Arriving just in time for the waning days of my vacation, Zenescope has finally released their mammoth Omnibus collection of their always twisted and sometimes sexy take on Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It’s actually been available for a little while as an exclusive from their booth at various conventions. Unfortunately, I live toward the tip of a peninsula where such conventions are mostly fairy tales themselves. See what I did there? If you haven’t delved into any of the 80+ issues of GFT and its rapidly expanding universe, here’s the deal: In what usually plays out like an after-hours Twilight Zone episode, characters are beaten over the head with moral lessons played out in Fairy Tales that usually draw to a delightfully gore-filled conclusion. Needless to say I’m spending a lot of time with this book this weekend and my cigar of choice this time is the always faithful, H. Upmann 1844 Special Reserve. Mmm… lovely.
GFT was the first comic that I started reading digitally on a tablet, and I’ll confess I didn’t take to the book right away. It lacks the pithy dialogue or sweeping stories that I usually go for in my comics. The humor is more subtle and I sometimes wonder how many of the chuckles I get out of this book are intentional. The first story was rather predictable and seemed to go nowhere, but I downloaded the first 10 issues as part of a sale and I pressed on. Before long, things got more interesting, and before I knew it, I was buying more downloads to see what kind of twisted shit they could come up with next. As it turns out, it’s an insidious book that slowly draws you in, making the stories more complex, and eventually pulling back the camera and revealing the two narrators, Sela and Belinda, as characters in a struggle against each other over the souls of their target of the month. If this whole thing was planned out, it’s rather clever, but also a risky move, because I imagine a number of people were tempted to drop the book from their pull lists before it really started to get good. As such, I think it’s one of those comics that may be best experienced in collected editions. On the other hand, if you stick with it through the individual issues, reading GFT is like being in that proverbial pot of slowly boiling water. I was getting hooked (or is that cooked?), but I didn’t realize it was happening until it was too late. Of course, all the Zenescope branded T&A in the art doesn’t hurt either. Yaknowatimean?
The Omnibus is an ambitious beast of a publication. At 1350 pages(!), it encompasses the first EIGHT collected volumes, meaning it contains the first FIFTY issues of the comic! I was a little concerned about how well a book of this size and weight would turn out, but I knew I wanted these collected in a print edition for my shelf, and getting eight volumes worth of comics in one book seemed like the easier (and less expensive way to go). It turned out to be a worthy gamble. The quality of the print is gorgeous and the binding seems to be of very good quality. Even at the center of the book, reading or enjoying the art near the binding is not a chore, and it doesn’t seem like creasing in the spine or loose pages will be a problem, so long as a modicum of care is taken while reading. Each reprinted volume retains the often heartfelt introductions, although individual variant covers are not included. While this could be a big deal to some, it’s understandable that some sacrifices had to be made. The variant covers alone would have added another 100+ pages to an already gargantuan tome.
The cover price for the Omnibus is $59.99, but I had my copy pre-ordered at Amazon for the ridiculously low price of $37 and they actually had it to me a few days before its scheduled release. GFT started out as a guilty pleasure, but it’s evolved beyond that for me and this collection makes me glad that I was content with my digital downloads and didn’t start going after the individual trades. At this point, the only downside is that if I fall asleep reading with this thing on my chest, I’m liable to wake up thinking I’m having a heart attack.
Images used are the copyright of Zenescope and are reproduced here for review purposes only. If you love comic books, support the artists and writers by BUYING them, either digitally or in print. Better yet, buy them in print and support your local comic shop too!
Too bad it doesn’t include alternate covers. Those are usually the best artists. Ah well, can’t have it all.
I know! At least I have them digitally. I also have the Ltd Ed. Art of Zenescope book on pre-order… I’m hoping some of it may be included in that.
I got into Zenoscope by splurging on Clay Moore’s awesome statues of their characters Alice and Calie. That led me to some Grimm TPBs and some litho art prints from their website. I think after awhile the roster of fairy tales dried up and Grimm continued on as some kind of linear continuity. But at the end of the day I never tire of seeing curvaceous femme fatales in a good twisted yarn.