Sunday, July 31, 2011

Nursery Rhyme Comics

First Second, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press, will release this coming October Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes From 50 Celebrated Cartoonists.

The value in this book for adults interested in sequential art can be found in the contributors. They include, among others, Tony Millionaire, Roz Chast, both Jaime and Gilberto Hernandez, Gahan Wilson, Richard Thompson and Craig Thompson, Jules Feiffer, Gene Luen Yang and even Hellboy creator Mike Mignola.

The cartoonists stuck to the oft-recited texts, for the most part, but their images swing to some delightful interpretations. Stephanie Vue’s “Hickory, Dickory, Dock” features a charmingly expressive mouse. Cyril Pedrosa’s lively “This Little Piggy” — predominantly pink and wiggly — looks as if it escaped from late-night MTV, except in a good way.

The drawback — as you might expect in a book that gathers a whopping 50 artists and from across a broad spectrum of genres — is that some of the entries are inspired, fun and mad, while some, well, aren’t.

But the real test for Nursery Rhyme Comics will come when I return the copy I read to the Accent editor at the newspaper where I work. She’ll read the comics to her young daughter.

Now that will be the true verdict.

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