Far Out Fairy Tales: Ninja-Rella – Joey Comeau

Illustrations – Omar Lozano

Okay, Ninja-rella is really fun! As one of the Far Out Fairy Tales graphic novels, the original gets twisted in some imaginative ways. I love that Ninja-rella isn’t hoping to go to the Prince’s ball because she wants her happily ever after, being saved from her circumstances by the Prince and then marrying him. No, this version of Cinderella wants to save herself and the Prince by becoming his “extremely awesome royal ninja bodyguard”.

Having learned to be smart from her mother and strong from her father, Cinderella transforms herself into a kick-ass ninja, now known as Ninja-rella, after her mother’s death. Of course, her father remarries a woman with two daughters and after he too dies, Ninja-rella is relegated to servant by her cliché evil stepmother.

On the evening of the ball the most adorable little fairy godninja rocks up to outfit Ninja-rella in appropriate ninja attire and provides her with her glass katana sword!

There’s no pumpkin or talking animals in this version so Ninja-rella makes her own way to the ball.

Ninja-rella has some brilliant moves and her expressions are priceless. I appreciated that it’s her strength and skills that shine in this story instead of her beauty. I really connected to her and loved her determination and attitude.

The illustrations were fantastic, capturing Ninja-rella’s emotions and moves well. I always enjoy the bonus material at the end of the Far Out Fairy Tales stories: an explanation of the original story, illustrated representation of the main differences between the original and Far Out version, questions to get the reader to think about what they’ve read and a glossary that explains tricky words.

My main nitpick with this story is that I was disappointed Ninja-rella ran from the Prince so he wouldn’t see her rags at midnight. I would’ve thought this Cinderella wouldn’t give a damn about her clothes and what others thought of them. However I concede it’s a necessary evil to move the plot along to the all important search for the owner of the glass katana.

As a side note, I always found it bizarre in the version I grew up with that at midnight all of the fairy godmother magic is undone – except for the slipper the Prince took door to door. Surely the glass slipper should have vanished or transformed back into its pre-magic form like everything else?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Cinderella’s stepmother and two stepsisters treat her like dirt. Each and every day, they force her to clean their clothes, cook their meals, and only give her rags to wear and crumbs to eat. But each night, in secret and in shadows, Cinderella trains to be a ninja! More than anything, Cinderella yearns to become the Prince’s personal bodyguard. When the opportunity to prove her worth to the Prince finally arrives in the form of an invitation to a royal costume ball, Cinderella’s stepmother won’t let her go! But this time around, Ninja-rella isn’t going to take “no” for an answer …

Far Out Fairy Tales: Red Riding Hood, Superhero – Otis Frampton

My library ordered more Far Out Fairy Tales and Red Riding Hood, Superhero is one I’d really been looking forward to getting my big teeth into (sorry but I had to go there!). While it was still a fun twist on the original it was lacking the woohoo! factor of some of the others in the series.

Ruby Topper first gained her awesome powers of flight, laser-ray vision and extreme strength when she freaked out an alien by hugging it in Area 54. The poor alien mistook the loving squeeze for attack and accidentally left its magical red hood and cloak behind when it took off in its UFO, possibly never to be seen again.

Since acquiring her new favourite outfit, Ruby has saving the Earth and moon from the nefarious plots and schemes of super-villains, unbeknownst to her mother.

This adventure begins with Ruby and her mother on their way to Camp David to celebrate the granny’s (A.K.A, the President’s) birthday. On their way Ruby/Red discovers that familiar foe, Professor Grimm, is up to his old tricks. Determined to achieve world domination, Grimmy has decided to kidnap granny using his latest invention, the Big Bad Wolf-Bot. It’s up to Ruby to save the day, or else President granny won’t be enjoying any birthday cake this year!

As is standard with the Far Out Fairy Tales series, the story has some cool twists on the original (which is described after the twisted version) and there are wonderful illustrations, along with visual story questions, a guide to the main differences between the original and twisted versions of the tale and a glossary for tricky words.

I didn’t connect with the characters in this tale and unlike a lot of the others, I didn’t find this one funny. I liked the twisted changes that were made, especially Red’s transformation from victim to superhero. However, while this was a decent enough story, I don’t feel the need to ramble on about the wonders of this graphic novel.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

While taking a tour of Area 54 with her grandmother, the President of the United States, little Ruby Topper discovers a mysterious little alien carrying a red hood. When Ruby dons the crimson cape and cowl, it grants her AMAZING SUPERPOWERS! But will her newfound abilities be enough to save the White House – and her grandmother – from the rampaging Big Bad Wolf-Bot?

Far Out Fairy Tales: Sleeping Beauty, Magic Master – Stephanie True Peters

Illustrations – Alex López

I think this is my new favourite Far Out Fairy Tales graphic novel. I’m almost positive that the photo finish shows Sleeping Beauty, Magic Master just a spindle ahead of Snow White and the Seven Robots.

