Center for Cartoon Studies alumnus and Eisner-award-winning graphic novelist Joseph Lambert was recently invited by editor Chris Duffy to participate in Fairy Tale Comics, Duffy’s second children’s comics anthology for First Second.
“Chris and I have known each other or a few years,” Lambert said. “We have similar tastes so we always end up chatting at conventions.”
Lambert’s piece in Fairy Tale Comics is an adaptation from Dora Lee Newman’s retelling of the traditional American folktale “Br’er Rabbit Won’t Help,” in which the titular trickster gets his just desserts from the other animals of the forest.
“Chris chose the Bre’er Rabbit story for me,” Lambert said. “He’s given me positive feedback about my comics in the past, and I think he thought I would be a good fit because of the musical element, and the mischievous animal characters, both elements are things I have played with in the past.”
“Rabbit Will Not Help” features several sequences in which Rabbit plays music, expressed by flowing, brambly, abstract shapes that float in the air above the characters’ heads.
“Playing with those types of non-physical elements always feels like a natural progression from all of the other non-physical things that are traditionally represented in comics,” Lambert said. “Things like sweat drops or motion lines, sound effects or even word balloons or just words in general; all of those things are non-physical things that, over the decades, have been played with and become part of the comics lexicon.
“So it’s a little bit like taking the rules of time-tested cartooning and trying to be inventive within that context.”
Fairy Tale Comics is due to be released in bookstores nationwide on September 24. The anthology also features stories by Emily Carroll, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez, Raina Talgemeier, Jillian Tamaki, and Craig Thompson, among others. The book will soon be available in the Schulz Library.