November 10, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Such a simple concept, but with complicated results, all positive, “Nurse Rhyme Comics” is exactly what it says it is. That title might be an acceptable way of presenting what sort of material is contained within, but the level of the contributors is another thing entirely, and what they add to such brief and well-trod material shows clearly why they are at the top of their game.
Compiler Duffy has fashioned the sort of multi-faceted collection that finds alternative cartoonist Lille Carre lending a primitive version of her creepy style to “Song A Song of Sixpence” alongside Jules Feiffer’s frantic “Girls and Boys Come Out Play.” Hellboy creator Mike Mignola grimly realizes “Solomon Grundy,” while the always delightful Sara Varon imbues “Mary Had A Little Lamb” with a quirky sweetness.
Other highlights include Gilbert Hernandez’s “Humpty Dumpty,” David McCaulay’s “London Bridge Is Falling Down,” James Sturm’s “Jack Be Nimble” and Marc Rosenthal’s “Yon Yonson,” which is re-imagined as a tour de force of meta-absurdism.
The idea is to reframe these classics by offering them personalities and narratives that speak to a modern kid, particularly a funky one. Nursery rhymes don’t have to appear stuffy or outdated — they’re nonsensical, brutal, sarcastic, heartbreaking and harrowing, and the sequential versions here bring out all that and much more.