A Case for Deviation
If you're like me, you may have heard of this charming Paul Jenkins & Humberto Ramos Kickstarter project a little too late to pitch in. Happily, at long last the fruits of that labor are made available to non-backers in this short, issue-driven run, and as one who spent months wishing he could get his hands on the book I'm happy to say it was well worth pining for.
Fairy Quest is a look behind the page at the fairy tale world, wherein the stories we've come to love star characters forced to act out their tales upon penalty of mind wipe under the iron grip of the evil Mister Grimm. Our hero is the lovable Red Riding Hood, who against odds and behind the watchful back of Grimm's minions has developed a forbidden friendship with the Big Bad Wolf, and doesn't want to keep up this charade any longer.
This book knows exactly what it wants to be. It's cute, it's witty, and it's the perfect blend of familiar with new you'd hope for from a fairytale twist-type story. In the crowded field of mature and salaciously-warped fables, Fairy Quest is a refreshingly sunny and family-friendly tale, even beginning with a mother and her son (with an adorable enthusiasm) settling down for a bedtime story. Jenkins capitalizes on his fun premise with amusing insights into the world of characters who dream of being so much more than the parts they play; an "AA" style meeting for would-be deviants (that is, those who don't follow the script) stands out as particularly memorable.
Jenkins's writing is complemented beautifully by the colorful, lively art of the talented Mr. Ramos, whose take on the many recognizable faces is a pleasure to behold. The precocious hooded heroine looks and moves just as one would hope, her dress predominately tasteful (though, as unfortunately always seems to be the case, there are one or two frames which seem inappropriately voyeuristic). Her wolf companion is appropriately ferocious without losing credulity in his tenderer moments. The aforementioned group meeting is lent a beautiful half-page.
About the only complaint I have about Outlaws is that it is going to be over just as I'm ready for it to be in a constant pull list. BOOM! bills this as book 1 of 2; here's hoping that this gem gets enough popularity to garner a continuation well beyond what this team was able to pull together from their Kickstarter's success. We need more free-spirited books like this.