REVIEW: Grimm Fairy Tales Hits the Beach Around the World in Their 2021 Swimsuit Special

A brunette with long curly hair lounges on a beach, surrounded by seashells and a sword

Continuing a tradition that other publishing companies have disappointingly failed to do, Zenescope offers its latest swimsuit special. The Grimm Fairy Tales 2021 Swimsuit Special takes us to the beach with our favourite fairy tale good and bad girls.

Grimm Fairy Tales 2021 Swimsuit Special

“Fun in the Sun” – Taylor Esposito (letterer), David Franchini (writer), Moy R. (artist), Clau Violette (colorist)
Pin-up images – various artists
July 7, 2021

Before we get to beauties posing at the beach, the Swimsuit Special opens with a short story called “Fun in the Sun,” starring Gretel. Here, a pair of young siblings run off to play with a new toy at the beach, only to have that toy accidentally end up under a dark and spooky dock where a witch patiently waits to capture them. Lucky for these kids, Gretel is nearby, believing that her tip about a witch in the area was a bust. Hearing their screams, she quickly leaps to action, fiery powers on full display. During the battle, she makes mention of her history and some of the witch lore she has learned, with the book offering references for further reading recommendations to learn more about Gretel’s journey. The art in this short story is cartoonishly fun, which is fitting within the backdrop of a fair on the pier.

A survivor of childhood trauma, Gretel makes an important point in this story about the resilience of children. Not every child grows out of childhood trauma and into hunting monsters and shooting fireballs out of their hands, but often times, grown ups don’t give children enough credit for what they can handle, despite their immaturity — or perhaps because of it.

When this story wraps up — or does it…? — we flip right into babes at the beach. Each page features a large image of a single character or a pair, labeled at the bottom with their name, location, and artist and colorist. Familiarity with the characters and settings isn’t necessary to enjoy the imagery on a basic level, but it certainly helps. I found the inclusion of the locations particularly interesting and also disappointing because there is little effort made to actually define these locations with any unique elements.

Thankfully, the women do get unique identifiers to prevent them from simply being Blond on Beach or Brunette at Pier. The bikinis are itty bitty, but still save enough room for a few embellishments such as Skye Mathers’ apple decals, or — my favourite — Liesel Van Helsing’s steampunk cogs and keys by artist Michael Dooney. But the poses themselves are largely uninspired. We’ve seen all of these poses before — and even see a few of them duplicated with little variation right in this issue.

If you’re a fan of Robyn Locksley, then you’re in luck, as she also seems to be a favourite of several artists, appearing more than any of the other women to show off her distinctive glowing eye and army fatigue patterned swimwear.

One of the things that made the Marvel Swimsuit issues so enjoyable was their quirkiness. We got to see our favourite characters not simply posing at the beach or under a waterfall, but truly enjoying themselves. It wasn’t only their bathing suits and distinct features that made them recognizable, but also their actions and interactions. Here, it’s rare to get any of the characters appearing together, and there are no playful group gatherings in this issue as there have been previously.

For the eye candy basics, the Grimm Fairy Tales 2021 Swimsuit Special delivers, with the bonus of the short story that kicks things off.

Wendy Browne

Wendy Browne

Publisher, mother, geek, executive assistant sith, gamer, writer, lazy succubus, blogger, bibliophile. Not necessarily in that order.

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