In Conversation With Skottie Young On The Return Of I HATE FAIRYLAND

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Contemporary comics juggernaut Skottie (Middlewest, The Me You Love In The Dark) returns to his most infamous work of fairytale satire and debauchery with the return of I Hate Fairyland. The first issue of his follow-up series, featuring artist Brett Parson, doesn’t arrive until July of 2022. However, there is a surprise to keep us occupied in the meantime…

Some of Skottie’s friends, namely the incredible duo of Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba for starters, are embarking on their own tales within this universe with The Unbelievable, Unfortunately Mostly Unreadable and Nearly Unpublishable Untold Tales of I Hate Fairyland. Their story just dropped today, with more stories from other creators dropping soon!

I got to talk to Skittoe about his return to Fairyland, his collaborators, and a few other topics.

MFR: Hi Skottie, thanks for letting me pick your brain about all the new stuff you have coming out. 

MFR: What brings you back to I Hate Fairyland? Was returning to this goofy, insane world you created something you thought about after the original comic ended, or was it more spur of the moment?

SY: I’ve never had more fun making comics than I did while I was writing and drawing I Hate Fairyland. I knew I would be back at some point. In fact, some may remember in issue 20 (which was the surprise last issue), I wrote a goodbye in the back of the comic saying this was more of a pause than an end. The world is too fun to let it drift off into history. I did think the break would only be a year or so, but it ended up being like three, haha.

MFR: When I heard you were letting other creators tell their own stories in Fairyland, I honestly felt like it was a long time coming. This concept feels like it lends itself to having other artists and storytellers put their own weird stamps on it. Again, was this something you had considered for awhile or was it a lightbulb moment?

SY: Oh, it’s been a part of my plans from jump. I was already bringing in other artists to do special stories for the ongoing series. And I was planning to have people come in and work on shorts, but I needed a break. We had just moved to KC with our then 9- and 2-year-olds, and life was getting EXTRA. I just needed to pause, write a few other projects and get excited to come back and call in some pals and start playing pretend again.

MFR: First up for a chapter of The Unbelievable, Unfortunately Mostly Unreadable and Nearly Unpublishable Untold Tales of I Hate Fairyland are the ridiculously talented Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba. How did you get involved with them and what was the process like seeing them play around in your world?

SY: Well, we’ve all been friends for many years now. About 10 years ago, we ran around Germany together and it was one of the funnest times. I had always loved their work, but spending time with them like that made me realize that we have so much in common. Over the years we’ve spent every SDCC hanging out, talking about life, love, and comics, all while sipping some adult beverages at the Hilton Bayfront or down by the Marina! So, when it was time to start asking friends to join the fun, they were first on the list.

The process was simple. I explained the concept of the short stories and said “Do whatever you want!” And then, you know, they made magic! It’s so amazing to see these two masters show me my own characters through their unique eyes!

MFR: The original I Hate Fairyland was all you in terms of writing and art. For its return you’ve teamed up with the ultra-talented Brett Parson (who could not be a more perfect fit). How did you get involved with him and how has your creative process together gone so far?

SY: I’ve been a fan of Brett’s work for a long time. We met in Chicago a number of years ago and got along pretty quickly. Sometime later at a different convention I was hanging around with him and Eric Powell and they told me Brett was coming on to do a run on THE GOON! Before I could stop myself I said “Fuck, i’m jealous! I want you to come draw a run on I Hate Fairyland!” Ha Ha! He said “That would be awesome!” Funny thing, though, I had already decided to end the series for a while so I knew it couldn’t really happen.

Flash forward to now and I decided to bring Gert and the Gang back…BUT I still want to draw a few other projects. Then I remembered Brett and talking and reached out and offered him the job! Luckily, he said yes and now i get to see his beautiful artwork bringing I Hate Fairyland back to life. It doesn’t get much better than that.

MFR: Obviously there was a huge amount of discussion surrounding Substack and creators jumping over to it a few months ago. How has that platform helped you sculpt Stupid Fresh Mess into what it is?

SY: I officially launched my company STUPID FRESH MESS two years ago with help from one of our closest friends, Megan Hodges, who now runs operations while I sit in my office and cook up new projects! We started the Stupid Fresh Mess newsletter to connect with our community and let them know when new books, prints, stickers, etc were coming out through our online store at SKOTTIEYOUNG.COM.

Then I started adding some more personal stories and things into the newsletter and the reactions were really great. The timing of that was wild, because all of the sudden, Substack came knocking and offered up a platform to keep doing exactly what we were doing, but with a little boost behind it.

We moved the newsletter to SubStack and have continued to grow our subscribers who make all of this possible! Their support helps us to hire editors, creators, designers, and producers to build more and more content that we then give back to our members! It’s been a really fun experiment so far and we have many more things in the works over there!

MFR: The comics people will most likely know you for (outside of your variant covers), FairylandMiddlewest, and the currently ongoing The Me You Love In The Dark, are all tonally and thematically completely different kinds of stories. What kind of itch does jumping around genres and styles scratch as an artist and storyteller?

SY: I treat my job how I treat all my hobbies and life. I jump around genres of movies depending on what mood I’m in. It’s the same with music, restaurants, and reading. I feel the same with making comics. I’m changing all the time which means my tastes and interests are as well. My comics reflect that.

