© Jim Valentino and the respective creators.
This attractively packaged hardcover reminds me of the “Little Lit” series, short comics stories aimed at younger readers, but with creators and sometimes content that will appeal to adults as well. As with most short story anthologies, the quality is mixed, and I wouldn’t put it at the same level generally as the aforementioned books, but it does have its moments, and would probably appeal to many readers. The theme, as you can see, is off-beat takes on traditional fairy tale and similar characters and ideas, though some stray pretty far from that.
Bill Morrison’s charming entry depicts the kid’s song “On Top of Spaghetti,” though a new version I think, not exactly the one I recall from childhood. Hardly a fable, but still fun. Some stories go for obvious yocks: The Tortoise and The Hare in a pie-eating contest–while others are more subtle: Cinderella as a modern sarcastic teen who doesn’t think much of her fairy godmother’s taste. The art for the latter story by Rodin Esquejo is is most classically accomplished in the book, quite attractive, but as with the stories, there’s a wide range of styles, from cartoony linework to lyrical painting. Nothing here really excells, nor has much room to develop, and if you’re looking for something as involving as Vertigo’s FABLES, you won’t find it, but if short, amusing stories in a variety of styles appeal to you, this will too. The cover by Mike Allred is a winner, too. Recommended.