
- Secondly, because I backed the Kickstarter, Evan Dahm sent me the PDF version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to tide me over until the hardcover gets released in the new year. It’s nearly 200 pages long, a completely faithful, word-for-word presentation of L Frank Baum’s original, with Dahm’s utterly charming drawings of Quadlings, and Kalidahs, and field mice, and all the other things that you never knew about if you only watch the movie.
Once fulfillment on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz has wrapped up for the Kickstarter backers, Dahm will surely place the book on sale, so start budgeting now. It’s gorgeous inside and out.
- Thirdly, Zach Weinersmith was exceedingly kind and shared an extra-early sneak preview of Augie and the Green Knight in PDF with me over the weekend. And all I can say is Wow.
Okay, basically there are two kinds of people in the world: those who are familiar with the Arthurian romance Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and those who are not. If you know the story already, seeing it told from the side of the Knight (and that of the very brave, very clever, very rambunctious Augie trying desperately to make sure nobody ends up dead) brings new depths to the story. If you don’t know the story already, you’re going to want to hunt it down because the retelling is wonderful in its Weinersmithiness, and now you need to find out if all those long-dead poets are as good at wordslinging.
Okay, fine, it’s a story that’s been remembered for half a millennium because at least one of those poets was really, really good; but would he have ever written something like this?
The squire located a few common fauna -— a frog, a newt, and an amphisbaena. One of those animals may sound unfamiliar, so if you’ve never seen a frog, it’s like a goat, but with the head of a lizard and the body of a grasshopper. The newt was a cauldron-ready cooking newt, and the amphisbaena was pretty much your run-of-the-mill amphisbaena.
The full-page color paintings and B&W spot illustrations by Boulet (including the aforementioned amphisbaena) are, naturally, wonderful. The typography and design are physically pleasing to the eye¹ and make each page enticing and help propel the story along. The book is written in a way that will appeal to both the child that hears it and the adult that reads it aloud; a somewhat older child may be able to read it solo, but may also ask an adult to read it well after she can manage for herself. It’s an experience that’s best shared.
Augie and the Green Knight will go up for sale after the Kickstarter backers are in receipt of their books, probably by late winter or early spring 2015. Once again, start budgeting now, because these retellings of classics deserve to be on the shelf of the kid (or kid at heart) you love most.
Spam of the day:
Many people think that if they are not spending long periods of time out in the cold, it does not really matter what they are wearing on their feet.
Augie knows this, and wears ½ of a Quadruboots. With stars on them.
¹ Supplied, Weinersmith informs me, by Michael David Johnson².
² As if the book weren’t appealing to me enough, Weinersmith has included copious footnotes, and even a footnote to a footnote. My heart.