“I’ve told one tale, I’ll tell another. Call your sister, call your brother! “
Today, I’m going to be reviewing an anthology of retellings of African fables and fairytales- in graphic novel form. Yeah. It’s awesome. There are 15 short comics, all by different authors/illustrators. Some of the stories I really enjoyed, others, not so much. A few of my favorites were:
1.The Disobedient Daughter Who Married A Skull, by Nicole Chartrand.
Synopsis: A girl who just wants to travel marries a random stranger from a faraway place.
I never really got the moral of the original fable??? It seemed to be something like “If you’re a girl, you have to get married, otherwise you’re stuck up.” But this retelling’s moral is much less offensive, being more like “Don’t marry random strangers who offer to help you achieve your greatest dreams.” I really liked this one. It was funny, the art style is so expressive and flowy, and it does a good job of updating the story for the modern era.
5. Snake and Frog Never Play Together by Carla Speed McNeil
Synopsis: Snake Girl and Frog Child become friends, but their friendship is threatened by their families disapproval.
Oh my gosh, this one broke my heart. It also has an extra nostalgia factor for me because I read the story it was based on (and loved it) as a child, so I miiight be biased, but wHO CARES, it’s awesome and makes me want to cry at the same time, so it’s truly great literature. Also the art and character design is beautiful.
8. Gratitude by D. Shazzba Bennet.
Synopsis: A kind hunter helps a civet and a crocodile. Then a gang of crocodiles debate whether to eat him or not.
This one was funny and endearing at the same time. You can’t help but root for the kind hunter to get what he deserves (happiness). Also there’s an old horse and a dress who give dramatic monologues about animal abuse and unsustainable fashion, respectively.
13. Concerning The Hawk and The Owl by Meredith McClaren.
Synopsis: A hawk decides which prey to take.
This one was short, and beautiful- the art constructs a atmospheric mood, full of movement and stillness, dark and light.
15. The Stranger by Faith Erin Hicks.
Synopsis: A military soldier infiltrates the enemy’s spaceship.
Faith Erin Hicks is one of my favorite author/illustrators and she did great on this one. Sort of a futuristic space battle kind of thing, but with emotional depth.
I really enjoyed about 10 out of the 15 short stories in this anthology. The other five were mostly just.. not interesting to me? (I’ve actually read like 90% of the original fables before, so that might alter my view.) One of them (Queen Hyena’s Funeral) I really didn’t like (because… unnecessary violence). But overall, this anthology was fun to read, and I would recommend it to anyone over 11+ who likes: fairytale retellings, short stories/comics and African mythology/fables. I don’t think it will be of much interest to
old people adults, just because of how lighthearted it is, but THAT’S THEIR LOSS.