Swamp Things and Singing True: a Review of the comic Bayou

If you’re going to build a world with words, look at Jeremy Love’s comic book series Bayou for inspiration—you can’t go wrong. What began as a web comic is now printed in two beautiful volumes that you need to read. Southern swamps have never looked so beautiful. I have to warn you though, Bayou is not…

We’re Walking in the Air: Tracing the Snowy Tracks of Sentient Snowmen

“We’re walking in the air, we’re floating in the moonlit sky.” (“Walking in the Air” from The Snowman, 1982) From The Snowman (1978, 1982), the classic short read that has adorned coffee tables for decades, to the surprisingly heartwarming Jack Frost (1998), and even to Doctor Who (2012), snowmen have been depicted as living, breathing,…

Calling All Storytellers: An Original, Contemporary Fairy Tale, Please!

When I think of fairy tales, I think of mythical creatures, anthropomorphic objects and animals, happy endings, and valuable lessons fully revealed at the end. The ones recorded  by the Grimm Brothers, Hans Christian Andersen, and Charles Perrault have justifiably become classic fairy tales, with great popularity and numerous literary, film, musical, and theatre adaptations. Recently,…

Sandman : Handful of Dust

  When a young Neil Gaiman first approached Vertigo comics about The Sandman, he was pitching a simple revival of the 70s series of the same name by Joe Simon and Jack “The King” Kirby. But DC editor Karen Berger insisted that while they keep the name, Gaiman should create a new character. And thank…

The Giants Made Me Eat My Spinach: From Then to Now

Giants.  From the English fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk” to the most recent iteration in the anime and manga Attack on Titan, giants are a well-established element of fantastical stories. However, as with all story elements, they are subject to evolution. Giants in some form or another had existed in folktales and stories well before…

Getting Dragons on Screen: The Cycle of Readers and Viewers

At its birth, the literary elite refused to accept fantasy as a legitimate genre. Fire-barfing dragons, scantily clad elves, and steel-swinging hunks could not possibly make for capital “L” Literature. Even after the explosive popularity of J.R.R Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, and yes, even J.K. Rowling’s Harry…

Grad School or Dragons? Thoughts on Why We Love Speculative Fiction

There is something about lovers of speculative fiction that is different from the lovers of strictly garden-variety fiction. You cannot compare the passions of a Potterhead and a Hemingway fan—the fact that “Hemingwayhead” is not a term is a testament to this. I love Jane Austen, but I “Oh my God, I would die to…

The SPECtacular Irish Mythology and Imagery of The Secret of Kells

There are about a million reasons to watch the 2009 animated film The Secret of Kells. It has all of the things a good Irish movie of the 2000s needs: blue-eyed gingers, a gorgeous Celtic score, authentic accents (you really can’t overemphasise the importance of this point), and Brendan Gleeson. The Secret of Kells follows…