Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Once Upon a Time Machine
Andrew Carl (Editor)
Chris Stevens (Producer)

Dark Horse Comics
October 23, 2012/ ISBN 978-1616550400
Graphic Novel / Fairy Tale Anthology

Reviewed by Beth E. McKenzie

If you have a fantasy art lover in your life then this is a gift in the making! There are over 400 pages of 50 re-imagined fables from across the globe from some of the most talented graphic artists practicing today. The compilation features twenty five full- and double-page illustrations interspersed between the 25 stories told in the graphic novel format.

I was not familiar with the source of every “new” fable, for example, I couldn’t figure out the source of Kid Yimage and the Really Big Hole by James Comey*, but recognized the moral as one that will apply for all time. My favorites are Riki-Tikki-Tavi (and it has been since I was a child), and The Tortoise and the Hare which was re-worked as a classic manga tale of rivalry and giant mechanical war robots! Hansel and Gretel; or, Bombus and Vespula were the most surprising of all of the stories for me, not at all like the original ending or moral.

I was intrigued with the inclusion of the standalone illustrations. I loved them, but they didn’t tell a full story. Each one made me wonder about the story that they could accompany. Why does the evil baker drive the line of gingerbread slaves? In which far-flung galaxy will Rip van Winkle awaken? What made the archer shoot at this Chang’e with fairy’s wings?

While all of the stories and illustrations are a brilliant success, the one that stands out the most in my mind as being true to its origins is A.L.I.C.E. It is every bit as nonsensical to me as the original must have been to Victorians!

Table of Contents:
(W) – Written, (I) – Illustrated, (L) – Lettered, (C) – Colored, (a) - assistance

One Thousand and One Nights; or 1001 by
Tara Alexander (W), Nelson Evergreen (I), Jason Arthur (L)
John Henry by
Andrew Carl (W), William Allan C. Reyes (I), Seamus Hefferman (C), Jason Arthur (L)
Peter Pan and Captain Hook by Edwin Rhemrev (I)
Goldilocks & the Three Bears; or, Silver-Hair and the Three Xairs
Lee Nordling (W), Scott Roberts (I), Scott O. Brown (L)
Jack and the Beanstalk by Mark R. Bernal (I)
The Little Mermaid by Brandon Graham (I), Marion Churchland (I)
Pinocchio; or, The Stars Are Not Wanted Now by
Jason Rodriguez (W), Scott White (I), Jason Arthur (L)
The Genie in the Lamp by William Dean Blankenship, Jr. (I)
The Tortoise and the Hare; or, The Tea Garden Park Soapbox Grand Prix by
David Tanh (W), Marcus Muller (I), Jason Arthur (L)
Humpty Dumpty by Ryan Ottley (I), Derek Hunter (C)
The Three Musketeers by
Chip Skelton (W,I), Amida Azeez Olayode (W), Box Brown (C), Jason Arthur (L)
Dr. Frankenstein’s Lab by William Allan C. Reyes (I), Lance Erlick (C)
The Three Little Pigs by Ferry Ickhwano (I)
Sweet Porridge; or, Sweet Science by
Storme Smith (W), Gary Heaney (I), Gav Heryng (C), Jason Arthur (L)
The Gingerbread Man by David Garrido (I)
The Three Little Pigs by Jamie Roberts (W,I,L), Chris Horan (La)
Red Riding Hood by Marcio Takara (I), Ben Solo (C)
The Puppet Show Man; or, No Strings by
Eric Hobbs (W), Noel Tuazon (I), Rafer Roberts (L)
The Last Leaf by
Jason Mullikin (W), Jason Copland (I), Bernie Gonzalez (C), Jason Arthur (L)
Rip Van Winkle by R.J. Johnston (I)
The Shepherd and the Weaver Girl by
Saajan Patel (W), Jim Giar (I), Mandy Moore (C), Rafer Roberts (L)
Riki-Tikki-Tavi by
Mike Exner III (W), Ricardo Jurado (I), Tim During (C), Jason Arthur (L)
Red Riding Hood by Cary Nord (I), Lance Erlick (C)
The Billy Goats Gruff; or, the Crossing by Charles Featherolf (W, I, L)
Pinocchio by Ferry Ickhwano (I)
Kid Yimage and the Really Big Hole by James Comey (W, I, L)
Peter and the Wolf by Jeffro Kilpatrick (I)
The Ugly Duckling; or, The Ugly Part by
Magnus Aspli (W), Meritxell Bosch (I), Jason Arthur (L)
The Boy Who Cried Wolf or the Venusian Shepherd Boy Who Cried Space Wolf
Rob Woods (W, I, L)
Rapunzel by Lucas Seven (I), Lance Erlick (C)
Beauty and the Beast by Heriberto Antonio Hernandez (I), Lance Erlick (C)
Alice in Wonderland; or, A.L.I.C.E.
Fred Duran (W), Dave Proch (I), Lance Erlick (C), Rafer Roberts (L)
Pygmalion by Lance Erlick (I)
The Five Chinese Brothers by
Justin Hughes (W), Jim McMunn (I), Jason Meadows (L)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves by Nathan Stockman (I), Mike Sgier (C)
The Headless Horseman by Silvester Aguilar (I), Renato Guerrra (C)
The Lion and the Mouse; or Caged by
Glen Arseneau (W, L), Tomás Aranda (I), Ivan Plascencia (C), Caroline Cuevas (Ca)
Vasilissa the Beautiful by
Tom Alexander (W), Sean Thornton (I), Javi Chaler (C), Glenn Arseneau (L)
Cinderella by Weshoyot Alvitre (I), Lance Erlick (C)
The Frog Prince by Frankie B. Washington (I)
Momotaro; or, The Peach-Pit Boy by
Aaron Juergens (W), Drew Moss (I), Paul Little (C), Jason Arthur (L)
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame by Ferry Ickhwano (I)
Tinkerbell and Friends by Ingrid K. V. Hardy (I)
Humpty Dumpty by
Justin Postlewaite (W), Bruno Hidalgo (I), Jason Arthur (L)
The Boy Who Drew Cats by
Chris Stevens (W), Khoi Pham (I), José Villarrubia (C), Todd Klein (L)
Chang’e by Alice Melchi Li (I)
Santa Claus by Jill Thompson (I)
The Gold Piece; or, A Destiny Earned
James W. Powell (W), Pam López (I), Jason Arthur (L)
Hansel and Gretel; or, Bombus and Vespula by
Josh O’Neill (W), Senk Chhour (I), Michelle Madsen (C), John Workman (L)
Unicorns by Michael Di Pascale (I)

Reviewer's Note: Holiday: There is one Christmas illustration

*In an October 2012 interview with the Philadelphia City Paper the creators let us in on a joke. The only two rules given to contributors were that they had to do something with the story that hadn’t been done before, and they had to honor the original in some way without overtly challenging or subverting it. Mr. Comey broke both the rules by making up his own fable.

Reviewed 2013