I Hate Fairyland

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'I Hate Fairyland'
Cover of I Hate Fairyland #1, featuring Gertrude and Larry.
Publication information
PublisherImage Comics
ScheduleMonthly
FormatOngoing series
GenreComedy, Fantasy
Publication dateOctober 2015
No. of issues20
Main character(s)Gertrude
Larry
Creative team
Written bySkottie Young
Artist(s)Skottie Young,
Letterer(s)Nate Piekos
Colorist(s)Jean-Francois Beaulieu

I Hate Fairyland is a black comedy fantasy comic written and illustrated by Skottie Young, and published by Image Comics, which started publication in October 2015. The comic follows Gertrude, a woman who was transported to a mystical world called Fairyland as a child. Thirty years later, Gertrude is now an un-aging, violent misanthrope who, alongside her reluctant guide and friend Larry, constantly tries and fails to return to the real world.

Publication History[edit]

According to a Paste Magazine interview, Skottie Young first developed the concept while working on 2009's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz limited series at Marvel Comics, with the idea that Dorothy would eventually "be super annoyed by all these characters."[1] Gertrude being an adult stuck in a child's body came from Young's experiences as a new father, finding himself repeatedly reading and watching the same picture books and preschool shows with his child. Young claims Mad Magazine, the DC Comics character Lobo and Tank Girl as other significant influences. The first issue was released on October 14, 2015. It sold an estimated 50,300 copies and was the 42nd best selling issue of the month by units.[2]

Plot[edit]

Madly Ever After[edit]

The plot starts with Gertrude falling into Fairyland as a ten-year-old. She spends 27 years looking for the key to escape with her insect sidekick Larry, but never ages, resulting in her becoming a violent sociopath. After terrorizing Fairyland, Queen Cloudia, the ruler of Fairyland, sends after Gertrude many 'villains', such as a witch named Horribella. With each attempt ending in failure, Queen Cloudia then decides to kill her personally. She consults the Fairyland Council and they devise a plan to rid of Gertrude. As the Queen cannot directly harm any guests, Cloudia invites another child, Happy, into Fairyland, to make Gertude a citizen of Fairyland. Gertude confronts Happy and shortly tries to kill her, but is easily defeated by Happy. After Gertrude recovers, she visits Queen Cloudia and asks her what is going on. Cloudia tells her she's too late, and admits she helped Happy on her quest to find the key. Sometime after, Happy does find the key. Annoyed by this, Gerturde finds Darketh Deaddeath, who she asks to help her defeat Happy. He agrees to help her, only if she proves herself. She survives his dungeon, and insults him. He then decides to help her. Happy almost uses the key to exit Fairyland, but then Gertrude stops her in her tracks. After a battle, Gertrude defeats Happy and then kills Cloudia. Before she can return home, Larry informs her that killing the Queen makes her the Queen herself, resulting in her unhappily taking the throne.

Fluff My Life[edit]

After a disastrous year as Fairyland's "evil queen", Gertrude is impeached and resumes looking for a way home. While meeting with Pervis Peddlesteal, an anthropomorphic rat who collects artefacts from Earth, she encounters Ducan, a human boy dressed in a dragon Halloween costume recently arrived in Fairyland. Duncan joins Gertrude on her travels, however, she willingly abandons him in the Tower of Battle, a gigantic arcade machine populated by powerful fighters. One hundred years later, Duncan has become an actual giant dragon and lays waste to Fairyland, killing all but a small handful of survivors, including Gertrude and Larry. Using the last remaining magic in Fairyland, Larry transports Gertrude back in time to the present of the series to warn her younger self away from the decisions that lead to the destruction of Fairyland. The older Gertrude gives her younger self step-by-step instructions to avert the apocalypse, but wearily notes that she has not listened to any of them, fading from existence as her younger self rushes into the first of many disasters.

Good Girl[edit]

Gertrude meets Maddie, a denizen of Fairyland and her self-proclaimed "biggest fan", who idolises Gertude for the violence and death she has spread. Although initially happy to take Maddie on as a protege, Gertrude quickly becomes sick of her, and realises that she does not like the person she has become. She murders Maddie and resolves to become a better person. Despite her best intentions, Gertrude repeatedly fails to do good, leaving just as much death and destruction in her wake. However, Larry tells her of a mysterious Labyrinth which could hold the secret to helping her become good, and concedes that, as miserable as his life with Gertrude has been, it probably would have been even worse had they never met. When they reach the Labyrinth, its master, Loveth Lovelord, makes Gertrude a deal; if she can reach the center of the Labyrinth before the next "Lover's Moon" and find the "Balls of Redemption", all the evil will be purged from her being, if she fails, she must become his wife. Gertrude manages to find the centre of the Labyrinth, and Loveth unleashes the beast that guards the Balls, which turns out to be Duncan. Despite Duncan demonstrating the newly acquired draconic powers of flight and fire breathing, Gertrude easily defeats him and touches the Balls of Redemption, becoming a perfectly good and sweet child similar to Happy. The newly good Gertrude makes quick progress in her quest, prompting Horribella to hire the deadliest assassins in Fairyland to stop her on behalf of an unseen "Ruler of All That is Dark". Gertrude finds her key and heads back to the centre of Fairyland to finally leave. Horribella's assassins attack her, but all inexplicably miss her when they throw their weapons. Gertude picks up a lollipop and skips towards the door, but trips and falls at the last moment, causing the lollipop to penetrate her brain, killing her instantly. As Larry quietly mourns her death, Gertude descends into Hell, the effects of the Balls reversed. Upon arriving in Hell, she is met by the "Ruler of All That Is Dark"- Happy.

