Image Comics: What kind of world is Fairyland?
Skottie Young: Fairyland is everything. Like...all the stuff. Ice Cream Islands, Land of the Giggle Giants, Faun Valley, Mustache Mountains, etc. It's all those random words and ideas kids come up with smashed up into an endless world. You know when we were young and you jumped on the couch and you couldn't touch the carpet because that was the lava? It's a world of imagination like that. Just wacky, child-like wonder, and magic. But Gert's there and likes to split fools' heads open with axes and cannons.
IC: Who the heck is Gert, and what's her deal?
SY: Gert was a 6- or 7-year-old that found her way into the magical world of Fairyland and has spent 27 years trying to get back home. She still looks like a little girl on the outside but is nearly 40 on the inside. Living in a world of childlike wonder at age 40 has to the most annoying thing ever. Here, go turn on an episode of Dora and try to NOT kill someone after listening to the song "I'M THE MAP, I'M THE MAP, I'M THE MAP, I'M THE MAP..." Can't be done. Murders will happen. Gert's my way of playing around with the world of childhood imagination thru the eyes of a jaded adult.
IC: I HATE FAIRYLAND is violent and occasionally crass, but not in a "mature readers" sense. Why was this the right tone for this story?
SY: I wish I had a sexier answer for you, but I really don't know. It's right because it felt right and made me laugh. This book is me making the exact book I want to make without thinking about anything else. Not the audience, not the publisher, not the market, not the retailers. Just me. I wanted to sit down and write and draw ideas that came into my head and that's what I did. I did tag it "mature" because I think a lot of people have a preconceived idea of my world and that it will be all ages. And on the surface, this book may look all ages. But if your four-year-old has a weak stomach, they may not like then the moon's brains end up all over the night sky, followed by star mass murder. But who knows, right?
IC: You mention Jack Davis and Sergio Aragonés in your afterword to I HATE FAIRYLAND. What appealed to you about artists like that? How have they influenced your storytelling?
SY: Jack Davis has such a lively, bouncing art style and it's so expressive. His lines are just beautiful. Sergio's work probably is the most influential from that "lay ideas down with the quickness and move on" place. You can watch videos of Sergio giving talks and drawing gags and it's like it's as natural as breathing. On a storytelling front, Groo is a real touch stone for me. We're all working in arcs now and have really adopted the screenplay model of comic making. A character starts here and ends up there and they've learned a lesson and hit all the plot points and it's nice and neat. Groo never changed. And if he did, he changed right back on page one of the next story. Groo was just Groo. He was a dumb barbarian that fucked shit up. That's how I like to think of Gert. She's pissed off and going to fuck a lot of shit up and probably not learn any lessons. But fun will be had, that's for sure.