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Graphic Novel Review: 'Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Sleepy Hollow'

Comics and MangaKristina PinoComment

The Grimm Fairy Tale comics are a series of classic stories with modern settings, twists, and expansions, which I've largely overlooked until recently. The first Grimm-titled book I picked up is a spin-off mini-series for the story of Sleepy Hollow. I read it digitally and it's in the form of a graphic novel, collecting all four parts of this story, which was just published on April 9th.

The general (original) story of Sleepy Hollow and the Headless Horseman has all of the elements we know from pop culture. A professor from out of town woos a pretty (and rich) lady that was the object of desire of that town's bully. The bully wants to get him out of the way, and presumably uses the old legend of a headless horseman to dress up and scare him away. He kills the professor, marries the girl, and the town is left to wonder about what happened. What this comic has done is take these basic elements and spit out an even more gruesome cautionary tale, made much more relatable to modern times by turning the professor into a teachers' aide college student, and fighting over grades rather than a girl.

In this version of the Sleep Hollow story, our main character is a college kid who lives with a jock room mate. He shows up to the gym one day and is told one of the basketball team's players needs to get his grades up. When he refuses to simply give up the answers to the test, our hero's fate is sealed. What started as a vicious prank to get him to talk turns into a horrible accident. And then, of course, their own Tarrytown (the very same one which originated the original story of Sleepy Hollow) gets to see just how real the old myth of the Headless Horseman is.

What I enjoyed about these comics is, of course, using something that's known and putting a spin on it. The imagery is dark and twisted, and I absolutely loved the attention to detail with some of the characters, who were given flashbacks just before revenge was exacted on them. There was some back-story as well, showing us the parallel between the original story and how history eventually repeated itself. There's a surprise twist at the end that kind of took me for a loop as well, and I wish that there had been an extra flashback to expand on it even more (no spoilers)!

One of the other great things about this book is you don't have to be familiar with the main series in order to enjoy it. It stands alone, though there's a character that comes up at the end that ties it in to the rest. Truthfully, it's gotten me interested in reading more of these comics. I'm really curious as to what direction has been taken for many of my favorite stories!

Finally, for being a horror story, it isn't actually that scary. It might be because the core myth has been a part of my life long enough that I don't find it scary anymore. But nonetheless, you shouldn't lose much sleep over it. You might lose a few hours when you decide to pick up more of these books, though. Give this one a read! (A note for parents: I recommend this for teens and up, but it's also kind of a "know your kid" situation.)

The main team involved with this book are:

Dan Wickline (writer, all four issues - lots of horror experience, including other titles in the Grimm collection)

Ralph Tedesco (writer, issue #1 - also lots of horror experience, and tons in the Grimm collection)

AC Osorio (penciller, all four issues)

Chandran Ponnusamy (colors, issue #1)

Erick Arciniega (colors, issues #2-4)

Several artists were showcased at the end where all of the individual issue covers were printed:

Matt Triano, Stjepan Sejic, Marat Mychaels, AlΓ© Garza, Eric Johnson, Simon Gough, and Sean Ellery. The story credit goes to Joe Brusha, Ralph Tedesco, and Raven Gregory.

Transparency: I received Grimm Fairy Tales Presents: Sleepy Hollow graphic novel as a digital review copy via Diamond Book Distributors on Netgalley.

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