Skottie Young is such a gifted cartoonist that it’s hard to take your eyes off the variant covers that have put him squarely in the public eye. The baby covers for Marvel’s monthlies have practically become their own cottage industry by now, and you can guarantee you’ll not be far away from new ones in the future. Getting to read some actual comics from him is a bit more unusual though (especially since he’s leaving Rocket Raccoon, presumably to focus on this title) and it’s superb to be able to get a window into his awesome brain! I Hate Fairyland is pure unfiltered Skottie.
At its heart, it’s “What if Rainbow Brite had a Social Disease?” stretched to absolute breaking point. And then stretched a bit further for good measure. In terms of unadulterated mega-violence, we’re approaching Brain Dead crossed with Officer Downe here, but probably best described as Looney Tunes with broken limbs and plenty of bodily fluids. Each page is stunning to look at, and you could spend forever getting lost marvelling at the detail, but it never holds you back from galloping through what is an extremely fast paced read. The splash pages, of which there are many, are always phenomenal.
In fact, that was something that bugged me at first: I finished the whole book in about fifteen minutes. Now, I’m FAST with my comics. To the point where I had to re-evaluate my comic-reading life a while back and think “Am I getting the most from these comics? Or am I just time-trialling my way through book after book?” So I started to re-read. And I Hate Fairyland really comes into its own on the re-read. There’s so much detail and so many throwaway jokes and just so much EYE CANDY that the second time through is much more entertaining.
In fact, Young does something interesting with all of the issues here. Like a lot of Brian K Vaughan’s stories, the last page of each issue is a big old cliffhanger splash page that gets you drawn in, desperate to know what happens next issue. And when the next issue comes along… Well, it’s normally been resolved off-panel and is given a cursory mention. I like this. A lot. Messing with the audience takes confidence, and this has it in bags.
So it’s all good. The future promises more one off stories as well as developing the mythos of Fairyland; but I prefer not to over-analyse. It’s fun and beautiful and clearly the creator is having a ball. One of those cheap IMAGE first volumes too, so you can’t go wrong.