Alexander Danner sent a note yesterday to say that he has finished Gingerbread Houses, his retelling of the Hansel and Gretel story, and it is now complete online. He has also been releasing the story in a series of mini-comics, and the last one should be ready in a couple of weeks.
Written by Danner and illustrated by Edward J. Grug III, Gingerbread Houses presents the Hansel and Gretel story as if it had really happened and explores the dyanamics of a family in which the stepmother tried to kill the children, their father didn't stop her, one child was force-fed in anticipation of being eaten, and the other had to rescue them all. Some of the most powerful passages are the ones in which Danner juxtaposes the words of the traditional story with images that show a different aspect; in the opening scene, for instance, the words tell of Hansel and Gretel being left in the forest while the images show their father and stepmother at home after leaving them. Grug's cartoony, expressive art keeps it at just the right emotional pitch, and at just 97 pages, this is an amazingly moving story.