This Sleeping Beauty isn’t interested in all of that

🎵 One day you’ll awaken to love’s first kiss

Till then, Sleeping Beauty, sleep on 🎵

nonsense. She can save her entire kingdom, thank you very much, and while she’s at it she’ll rescue a prince too. There’s also no way this Aurora will be caught sleeping on the job. She’s got an epic, magical quest on her agenda! I love this story! It’s much more interesting and fun than the original.

Along the way she’ll meet all types of magical folk and she does this by herself, without a clichéd love interest getting in the way of a good story. There’s also a surprise appearance by the most adorable pink dragon 🐉. Aww! 😍

The Good Fairy has a brilliant set of mauve wings and some awesome expressions, the Bad Fairy is certainly in need of their rudely interrupted beauty sleep and the Yeti is, well, a Yeti. What’s not to love about a Yeti?!

Alex Lopez’s illustrations are wonderful! They had plenty of magic to work with and Aurora’s personality is really brought to life in the panels, from her dismal failures to her blech! face after having to touch something icky, through to her woohoo! moments. I particularly loved that the gutters were either white or black, depending on what was happening in the story. [For those that aren’t graphic novel experts, a gutter is the space between panels. See? This graphic novel even taught me something! 😊]

Between the epic quest, the humour, the magic and everything else that you can find out for yourself when you read it, this was ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ fun from start to finish.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

In a faraway land, a princess named Aurora lives in a castle, honing her enchantments amid a slumbering kingdom! When the princess was just a baby, a wicked fairy cursed the realm with unending sleep. But a kind fairy had her own spell to cast – she saved the newborn and granted the girl the gift of magic! Now, Aurora is the only one who can awaken her subjects by concocting a potion made up of the world’s rarest ingredients. Faced with strange places and fantastical creatures, can Aurora succeed in her epic quest, or will the kingdom – and she – be doomed to doze forever?

Far Out Fairy Tales: Hansel & Gretel & Zombies – Benjamin Harper

Illustrations – Fernando Cano

🧟‍♀️ 🧠 BRRAAINS! 🧠 🧟‍♂️

Hansel and Gretel are The Walking Dead in Hansel & Gretel & Zombies. Along with their parents who have dead boring (sorry!) names of Mr Undead and Mrs Undead, Hansel and Gretel are protein deficient. Their corner of the Magical Forest doesn’t attract many brains these days and in a broken lightbulb moment Momma zombie comes up with a plan – to disguise her undead children as not dead children to trick tourists into helping them find their way home to the cemetery for dinner, Hannibal Lector style.

All dressed up with Gretel’s gaping hole in her skull covered with a bonnet and Hansel’s missing eye still glowing an eerie fluorescent yellow-green, our undead kidlets wander off and wind up at Ms Witch’s newly renovated cottage. The children prove their zombieness (I can make up words. It’s my review! 😜) by their abhorrence of all things sugar. A battle of wits ensues.

Fernando Cano’s illustrations are suitably entertaining. I loved the old cemetery.

My favourite panels show Gretel trying to form an idea. I won’t spoil what it looks like but I’m still amused. On the attention to detail side of things only Mrs Undead’s stitched mouth lines are consistent throughout. All of the other zombies have mouth stitches on some panels but not others.

The storyline was okay but not overly captivating. The twist at the end was a let down for me. Overall I prefer the original fairy tale, which is more far out than this Far Out Fairy Tales version.

So, it’s now time to beg my library to buy the rest of this series! 😃

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

The Undead Family is out of brains to eat! Tourists have stopped visiting their home – a graveyard – for some time now, and the family of zombies is starving. So they venture into the Magical Forest, disguised as tourists, hoping to lure humans to an early grave! Unfortunately, an evil witch has other plans for the crepescular kiddies and sets up her own tourist trap …

Far Out Fairy Tales: Jak and the Magic Nano-Beans – Carl Bowen

Illustrations – Omar Lozano

Now, this is fuel for my Far Out Fairy Tales obsession. Jak, a girl in this version with a very funky hairdo, has been told by her internet obsessed mother (well, her avatar anyway) that she has to sell her best friend Cow, a robot, for parts to the scrap man. The scrap man makes a deal with Jak to save Cow and possibly even the planet, but it means a trip to the space station at the top of the elevator to Cloud Kingdom to find some magic nano-beans.

Jak and Cow actually have personalities!! Naturally Jak’s mother’s avatar looks nothing like her and she calls at the most inconvenient times, which was part of the humour of the story for me. There’s a monstrosity of a space octopus type creature that stands in for the giant in the original fairy tale.

The most fun of all was the use of the word scrap, which will never be the same after you read this graphic novel. My favourite was “Holy Scrap!”, although “What the scrap?!” also deserves a mention.

