Publisher: Archaia, an imprint of BOOM! Studios
Writer: Matt Smith
Artist: Matt Smith
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Release Date: 20th December 2017
Those of you of a certain age may remember the Storyteller on the old telebox. I have a faint recollection of sitting as a kid being introduced to these wondrous tales by some old guy and his dog. Combining the charm of the likes of Gambon or Hurt and the puppetry (should that be wizardry) of the Henson brand, it evokes some warm memories. Why am I telling you this? Well, this new work by Matt Smith hit me right in the feels.
Right from the off, the combined writing and art evokes the fanciful with this telling of part of the Saga of Grettir the Strong. There’s real warmth here that draws you in to the fireside to curl up for a tale. Based on Icelandic myth, this first in a series of four separate legends recounts the story of the Fairy Queen and the Shepherd. Grettir, our shepherd, embarks upon a quest to free the fairy queen from her dark curse to forever walk the human realm sowing sadness.
The images of Dark Age Iceland are suitably stark and overall the art throughout is of high quality. If you were to imagine a book of illustrated fairy tales, you probably wouldn’t be far off. The one thing I felt was a little disappointing is the depiction of the fairy realm itself. Given the Henson pedigree, I was expecting more ‘magic’. It’s not that the fairy realm is a let-down necessarily, it’s just that I think it could have been upped a notch or two. The writing similarly delivers the legend well and the cut backs to the storyteller and his dog are nice touches that build upon the story within a story if you will.
Overall I was impressed by Fairies; it’s the kind of stuff I can see me reading to my children when they are a bit older. In saying that, I think it lends itself to collected works which could be more easily revisited such as in trade or hardback. Truth be told, my personal enjoyment of Henson’s Storyteller is also likely biased by fond memories and love of myth and legend.
If you fancy something a bit different to enjoy with a cuppa in front of the fire this winter, I’d heartily recommend giving this a look.
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The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster