Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: The Happy Prince

Oscar Wilde, Author, P. Craig Russell, Illustrator
Oscar Wilde and P. Craig Russell. NBM (www.nbmpublishing.com), $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-56163-626-6
Reviewed on: 06/11/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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While best known for The Picture of Dorian Gray and his plays, like The Importance of Being Earnest, Wilde also penned popular fairy tales, which the Eisner Award–winning Russell has adapted into graphic novel form. “The Happy Prince” uses Wilde’s own words for the text, so readers can still appreciate his elegant style. The melancholic story follows a swallow who befriends the statue of the Happy Prince, who was indeed happy when he lived a sheltered life. Now, however, the prince stands over the city as a statue and sees all the suffering. With the help of the swallow, he breaks down the pieces of himself, his rubies, sapphire, and gold, to feed the starving people. While much of the story is pensive or even outright sad, Wilde still pops in with some sharp satiric wit now and then. This is not a fairy tale with a happy ending, or at least what we would normally think of as a happy ending, but it certainly makes its point. Russell’s sensitive, belle epoque–inspired artwork brings the story to life with a matched sensibility that makes other comics adaptations look clumsy. (June)
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