Fairy tales, mythology, and nursery rhymes have unstoppable longevity. The stories are ancient and they never die, they simply change with the times. Nursery Rhyme Comics furthers this evolution by revamping the images that accompany the rhymes.Most rhymes are so old that we can only guess what their origins were. Common beliefs about the real meaning of the rhymes are almost always wrong. Figuring out where the songs came from is made even harder as the lyrics are constantly evolving, obliterating ties to the original work. But where they came from isn’t what makes them a big deal; they’re big deals because they help toddlers learn the rhythm, rules, and structure of language.
But not everyone can stand looking at the faded, overdone drawings of pastoral scenery that usually come along with the rhymes. This is where Nursery Rhyme Comics comes in. This is a highly impressive work featuring art from fifty cartoonists including Lilli Carré, Vanessa Davis, and Raina Telgemeier. Regardless of how many times you’ve heard these songs you should give this a glance. The traditional rhymes are reinterpreted in surprising ways. The comics managed to completely change the way I picture some of the stories. Tao Nyeu took the sadistic “Rock-a-Bye Baby” and transformed it into a story of sweet, sweet revenge.
Lucy Knisley’s “There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe” takes a different approach by making her an old hipster lady running a rock and roll babysitting service out of a giant shoe. Mike Mignola’s “Solomon Grundy” chronicles the creation and destruction of a wooden doll.
There are many more examples of new interpretations, but there are some that bring the way I pictured these rhymes as a child to life. Lilli Carre’s art follows the common perception of “Sing a Song of Sixpence” with her usual delicate, dreamy, curly-q style.Another fresh look came from the fantastically fake-named Tony Millionaire. His “Rub-A-Dub-Dub” also follows the usual imaging of the rhyme with a nonsensical twist, because, why not?Be sure to take a look at this collection (edited by Chris Duffy).