Blood-Soaked Lollipops

     I Hate Fairyland by Skottie Young is one of my all-time favourite comic creations.  It follows Gert, a little girl who has been sucked into Fairyland and needs to fulfill a quest to find a key to escape.

     Cute, right?  It would be, if Gert had managed to escape.  But now, she is a thirty-something trapped in a child’s body, and she is DONE.  She is bitter, enraged, and sarcastic, not to mention super-pissed that she can’t swear.  Wielding her axe, she travels Fairyland with her guide, a fly named Larry, as he tries to help her control her anger management issues.

     In short, Gert is all of us.  She is every parent, babysitter or older sibling that has heard the Paw Patrol song one too many times.  Through Gert, we can take out our buried rage against all bubble gum pop culture and ear worms.

     While I Hate Fairyland is definitely a fantasy-focused series, this is one that horror fans should take note of.  The creatures in this set are pretty spectacular and creative…not that it makes any difference to Gert, who dispatches all of them equally ruthlessly.  She is definitely the Ash Williams of this story, cheerfully executing everything from zombie deer to cute little huggable anime inspired characters.  In fact, she often has such a zest for killing that Larry will often scream at her to stop, but when she’s on a roll she has on more than one occasion accidentally slaughtered the person that she needs to talk to.

     One of the best things about I Hate Fairyland is the colouring.  It is always bright and peppy, and the blood being added to the already bright gumdrop world is so jarring that it will make you laugh out loud.  By the time the series starts to get unexpectedly dark (15th issue cliffhanger, anyone?), the dark is almost an unexpected relief for Gert.  She has spent her entire life walking bubble gum streets and listening to happy time chatter that she yearns for something a little darker.  In fact, it makes her incredibly difficult to torture when captured.  Horrors appear in front of her, and she shrugs them off with a sarcastic comment and unimpressed smirk.

     Skottie Young has even shown through this series that he can rock effective horror meta as well.  There were two special issues released during the series run in which Gert takes a jaunt through some other horror properties, including a highly entertaining scene in which she shoves Rick Grimes into a zombie horde in order to save her own skin.  He even manages to write himself into the story in this issue in a way that feels unpretentious and natural, which is no small feat in meta stories.

     In the last issue published in July, Young announced that the series is done….for now.  However, while he says that the ongoing series is done, that he is willing to drop into the world from time to time in the future.  “It’s not a GOOD-BYE, but more of a SEE YA LATER,” he writes in the afterword of the final issue (I Hate Fairyland, Image Comics, Issue 20).  I sincerely hope that that is true!

     This comic full of enough gore, one-liners, and Larry will be sure to please any horror fan who wants a dark but fun tale to satisfy their Return to Oz itch.

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