“We’re all mad here.” –Cheshire Cat, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol, 1865
Madness and literary nonsense have always been the norm in any incarnation of the infamous girl who fell down the rabbit hole and ended up in the backwards world she had always daydreamed of. In Lewis Carrol’s original masterpiece, the story of Alice was meant for children but as audiences matured, so did Alice and Wonderland was no longer the strange playground that we remember. To date, the most famous of Alice’s appearances since she came to being in Carrol’s book have been Disney’s 1951 animated film Alice in Wonderland featuring the voice work of Kathryn Beaumont as Alice, Sterling Halloway as the Cheshire Cat, and Mel Blanc as the various Wonderland creatures. In 2010, Disney released another Wonderland film, this time a live-action movie directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen/ The Queen of Hearts, and Anne Hathaway as the White Queen. Both Disney films, with they’re cleverly adapted cast of whimsical characters, excellent artistic use of both bright and dark colors, and (especially in the animated film) they’re various songs and beautifully composed music, immortalized and brought to life Alice’s story on the big screen
In Raven Gregory’s incarnation of Alice and her “Wonderland,” in Grimm Fairy Tales: Alice in Wonderland, madness takes on whole new meaning. While in most Wonderland adaptations, Alice’s only true enemies are the Red Queen, with her ever-present threat of beheading the poor child, and the Jabberwocky (a monstrous creature feared by all of Wonderland’s inhabitants); in Gregory’s adaption, it seems as if everyone is after Alice’s head. In previous issues, Alice had to escaped the clutches of The Carpenter, who always seemed a neutral and rather minor character; even the Mad Hatter was no friend to Alice, although he had been portrayed as such. Alice is virtually on her own, in seems, and although she is not the innocent, curious little girl we’re used to (indeed, her chosen attire leaves very little to the imagination) she is aptly described as a “…little girl trapped in a big girl’s body” at the start of issue #4.
The art by Robert Gill, compliments Gregory’s ominous and, quite frankly, terrifying world of Wonderland; Gill stays true to peculiar and puzzling nature of Wonderland by adding as many characters, background subjects, Easter eggs, and “props” into each page, giving the eye too much to see at once. Likewise, Jason Embury continues the use of bright and dark hues that are both pleasing to the eyes but not without its gloomy undertones. The artists even provide appropriate backgrounds to certain scenes such as the symbolic use of roses as frames.
Whatever Gregory has in story and wherever Alice’s story leads us, you can bet its going to get “Curiouser and Curiouser.”