Thursday, October 11, 2012

Once Upon a Time Machine

Once Upon a Time Machine edited by Andrew Carl and produced by Chris Stevens
 4.5/5 stars
Dark Horse Books, 2012
422 pages
Graphic Novel Fairy Tale

Source: Received an e-ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The blurb promised a collection of 24 tales twisting and playing with beloved fairy tales. However I did not realize that it would actually be retellings of familiar stories. I just thought they would be fantastical and fairy-tale-esque. But no, I recognized most of the stories, which allowed me to seat back and enjoy the beautiful drawings and the science-fiction twists placed on most of them.

I'm not going to cover every story as that would take a really long time but I do have four that really worked for me, style of art combining with the story to resonate deeply.

First up would be "Pinocchio or The Stars Are Not Wanted Now" written by Jason Rodriguez , where an inventor makes his creation who struggles with the dual competing directives of being honest and being human. I wasn't entirely sure how this one was going to turn out but it was a bittersweet yet appropriate resolution to me.

Next would be "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", based on that great Kipling story and written by Mike Exner III. I was already a fan and immediately perked up when I saw the title. I also really loved the artwork for this one-I have no idea how to describe it but it fits with my preferences.

Next is "The Five Chinese Brothers" from Justin Hughes, another familiar story that similarly to the Pinocchio one was bittersweet. I believe I am familiar with the story it is based on although I cannot remember what it is called. This story also has an inventor father and his mechanical sons in addition to one flesh and blood one, utilizing the science-fiction aspect well.

The last one I want to mention is "Hansel and Gretel or Bombus and Vespula" by Josh O'Neill. Unfortunately I can't tell you my favorite part of this story as it is the twist within-definitely worth seeking out!

As I flipped through my copy to pick out my favorites, I was reminded about how hard it was to choose. I liked pretty much every story as well as the various styles of art. Another cool bonus is that there are standalone scenes interspersed between the stories (off the top of my head, I remember seeing some princesses represented here like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and the Little Mermaid.)
One last note is that this would probably be better in a hard copy; there were a few stories where it was a little hard to read the font and even when I zoomed in, the resolution wasn't much better. Particularly hard for me were "The Puppet-Show Man or No Strings" and "The Shepherd and the Weaver Girl." Because of that, I don't think I gave these stories their proper attention. When I pick up a hard copy, I will be sure to read them first!

Overall: A really great collection-everyone a winner and something to please all tastes!


  1. This sounds like a wonderful collection and something I think I would really enjoy. Great review. I will have to see where I can get it.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

  2. Wow -- love the idea of a graphic novel fairy tale. Great holiday gift idea -- thanks so much!

  3. This looks really cool! ("The Five Chinese Brothers" is the name of a popular story. It's been adapted to kids' books "The Five Chinese Brothers" and "The Seven Chinese Brothers.")

  4. this looks and sounds like a great book and one my little sister will really enjoy. i'll keep a look out for this one.


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