The Weirding Willows is a new comic released by Titan Comics, written by Dave Elliot with art by Barnaby Bagenda and Sami Basri.
This story is impressively ambitious, it’s based upon the adventures of Alice in Wonderland, but more importantly, it focuses on the areas which were left out of the original. It also ties in all your favourite childhood fairy tales too, like Snow White to name just one. It’s always fun to have a look at different peoples interpretations of a story, especially the areas which aren’t written in great detail. One of my favourite things within comics and books is having some visual aid for the world. In Weirding Willows, the first image that we see is a map of the world, with images of each area. I love having maps as it gives you some idea of the distance that the characters are travelling.
Immediately this was more gruesome than I expected. I think I was more expecting the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland, which although sometimes scarily bizarre, is nice and colourful taking which takes some of that creepiness away. One of the things which immediately caught my attention is the outfit which Alice is introduced in; she comes in wearing nothing more than what appears to be a mens shirt. It seems oddly sexual and out of place in the scenario. Despite this, it does seem to fit in with Alice’s character within here, as she no longer seems to be the young, innocent and naïve girl that I grew used to in my childhood. The story has many different characters, the majority of which you’ll recognise, as I do despite not being a fairy tale fanatic. You’ll be introduced to the likes of Peter Rabbit and Dr Jeckle, it’s very interesting to see how everything will tie together in the long run. There are also little quotes every now and then that will make your inner fairy tale fan go wild.
The only issue I have with this story is that it gets a little too busy. There are characters being introduced left and right and it makes it difficult to know who the good guys, bad guys and the extras are. It can get more than a little confusing in areas, especially when you don’t know who is supposed to be the protagonist. However it’s clear that it is inspired by the cartoon movies and it’s still very unique and the characters all seem to have developed their own personalities and obsessions.
The artwork is oddly fitting. It’s more detailed which makes everything seem a little more nitty gritty and horrific rather than being all clean and cartoon-like. It makes everything just that much more creepy. There is also a very smart use of facial features within animals, making them full of character without turning them into humanoids, which is a very difficult effect to create. Despite having two artists and an array of colourists, the art feels consistent throughout the entire volume, which is something that doesn’t frequently happens when comics are given multiple artists.
Overall, it is a good story based on all of the most well-known and well-loved fairy tales. There are a few issues though unfortunately as things sometimes feel a bit convoluted, but that said this is definitely a new take on the concept and it’s certainly interesting. The way in which the characters have relations to each other is very clever and doesn’t feel forced. The only issue I had was the volume of characters that were introduced within a short period of time, as it got very confusing defining the characters and placing their personalities. It distracted from getting to know and connect with the characters as you go along, which is something that I find myself enjoying in other comics. As it is, I feel as though I’ve read an issue, when you’re left with the feeling of not knowing enough, but I’m not used to this feeling after reading an entire volume. I would recommend it to anyone who loves fairy tales, and if you can put up with the mass amount of characters being introduced quickly, then you may just love it. As it stands, it’s good but it’s got a few little problems that impact enjoyment.