Keep an eye on Skottie Young’s Stupid Fresh Mess vis Substack, and be sure to read Untold Tales Of I Hate Fairyland before heading to your local comic shop to preorder Young and Parson’s return!

Here’s the official word on these new stories below:

 

Prepare for more fantasy-skewering ultra-violent hilarity, muffin huggers, at Young’s Stupid Fresh Mess Substack on 12/9

 

Kansas City, MO—Following his 20-issue run on I HATE FAIRYLAND at Image Comics, acclaimed Eisner-winning cartoonist Skottie Young is opening the borders of his whimsical fantasy universe for new writers and artists to wreak havoc. Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, the acclaimed fraternal artists behind The Umbrella Academy and the creative team of Daytripper and Two Brothers, join a line of creators with their new contribution, “I Hate Gert!”—a six-page descent into madness exploring some of the comic’s most quirky foes. 

 

This chapter is just one of many guest-created comics in a new monthly series called The Unbelievable, Unfortunately Mostly Unreadable and Nearly Unpublishable Untold Tales of I Hate Fairyland—debuting exclusively for free on Young’s Substack Newsletter, Stupid Fresh Mess. These mini-comics pave the road to Young’s relaunch of I HATE FAIRYLAND at Image Comics, debuting with a new first issue in July written by Young with art from Brett Parson.

 

These stories further explore the comically inept, bloody journey of Gert—a young girl sucked into a world of eccentric fairy tale conventions building on the legacies of L. Frank Baum, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, and beyond. Upon failing to reach home over more than two decades, Gert (stuck in her 6-year-old body) wages a one-child war on her new home with a very, very large axe, aided by her exhausted bug guide, Larry.  

 

“After a few years away from Gert and the gang, I was starting to miss the energy of I HATE FAIRYLAND and the stories I could tell only in that universe,” Young explains. “I thought it was time to bring it back, but not only continue Gert’s ongoing saga, but also introduce short stories that fill in the many gaps in all the years she’s been in Fairyland. So I decided to reach out to some of my awesome cartoonist pals and invite them to join in on the fun.” 

 

“Reading I HATE FAIRYLAND, I felt like the kid who grew up reading Sergio Aragonés’ Groo and MAD Magazine‘s ‘Spy vs. Spy’ all over again,” Moon explains. “Gert is just the perfect character to surprise the reader with absurd stories, and the ever-growing cast of supporting characters inspired us to imagine a story in this universe.”

 

“There was something about the ‘everything goes’ fantasy setting of the story that we felt we could explore creatively in our work in ways that we usually can’t,”continues. “We could swap roles and combine roles while doing this—ink each other’s pencils, or color each other’s pages, have fun while doing it, and create a story that’s the fusion of both our visual styles and different from everything we’ve done before.”

“Fabio and Gabriel are two of my favorite people on the planet, outside of their insane amount of talent. Now, not only do I  get to call them friends, but collaborators. It really is surreal to think these two geniuses jumped into my I HATE FAIRYLAND sandbox and started causing havoc. I’m the luckiest cartoonist in the world,” Young says. 

 

The Unbelievable, Unfortunately Mostly Unreadable and Nearly Unpublishable Untold Tales of I Hate Fairyland: I Hate Gert will be available on the Stupid Fresh Mess Substack Newsletter on 12/9. The monthly subscription tier includes such rewards as digital art books, live stream access, art process videos, creator commentary,  and access to giveaways and contests. The annual subscription tier include all monthly perks plus a physical copy of The Untold Tales of I Hate Fairyland, releasing in 2022.  

 

 

About Skottie Young:

Skottie Young got his start at Marvel on titles like Spider-Man: Legend of the Spider Clan, Human Torch, and Venom. He soon began adapting the L. Frank Baum OZ novels at Marvel with Eric Shanower. After five years, four Eisner Awards and six OZ graphic novels, he began writing and drawing the hit series Rocket Raccoon, illustrating the children’s book Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman, and the Young Marvel variant covers. He then created, wrote and drew the series I Hate Fairyland at Image Comics. Skottie followed that with co-creating and writing Middlewest with artist Jorge Corona and Bully Wars with artist Aaron Conley. He wrote Deadpool for Marvel with artists Nic Klein and Scott Hepburn. Skottie is currently writing Strange Academy, a new Marvel series, for artist Humberto Ramos. His newest project with artist Jorge Corona, The Me You Love In The Dark, launched in August 2021. 

 

About Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá:

Multiple Eisner Award winners Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá were born in Sao Paulo on June 5th, 1976 and have, in one way or another, been telling stories ever since. Now, they tell stories creating comic books and graphic novels (which are essentially the same thing). They are Brazil’s very own WONDER TWINS.

 

About I HATE FAIRYLAND

The Adventure Time/Alice in Wonderland-style epic that smashes its cute little face against Tank Girl/Deadpool-esque violent madness has arrived. In an adventure that ain’t for the little kiddies, (unless you have super cool parents, then whatever), you’ll meet Gert—a 6-year-old girl who has been stuck in the magical world of Fairyland for 30 years and will hack and slash her way through anything to find her way back home. Join Gert and her giant battle-axe on a delightfully blood soaked journey to see who will survive the girl who HATES FAIRYLAND.

Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.