Sadly Never After[edit]

The ruler of Hell is revealed not to be Happy, but a shapeshifting demon named Bill assuming her form. After failing to torment Gertrude with a twisted version of her home, he condemns her to an eternity of repeating her quest. Meanwhile, Horribella calls Bill and demands Queen Cloudia's bones, her payment for engineering Gert's death. Bill has the bones delivered to her by Duncan, who has become a postal courier. Horribella, planning to bring about the end of Fairyland, resurrects Cloudia as a powerful undead being who kills her and goes on a destructive rampage. Realising that Gertrude is the only one who can defeat "Dark Cloudia", Duncan and Larry confront the Fairyland Council and tell them that they must resurrect Gertrude to save Fairyland. The Council initially refuse, citing the rules of Fairyland, but Duncan retorts that the rules, and the Council, are directly responsible for the crisis, and that by kidnapping children like him and Gertrude, they have abdicated any moral authority. One of the Council member concedes that Duncan is correct, and orders Bill to deliver the pocket dimension containing Gert's Hell to the council chamber. Duncan and Larry enter Hell and inform Gertrude about Dark Cloudia, Gertrude agrees to kill Cloudia again. When returned to Fairyland she attempts to renege on the deal and demands to return to Hell when she realises that her actions would serve the Council's purpose. The Council nevertheless promises to return Gerturde home if she succeeds, and forcibly empowers her with their combined magic. Meanwhile, Dark Cloudia destroys the army of King Cone, the new Fairyland king, who tried to stop her wave of destruction in vain. Before the villain could slain the king, however, Gert appears and attacks her with their new magical powers, depowering Dark Cloudia and beating her up. Although Gert almost kill Cloudia again, Larry reminds her that the Council never specified that Cloudia has to die in their request, and Gert decides to follow his advice for once and gives the defeated villain to King Cone in order to be imprisoned for her crimes. The Council then appears, angry because Gert didn't kill Cloudia (despite the fact that she technically fulfilled their request) and threatening to exile her to a remote place in Fairyland, until Gert reminds them that she still has their combined magic inside her and would use it to kill them unless they honor their part of the deal, and the fearful Council quickly sends her back home, much to Larry's sorrow. Unfortunately, back in Earth, Gert, now an adult woman in her thirties, finds herself living a boring and depressing life, working as a clerk in a TV station in order to earn a living, missing her life in Fairyland and wishing to return, realising too late that normal life isn't as marvelous as she remembered.

Collected editions[edit]

Trade paperbacks[edit]

Title ISBN Release Date Collected Material
I Hate Fairyland Volume 1: Madly Ever After ISBN 978-1632156853 April 26, 2016 Issues #1–5
I Hate Fairyland Volume 2: Fluff My Life ISBN 978-1632158871 December 13, 2016 Issues #5–10
I Hate Fairyland Volume 3: Good Girl ISBN 978-1534303300 October 24, 2017 Issues #10–15
I Hate Fairyland Volume 4: Sadly Never After ISBN 978-1534306806 September 4, 2018 Issues #16-20

Hardcovers[edit]

Title ISBN Release Date Collected Material
I Hate Fairyland Book One ISBN 978-1534303805 December 12, 2017 Issues #1–10, plus extras

Reception[edit]

According to the review aggregation website Comic Book Roundup, the first issue of I Hate Fairyland received an average score of 8.6/10 from critics, based on 21 reviews.[3] National Public Radio's Etelka Lehocky described it as "a great palate cleanser for anyone who's recoiled from pink-princess politics" and praised "Young's clever storytelling".[4] IGN included it as one of the "Top Comics to read this week" [5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Tutton, Robert. "State of the Art: Skottie Young Devastates Kids Fantasy Tropes in I Hate Fairyland". pastemagazine.com. Paste Magazine.
  2. ^ "October 2015 Comic Book Sales Figures". comichron.com. comichron.
  3. ^ "I Hate Fairyland Reviews". ComicBookRoundup.com.
  4. ^ Lehoczky, Etelka. "No Pink, But Plenty Of Red, In Hack-N-Slash 'Fairyland'". NPR.org. National Public Radio. Retrieved 27 May 2016.
  5. ^ Yehl, Joshua. "Top Comics to Buy This Week: October 14, 2015". IGN.