To supplement the Library’s strengths in graphic novels, the Joseph Regenstein Library has recently acquired Grimms Märchen ohne Worte [Grimm’s Fairy Tales without Words] by Frank Flöthmann. This innovative collection retells selections from the Grimm Brothers Kinder und Hausmärchen using highly stylized graphical representations. In this collection of tales, featuring familiar tales such as Little Red Riding Hood and Rapunzel, all dialogue is replaced with symbols, some of which require creative interpretation but reward the reader with many amusing surprises.
Flöthmann’s adaptation plays around with faithfulness to the original text. For instance, in the adaptation of the Frog Prince, the princess is playing with a soccer ball rather than a golden bauble, modernizing the tale to better relate to a modern audience. The adaptation, however, often stays true to the blood and violence of the original tales. For example, the adaptation of Cinderella still features the mutilation of the feet of Cinderella’s stepsisters, a detail left out of many modern adaptations.
The overall collection is highly amusing with interesting twists on familiar tales. Flöthmann has a good graphical sense and plays with panel order and graphical representation. These adaptations highlight the importance of language to the tales in a creative way and leave the reader with new insights into these classic stories.