Recently, Cassidy and I got the chance to review a few books from Canterbury Classics that combine both powerful stories with enchanting illustrations. So, get ready because we have three #RealQuickReviews that’ll leave you wanting to get in touch with some old tales.
The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales: An Illustrated Classic
If you’re a huge fan of That’s Normal (and really who isn’t?), then I shouldn’t have to explain what The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales is all about. But, just in case you’ve been living a rock for the past two hundred plus years, the Brothers Grimm were German scholars who collected urban legends and folklore that they had heard throughout the years and published it.
While the stories may all be the same, it’s Arthur Rackham’s illustrations that really make this book one you can’t wait to read to your kids. The pages have gold edges and are nice and thick, but not so thick you’d think you turned multiple pages at once (personal pet peeve). A red ribbon is attached inside the book to help you and your family keep track of which enchanting tale you left off on.
This book includes thirty-five classic stories, some of which were old favorites that made me remember reading them as a child, and some lesser-known stories that I have never heard of but totally enjoyed reading. My favorite story is Rumpelstiltskin, and not only does this book have that story, but Ol’ Rumps looks EXACTLY like I’ve always pictured him!
Check out these new illustrations with these classic tales, you won’t be sorry. The Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales: An Illustrated Classic
Dark Tales: The Snow Queen
Frozen The Snow Queen:
So, I fully admit to never having read The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, that’s why I wanted to review it. I feel really silly because as I’m reading this graphic novel, I’m thinking to myself: this just seems awfully similar to Disney’s Frozen. Color me surprised to find out that Frozen was based off of this tale.
I liked the illustrations in this graphic novel, they were the right amount of creepy and non-creepy that would make this a good book for kids who would like to start reading graphic novels. The seven vignettes of Andersen’s original story are all present here as well. For me, this book hits all the marks.
The story starts off with some crafty little demons making a mirror that allows you to see the “true” side of what you’re looking at. When that mirror gets smashed and turns to dust, it falls down upon some people and basically turns them into a bunch of jerks. Kay, Gerda’s BFF and future husband (#TeamKay) gets led astray by the Snow Queen and Gerda goes after her friend. What follows is a wild tale with a lot of talking animals, but no talking rock-troll things that sing, so it’s already way better than Frozen.
This story is definitely a keeper for me. Check out Dark Tales: The Snow Queen: A Graphic Novel. Now Available.
Dark Tales: The Call of Cthulhu
H.P. Lovecraft’s horror masterpiece, The Call of Cthulhu, was first published as a short story in 1928 and, not surprising, it’s weird as hell (it’s Lovecraft after all). It follows Francis Wayland Thurston as he investigates the notes left behind by his late uncle, a linguistic professor who died suddenly. In this world, gods have fallen from the stars and lay dormant. The strongest of which is Cthulhu who waits to call upon his cult, as one does. If you’re like, how the hell do I even pronounce this shit, here you go: Khlûl′-hloo. (Lovecraft says the first part is “guttural,” but fuck it. Just say Kuh-thu-loo).
The creature drenched tale plays across Dave Shephard’s blunt panels with a sometimes abrupt over-explanatory pacing and at other times an epic unfolding.
The Call of Cthulhu lends itself well to a visual medium. Taking place in the 1920s the art feels like a throwback to classic comic style, with simplistic layouts and bold inkings. For a 2018 graphic novel, this gives it an interesting vintage vibe. I feel a bit transported into the Bronze Age of comics. About halfway through though, this style loosens with regards to the aliens/gods appearing. Appropriately, they feel monolithic and inescapable.
To criticize this graphic novel would be to criticize Lovecraft and it’s pretty well established that this tale is a damn cult phenomenon. Shephard made minor changes, but the meat is there. While Shephard gets off to a clunky start, by the halfway point he’s hit his stride.
Ultimately though Lovecraft isn’t for everyone so this might not be your jam if you think that Annihilation got “too weird.”
Also if you think that you are wrong. Get Dark Tales: The Call of Cthulhu: A Graphic Novel. Now available.