Annabelle Speaks… Revisiting Nightmares and Fairy Tales
Nightmares and Fairy Tales is filled with grisly retellings of classic fairy tales and original horror stories, seen through the eyes of Annabelle, a little ragdoll who must struggle to understand her role in a world that she is trapped in. After having witnessed the suffering and sometimes horrific demises of her various owners, Annabelle fears she may be cursed, but she begins to learn that some people can hear her warnings – and that she may be able to protect the innocent after all.
Writer: Serena Valentino
Lettering: Joshua Archer and FSc
Before the film version of a doll named Annabelle came to the world of horror, there was Annabelle, the ragdoll. Nightmares and Fairy Tales is one of my all time favorite series, which I read originally in high school. It appealed to everything young Angel adored: dark horror with gothic flare. I loved things like Johnny the Homicidal Maniac and Lenore, which made Nightmares and Fairy Tales even more appealing to me, since it came from Slave Labor Graphics Publishing – the same publisher of many other favorites, including JTHM and Lenore.
The stories range in everything from deeply disturbing, to sentimental and even touching. Serena Valentino weaves all of these tales together through the use of Annabelle, a doll with a consciousness, that feels like she’s a curse on whoever possesses her, while in fact, in some cases, she’s the only thing protecting her companions. She bares witness to twisted versions of the fairy tales we all know, as well as unique, nightmarish tales of victims of misfortune.
The art FSc does for this series is gorgeous. Black and white, beautiful and eerie, with incredibly gorgeous designs and grotesque scenes of horror. I absolutely adore it. Fans of the art Jhonen Vasquez does in JTHM will love this style of artwork in Nightmares and Fairy Tales. The lettering, by both Joshua Archer and FSc, is art, itself. Everything about this series is elegant and creepy.
I used to read the two volumes I have – Nightmares and Fairy Tales volume one: Once Upon a Time, and Nightmares and Fairy Tales volume two: Beautiful Beasts – multiple times my freshman year, and recently reread them while stuck in quarantine. They still hold up to this day as some of my favorite stories in a comic anthology, and in horror, in general. I highly recommend checking out this series if you can locate them. I believe you can find volumes 1-3 on Amazon. I’m finally going to read volume 3, and hope to have a review of it up soon, as well.