Monday, July 7, 2014

MISC. MANGA, *Telling Tales

Not to sound like some kind of otaku hipster, but I've been a fan of Sweatdrop Studios "before they were cool". They are a British-based independent publisher of manga-styled comics and graphic novels. They made a slightly big impact in the Stated around the beginning of the 2010s with some of the trade paperback graphic novels. Most of these are collaborative anthologies, each one dealing with a certain theme. One of which was a collection titled Stardust featuring rejected submissions from Tokyo Pop's UK edition of Rising Stars Of Manga. Telling Tales is one of their more widespread releases in America, mostly due to the fact that the dealt with all-ages manga retellings of classic European fairy tails.

This graphic novel has different takes on various children's stories, mostly from Russian folklore and Grimm's Fairy Tales. The first is actually done by Svetlana Chmakova(of Dramacon)fame, who is not a Sweatrdop regular, and she does her version of Alenushka and Ivanushka, an old Russian tale about a constantly cursed girl and her younger brother. The rest of the stories are done by Sweatdrop Studios artists like Emma Vieceli who does The Three Sisters and Their Glass Hearts which is about a trio of princesses who for some reason are born with hearts made of actual glass which could crack causing them to die. The strangest is The Bird, The Mouse And The Sausage which showcases an actual living/talking sausage rooming with a bird and mouse. Moroz Ivanovich is another with two siblings starring the Russian equivalent of Santa Clause and Jack Frost. Some of the more familiar tales like Red Riding Hood, The Snow Queen, and The Prince And The Pauper are handled very well in their own way. The book closes out the Grimm's The Three Feathers about three brothers vying for the throne, but the simpleton one simply named "Simpleton" ends up winning it thanks to a magic kingdom of talking frogs.

This is one of Sweatdrop's heftier books at over 200 pages long, which includes some bonus material in the back. It makes for a great gift for your kids, and a superb intro to the style of manga without alarming any parents.

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