Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
A lot of things happen at Comic-Con, from media spectacles to actual comic book news. And amidst all the news, announcements and rigamarole this year was the debut of a new graphic novel by creators Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos. The two have done a number of books in their time, but this does it on a new stage — their own stage, self-publishing.
Fairy Quest: Outlaws is the first of a projected four-book series that takes the Western world’s most beloved fairy tales and sets them up in their own world — Fablewood — where they’re forced to re-enact their stories everyday like marionettes. Ramos is no stranger to creator-owned work; although he might be best known now for Amazing Spider-Man, he’s done far-ranging projects such as the vampire-epic Crimson to the Catholic thriller Revelations, amongst others. I talked with Ramos about Fairy Quest: Outlaws on the eve of the convention to find out more.
Humberto Ramos: Fairy Quest: Outlaws is the first of four books that tells the story of the Fablewood Kingdom, a place where all the fairy tale stories exist for one sole purpose: to tell their story. Every day they have to go to “work” and replay the stories every mom or dad read to their kids at bedtime. Life is quiet and simple if you follow this simple command: “Do not deviate.”
But well, things are about to get shaken up a little in Fablewood because some of the inhabitants aren’t happy anymore following the rules. Take Little Red and Mr. Woof, who both decide they wanted to stop being enemies and become friends; not a big deal, right? Everybody wants to have a true friend for like, but in Fablewood this is a problem… a big one.
So suddenly Little Red and Mr. Woof turn from the most dearest of Fablewood’s inhabitants to dangerous outlaws, and they find out the only way to keep their treasured friendship is to leave the kingdom.
That’s where their journey begins.
Ramos: As I said, this is a place where the characters from fairy tales exist and live, allowing us to have stories to tell our kids ad bedtime. Fablewood is populated with castles, villages, dark woods and candy cottages, all together.
Arrant: But all that is brought down by this rule not to deviate from the classic stories. Who enforces that rule?
Ramos: This is the backbone that supports the kingdom, and the force that keeps it that way is the Think Police, led by Mr. Grimm, a man who has zero tolerance for fooling around.
Arrant: And Mr. Grimm is out to get Little Red and Mr. Woof. Those two are familiar to audiences no matter who they are –- Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf. How are they different, or the same, than the versions people remember from storybooks?
Ramos: We want them to look a bit different from the stories we’ve read and the illustrations we’ve seen. This is an action/adventure story, and we wanted to deliver that in the looks of the characters. For example, Mr. Woof is the size of a horse and Little Red will ride him across the kingdom in pursuit of their goal.
Arrant: For people that didn’t make it to Comic-Con, how else can they get the book?
Ramos: This is a self-published edition and the print run was only for 1,000 books, so if there are any left we’ll take orders by writing to email@example.com.
Arrant: Last question: since this book is about fairy tales, what was your favorite one from when you were a child?
Ramos: I love fairy tales as much as every other kid out there, but the one that stands alone is, of course, Little Red Riding Hood.