In this age of rampaging cosmic entities, star-spanning sagas and corrupt politicians up to their eyeballs in mutants / aliens / zombies /antagonist-du-jour; it is sometimes nice to take a little time out and return to what for many of us was the origin of our love of the medium even before we picked up our very first comic.
Fables and fairy tales.
Of course, we have both in spades for the more mature reader, from Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales and its offshoots to Vertigo and Bill Willingham’s Fables, successes that preceded such TV shows as Grimm and Once Upon A Time. I like to think that all four owe their success to the one fairy tale episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, somewhere in the middle of Season Four I think.
However, neither of the aforementioned publications are ones that you would want to share with your children; Zenescope for its abundance of tight and strategically torn t-shirts on its many female stars, and Fables simply because, well, one needs a certain level of experience to really appreciate it. But that is their attraction, tales updated for the new age, for the reader that has seen the world and no longer looks though young and innocent eyes.
Yet with such a process, a little of the magic is lost, and many of us believe lost for good. Fortunately, one man stands to prove us wrong.
Joseph Torres, better known to the world as J. Torres, has already brought us two issues of Aesop’s Ark, a collection of tales being told between the animals during the forty days and nights aboard Noah’s Ark. Grouped together with beautiful black and white pencils produced by Jennifer L Meyer, the story somehow takes you back to an age when you stared at the world in wonder but before the confusion the world creates sinks in.
The creatures are so endearing however, with subtle hints of deeper conflicts one would expect of the natural world, that the story is not in the slightest patronising. This is a comic for those cold winter nights that loom before us, together with a hot mug of cocoa. If I had my way, these would be presented to children at school, in the six to eight year old age ranges, to help them discover a love of comics, reading, and generally being nice people. In the meantime, they proudly adorn my coffee table, sat waiting for those moments when my faith needs a little restoration.