<em>Erstwhile</em> brings rare Grimm fairy tales back to print

Some 200 years after German librarians Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm collected and published local folklore that defined storytime for generations around the world, writer/artist Gina Biggs is resurrecting lesser known fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm by faithfully adapting them into comics form.

Erstwhile debuted as a short-lived comic book in 2007, but last year it was reborn as a webcomic that has attracted an enthusiastic following. Next month, the stories return to print as a prestige hardcover graphic novel Erstwhile: Tales of the Brothers Grimm. Gina Briggs adapts the stories, which are drawn by a rotating stable of artists from their shared Strawberry Comics banner, Biggs herself, Louisa Roy (Velharthis) and Elle Skinner (Missing Monday). This gives the comic a variety of styles and approaches suitable for the different fairy tales they tackle. The three also bring some diversity and modern sensibilities to the fairy tales without sacrificing authenticity to the source material. In other words, it's slightly more faithful than Zenescope's Grimm Fairy Tales.

While most of us will have to wait until next month for it to become available on the Erstwhile website, some are already receiving copies of the book. That's because they are part of the more than 650 backers who helped finance the publication through Erstwhile's Kickstarter campaign. They raised more than 300 percent of their goal. (And it has one of the best "this is where you come in" videos I've seen on Kickstarter).

The book includes the first seven installments of the webcomic, which is in the middle of its ninth story. The next scheduled fairy tale is Snow White and Rose Red, which is about the other Snow White from the Grimms (and whose co-star should ring a bell for readers of Fables). With the completion of that tenth story, the Erstwhile team will have worked through their backlog from Erstwhile's comic book days. There are more than  fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, so good luck correctly guessing what gets adapted next. One person knows, though: the backer who pledged $500 or more to choose the next Grimm fairy tale to get the Erstwhile treatment. As if that didn't already make it a great Kickstarter perk, the lucky person also gets to be the first person to read the finished story.

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