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Can’t get enough fairytale remixes and retellings? Me either. And these are some of the best comic and graphic novel fairytale retellings out there. Some are dark and scary, some light and uplifting. A number of the comics are even available to read for free online! Is there anything better? Explore these comics, webcomics, graphic novels, and anthologies for gorgeous fairytale reimaginings and introductions to a whole new world of fables and folklore. A world of magic awaits.
Little Red Riding Hood
The Little Red Wolf by Amélie Fléchais
A dark and haunting retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with a young wolf at the center of the story. Instead of a girl fearing animals, the little wolf in this tale is warned not to stray from the path for fear of the human hunters. A truly excellent turn on the original premise and with stunning artwork. In true fairytale fashion, the ending is quite dark.
“Red” by Teloka and Pi
A short, sweet, queer reimagining of Little Red Riding Hood. The comic was originally published in Lilies, Vol. 4: Spider Lilies and is now available to read for free online on Tapas.
His Face All Red by Emily Carroll
A dark Emily Carroll reimagining of the classic fairytale wolf, like the one from the Little Red Riding Hood story. Let’s just say it’s a very different take on the wolf and the hunter that slays him. The webcomic is collected along with other fairytale-inspired tales in Through the Woods.
The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen
Retelling: Cinderella and The Little Mermaid
This gorgeous comic explores not just one fairytale, but several, as a mother and son try to bridge cultural and language divides to express their feelings and love for each other. Truly one of the most gorgeous graphic novels I’ve ever read with beautiful reimaginings of Cinderella and The Little Mermaid.
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang
A prince enlists a dressmaker to help make his fashion dreams come to life. The only problem is, nobody else can know. And while Prince Sebastian — and all of Paris society — loves the beautiful creations Frances pieces together for him to wear as Lady Crystallia, revealing the seamstress behind the dresses might also mean revealing Sebastian himself. But is it really worth hurting someone he loves just to hide who he truly is? A heartfelt and encouraging reimagining of a Cinderella story where the prince has just as much to gain from revealing his true self as the young dressmaker.
Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love by Chris Roberson, Shawn McManus, and Chrissie Zullo
This spin-off of Bill Willingham’s Fables series follows Cinderella, Fabletown’s best secret agent, on a mission to track down supernatural artifacts cropping up in the modern world. But can she find them all and stop the illegal trafficking before Fabletown is exposed? With troubles abroad and at home, and some familiar old faces with motivations of their own, she’ll certainly have her hands full.
Snow White by Matt Phelan
A 1920s noir adaptation of Snow White wherein our young protagonist has been cast out by her stepmother and finds help from a group of street urchins after her father, the King of Wall Street, dies unexpectedly. A mysterious stock market ticker has her stepmother in its thrall, spitting out a terrifying command to kill the one more beautiful than her.
Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman and Colleen Doran
An altogether different take on the Snow White story. A not-so-evil Queen is terrified of her monstrous stepdaughter in this chilling retelling. When the child everyone loves is actually a bloodthirsty fiend, where do you turn? That’s the premise of this creepy Gaiman reimagining of the story you know.
Steampunk Snow White by Rod Espinosa
What’s one surefire way to make the story of Snow White even better? How about steam-powered juggernauts and a war-thirsty queen? Snow White begs her stepmother to stop pushing the wartime expenses off on the peasants, but to no avail, and their only hope is a lone vigilante who has just been ambushed. Rod Espinosa really has a way with twisting fairytales into a richly imagined steampunk setting.
Beauty and the Beast
Yaksha by Justin Lanjil
A gay retelling of Beauty and the Beast set in India. When an old man disturbs the forest, his son goes to repay the debt of an angry man in his stead. By tending his garden to flourishing, the debt is paid. But does he even want to leave anymore? A short, sweet, and beautifully illustrated tale.
Norroway by Cat Seaton and Kit Seaton
Retelling: Black Bull of Norroway
In this reimagining of a Scottish fairytale, a young girl longing for adventure learns that she is destined to become the betrothed of the Black Bull of Norroway. Who knew prophecies could be so literal? At least she is able to find plenty of adventure along the way.
Cry Wolf Girl by Ariel Ries
Retelling: The Boy Who Cried Wolf
This Boy Who Cried Wolf reimagining from the author of Witchy is a gorgeously illustrated example of just how inventive fairytale retellings can be. Cry Wolf Girl completely reimagines the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf through the lens of grief and trauma. The comic is available from Short Box, a small independent publisher putting out quarterly comic boxes for sale, with some leftover copies available in their shop.
One Trick Pony by Nathan Hale
Retelling: The Pied Piper
A group of alien invaders named for the tale of The Pied Piper, since they swooped down and eat up all the technology they see, have decimated Earth. The groups of people left either survive as luddites, eschewing all tech, or in mechanical caravans that can be moved away from the Hot Zones where the creatures are most active. But when a girl finds an incredible mechanical pony, they face the Pipers head on for the first time, leading them farther than anyone else — human or robot — has ever gone and survived to tell: space.
Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales: Africa Edition by Nicole Chartrand, D. Shazzbaa Bennett, Mary Cagle, Meredith McClaren, Faith Erin Hicks, Jose Pimienta, Carla Speed McNeil, Jarrett Williams, Kel McDonald, Sloane Leong, Chris Schweizer, Kate Ashwin , Becky Dreistadt, Nina Matsumoto, Katie Shanahan
A collection of African fairytales and fables retold in black and white comics. Some particular standouts: The Disobedient Daughter Who Married a Skull, Frog and Snake Never Play Together, and The Stranger. Whether you’re familiar with these tales or not, you’re sure to be entertained as you read about gods, monsters, humans, and animals learning life lessons in amusing and sometimes horrifying ways.
Steampunk Snow Queen by Rod Espinosa
Retelling: The Snow Queen
If Frozen was full of steampunk mechanical elements and scheming religious leaders, you’d have Steampunk Snow Queen. Two sisters, one with a dangerous gift for creating snow, are left to rule the kingdom after their parents deaths. But when the people turn on them, it’s up to the younger sister to set out across the snow and bring back the queen before scheming factions succeed in stealing the throne.
Fables by Bill Willingham, Lan Medina, Steve Leialoha, Terry Moore, Mike Allred, Jae Lee, Chrissie Zullo, and others
The characters you know and love from fairytales and legend have been forced into exile. Now, they live disguised as normal humans in New York in a secret society they call Fabletown! And when Snow White’s party girl sister Rose-Red is murdered, it’s up to the Big Bad Sheriff to get to the bottom of what happened.
Valor by by Isabelle Melançon, Megan Lavey-Heaton, Angelica Maria Lopez, Annie Stoll, and Tim Ferrera
Some of the best names in digital comics come together to create an anthology of reimagined fairytales, all celebrating the strength and ingenuity of female heroines. With both original tales and retellings, this collection is sure to delight.
Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales: Asia by Kel McDonald, Kate Ashwin, Lucy Bellwood, Terry Blas, and Jason Caffoe
Another great edition of the Cautionary Fables and Fairytales series, this time featuring some truly excellent stories from China, Japan, Tibet, India, Indonesia, and all over the Asian continent. #EndoftheWorld, The Demon with the Matted Hair, Frog Skin, Ghost Pepper, and Urashima Tarō were particular standouts.
Hero Twins by Dale Deforest
Retelling: The Hero Twins
A modern interpretation of the Hero Twins tale by Navajo author and illustrator, Dale Deforest. The story of the Hero Twins has played an important role to the Navajo people for millennia, now retold to delight and inspire new audiences.
Fairy Tale Comics by Chris Duffy, Bobby London, Raina Telgemeier, Charise Mericle Harper, Graham Annable, and Jillian Tamaki
An anthology featuring some of your favorite fairytales like “Puss in Boots” and “Goldilocks” as well as stories you’ve probably never heard of before. Seventeen cartoonists give their spin on seventeen fairytales, reimagined like never before.
Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll
Retelling: Baba Yaga
Illustrated by horror comic icon Emily Carroll, this comic is about for the infamous Baba Yaga’s search for an assistant. Most children wouldn’t dream of apply. But Masha is no ordinary child. She’ll have to pass a series of grueling tasks to become the Yaga’s assistant — but Masha is sure she has what it takes, even if it means cooking dinner with children on the menu.
Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales: Oceania by Paolo Chikiamco, Kate Ashwin, Kel McDonald, Sloane Leong, Iole Marie Rabor, DJ Keawekane, Mariel Maranan, Jonah Cabudol-Chalker, Gen H, Tintin Pantoja, Nicole Mannino, Yiling Changues, Cy Vendivil, Tokerau Wilson, Mark Gould, Brady Evans, Meredith McClaren, Kim Miranda, Diigii Daguna, Rob Cham
Myths, legends, and fairytales from Oceania. The fourth edition of the Cautionary Fables and Fairy Tales anthology brings together stories from Hawai’i, the Philippines, and Fiji. Some of the retellings in this collection you should particularly check out: Pele and Poliahu: A Tale of Fire and Ice, Thousand Eyes, The Tyrant Has Horns, and The Alan and the Hunters.
The Daughters of Ys by M.T. Anderson and Jo Rioux
An Atlantis-like city from Celtic/Breton folklore, surrounded by the sea, is shaped by the lives and choices of its two princesses. The city is full of wealth and dark secrets. And when the queen who raised great walls with her magic to protect the city from the tumultuous seas dies under mysterious circumstances, its fate rests in the hands of her two daughters, who couldn’t be more different.
Gamayun Tales I by Alexander Utkin and Lada Morozova
Retelling: various Russian folktales
Fresh takes on classic Slavic folklore. Meet water spirits and talking animals while getting a gorgeous and vibrantly illustrated introduction to the world of Russian mythology and folklore.
Don’t stop here now that you know some of the best graphic novel fairytale retellings. Check out 5 more comic fairytale retellings, under the radar fairytale retellings, and 100 must-read fairytale retellings.
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