The illustrations were just as fun as the story, with Jak’s personality coming alive with her expressions. The different colours used for the locations helped set the tone for each part of the story.

This story had a bit of everything I look for in a graphic novel – characters with personalities, adventure, humour, danger and some good ol’ quirky bits. There weren’t any boring sections in the story and I followed along without having to reread sections to work out what I missed. I’d happily reread this one!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Jak and her robotic servant, Cow, are in a pickle; Mom wants Jak to sell Cow for scrap, but Cow and Jak have become best friends. So instead of selling the rusty old robot for spare change, Jak strikes a bargain with the scrap collector: if Jak and Cow can visit the Cloud Kingdom via the Space Elevator and get hold of some magic nano-beans, Jak can keep Cow safe and sound. But what they find in space is anything but safe – and its sounds are far from soothing …

Far Out Fairy Tales: Goldilocks and the Three Vampires – Laurie S. Sutton

Illustrations – C.S. Jennings

It was Snow White and the Seven Robots that started my Far Out Fairy Tales obsession. I’ve now got in my hot little hands all of the other graphic novels in this series that my library currently own (until I beg them to buy the rest). Because of my love of the Snow White retelling I was excited to see what strangeness and wonder Goldilocks would offer.

Comparing this book to the Snow White one I was disappointed. It’s still entertaining and I know I shouldn’t compare but I was glad I found Snow White first because I doubt Goldilocks and the Three Vampires would have ignited a new obsession.

The three vampires didn’t make me want to sink my teeth (sorry!) into the story as their personalities were about as dead as they were. Goldilocks was more interesting and thankfully she was smart but she was a bit too much of a know it all to make me warm to her. I kind of wanted to vampires, or at least the spiders, to triumph in the end.

The story itself was fun. Goldilocks is on an Indiana Jones style adventure with her very own flying arrow death trap to navigate along the way. Goldilocks is a crypt cracker and the National Museum has sent her to study a tomb rumoured to have treasures hidden by King Arthur inside. She has to use her smarts and some gymnastic ability to survive three death traps before stumbling upon the homes of three vampires.

I loved C.S. Jennings’ illustrations, particularly the various expressions of the vampires and the massive spiders.

The glossary and questions about the story are great extras at the end. The section at the end outlining the main differences between the original story and this Far Out version are very helpful. I hadn’t actually picked up on the three traps correlating to the original Goldilocks trying out the porridge, chairs and beds.

While there wasn’t anything specifically wrong with this graphic novel, with vampires 🧛‍♀️ 🧛‍♂️ 🧛‍♂️ , spiders 🕷 and an archaeological expedition, I was looking for a wow factor that I didn’t find.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Goldilocks is an explorer extraordinaire. Curious and fearless, Goldi searches the world for hidden artifacts and forgotten treasures of ancient civilisations. When her travels bring her to a creepy crypt, she discovers more than just dusty relics in the shadowy chambers … She’s stumbled into the home of one, two, THREE blood-sucking vampires! Can Goldi use her smarts to navigate the tomb’s tricky traps and defeat the vampire trio, or is this her last archeological adventure?

Far Out Fairy Tales: Snow White and the Seven Robots – Louise Simonson

Illustrations – Jimena Sanchez S

I found my new graphic novel series obsession! It’s the Far Out Fairy Tales series! I’ve just powered my way through Snow White and the Seven Robots and ordered every other one my library owns. I love my library for introducing me to amazing stories I’d probably never find otherwise.

This quirky retelling of Snow White takes place in Techworld and Snow White has been created. Queen Regent fears Snow’s intelligence, not beauty! Woohoo! Hello, new world of fairytales!

The Queen’s magic mirror is a satellite that monitors their planet and the Queen doesn’t offer Snow a poisoned apple. This evil, evil traitor offers Snow [sniff, sniff 😢] poisoned chocolate! How dare she taint the most heavenly of the food groups!

Entertaining for adults although allegedly they’re aimed at kids, this graphic novel is a delightful retelling where Snow is not only intelligent but is gifted specifically in science. After the story there are extra bits including a glossary of terms, a summary of the original tale and some of the key differences between the old and new stories.

It’s a quick read that I’d happily reread and the illustrations are excellent! My only nitpick (and it’s a minor one) is that I would have loved for the seven robots to have names and individual personalities.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Far, far away, on a distant planet called Techworld, a little girl named Snow White is born. Created by the planet’s smartest minds to be the perfect scientist, Snow immediately shows a knack for working with electronics. The Queen, fearing for her crown, exiles Snow White so she cannot grow up and take the Queen’s place as the most intelligent person on the planet. However, Snow White’s willingness to help those in need – especially the downtrodden robots of Techworld – earns her many friends, and they are all quite eager to help her cause.