Nursery Rhyme Redux

Three years ago, before Fairy Tale Comics, there appeared in the folklore-themed-comicsphere…


What I love about this collection is that the illustrators treat the rhymes like little stories, following the original words but interpreting them in different ways.  It’s “not a parody or deconstruction,” says editor Chris Duffy, but they do imagine context and backstory — who’s actually the speaker in “Little Boy Blue,” and what’s his/her/their real motivation for letting him sleep on the job?  What if the Knave of Hearts had a good reason for stealing those tarts?  Why does the Old Woman (the one with the shoe house) have so many children — and she doesn’t really whip them literally, does she?

Just like in Fairy Tale Comics, we get multiple art styles — from Dave Roman‘s adorable Ron Weasley look-alikes (two of whom also appeared in Flight: Vol. 7, debating personal philosophies in “I’ve Decided To Become a Skeptic“)…

Buckle My Shoe

To Lilli Carré‘s song of strange pie recipes…

Song of Sixpence

To Craig Thompson‘s “noir-ishly operatic”tale of feline-avian romance…

Owl and Pussycat1

(Yeah, I can’t read this part with a straight face either…)

To Kate Beaton‘s Hark! A Vagrant!-worthy “Grand Old Duke of York”…

Duke of York

Oh! And Mutts creator Patrick McDonnell is in here, too!


Intrigued?  What are some of your favorite nursery rhyme adaptations?  I’ve actually just gotten into Bill Willingham’s FABLES comics — a quite adult (i.e. I’d give it an R rating) rendering of many Western fairy-tale and nursery rhyme characters, imagining how they’d cope if they were forced to live in our world (i.e. New York City…y’know, does it always-ish have to be New York City?  I get that it’s the epitome of the modern American concrete jungle, but it’s really getting beyond cliché as a setting with which to bewilder storybook characters, don’t you think?)

P.S.  New York residents, plz don’t hate on me — your city is truly awesomesauce.  Sincerely!  I’m just getting tired of seeing it as the seemingly default “modern city” setting, that’s all.


Just for fun, this is Beatrix Potter’s interpretation of “The Old Woman Who Lived In a Shoe,” from her own collection of nursery rhymes:

BPotter OldWomanShoe


* So says Leonard S. Marcus in his Introduction to Nursery Rhyme Comics.

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