Kids and Teen Blog
With Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists hitting stores next week, we thought we'd take the opportunity to chat with the extremely talented Luke Pearson about his contribution to the book—an adaptation of Japanese fairy tale called 'The Boy Who Drew Cats.'
How did you become involved with Fairy Tale Comics?
I just got an email from Chris Duffy asking me if I wanted to be in it. It was a very easy decision to say yes.
I wasn’t familiar with the fairy tale you choose to adapt. Where did you come across it?
I wasn't familiar with it either. In the aforementioned email, Chris said that if I was into it, he'd be interested in me taking on either 'The Boy Who Drew Cats' or 'The Baba Yaga' (with others available if I didn't like either of them.) I felt sure I'd do Baba Yaga because I knew that story and I knew it would be really fun to adapt, but I checked out the other one anyway.
What attracted you to the story?
I liked that the non-European setting made it feel more like a folk tale than a fairy tale, or at least made me consider the differences and similarities between those two things. It's easy to think of all fairy tales basically being those collected by the Brothers Grimm and this felt very different to those. I liked that even though it does feature some classic bad parenting and generally weird attitude to children, it's overall message seems enjoyably bizarre rather than morally dubious. And I could see how it was going to be visually appealing to me. The image of these drawings of cats with blood round their mouths felt like something I wanted to draw as soon as I read it.
Also, I don't think it was a deciding factor, but the fact that I wasn't familiar with it and didn't have countless previous interpretations at the back of my mind, kind of freed me up a bit to go with my instincts rather than subconsciously react to what I've seen before.
Your (wonderful) Hilda books also have a very magical quality. Are you interested in fairy tales and mythology?
I am and always have been to some extent. My Hilda books draw really heavily on Scandinavian folklore overall, although references to the folklore of other cultures has started to sneak in. For instance, the raven in Hilda and The Bird Parade is a reference to both Odin's ravens and the Native American thunderbird myth. In the next book I'm starting to tap into English folk tales. I'm generally more interested in the kind of strange, small scale folk tales involving regular people and household spirits, rather than the epic mythology involving gods and their squabbles.
Are there any other fairy tales you would like to illustrate?
I'd really like to do some straight adaptations of some of the Norwegian and Icelandic tales that I've pilfered various elements from in the past.
Were you concerned that ‘The Boy Who Drew Cats’ might be too scary for children?
I made a point of only hinting at the mangled body of the goblin rat, but I'm generally not actually concerned about scaring children. It's not a bad thing for children to be scared sometimes. I feel like the stuff that scared me as a child is the stuff that stuck with me and I think back on most fondly almost.
What are your favourite stories in the book [aside from your own!]?
My favourites were Joseph Lambert's Rabbit Will Not Help, Charise Mericle Harper's The Small Tooth Dog, Graham Annable's Goldilocks and Jillian Tamaki's version of Baba Yaga.
What’s coming next from you?
Another Hilda book next year and hopefully some other stuff before and after.
Fairy Tale Comics is available September 24.