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Once Upon a Time Machine Paperback – 23 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Dark Horse (23 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616550406
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616550400
  • Product Dimensions: 16.8 x 2 x 25.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 907,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kadi on 9 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The way I heard about Once Upon a Time Machine was completely randomly reading a review of it.
I figured the idea of retelling old fairy tales seemed like an interesting idea, however I didn't expect anything beyond a few nice drawings and random jokes.
However this contains so much more.
A cornucopia of different styles, retellings and funny twists on well known fairy tales.

The genre and the idea may not appeal to everybody, however if you enjoy sci-fi, fairy tales and twisted humor this should be your next comic book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an anthology of short comic stories taking inspiration from folk and fairy tales. The stories are really diverse in writing and illustration style which keeps the book from feeling repetitive.

Although this is a large graphic novel, (432 pages), all the stories are a few short pages long. In some ways this is great, it is a very easy quick read, but I would have liked some of the stories to been a bit longer.

A load of the stories have a sci-fi/futuristic tone which makes them feel really different from a lot of other Fairy Tale Adaptations I have read.

If you like Fairy Tales with a new twist in a graphic novel form I would recommend this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Roberts on 2 Jan. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A reworking of the old fairy tales with fantastic artwork. The whole concept is a brilliant idea and I would definitely recommend it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 23 reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Must read for fairy tale fans 13 Oct. 2012
By Christine N. Ethier - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Disclaimer: Copy recieved via Netgalley.

Once Upon a Time Machine is what all good retellings of beloved tales should be. The basic premise is a series of tales transported to Sci-Fi settings that, in part, ensure employment of a comics department in a large corporation. Perhaps a comment on today's publishing world? If so, it seems to be an accurate one.

And you can believe it.

The various stories used include American folklore such as John Henry, Aesop, Asian tales such as "The Peach Pit Boy", European fairy tales such as "Billy Goats Gruff" and classic literature such as the works of Dumas. It works. It works brilliantly and is not a copy of Fables.
In short, the only thing setting this collection of retellings from those short stories collections edited by Datlow and Windling is the medium used.
Each story is retold using a different style, and between the stories is artwork depicting scenes from other tales. While the settings are in the future, they range from spaceships to bio-domes and a future Nigeria. If you are a parent or a librarian looking for something depicting more than just white men, this collection more than fulfills that demand.

The collection starts very strong with a retelling of the American legend of John Henry. John Henry is a folk hero who does not get the attention he deserves, at least currently, and it is a joy to see him in a beautiful and powerful retelling. The framing device used in the tale works perfectly, and this is one of those comic stories that transcend comics. The power and pathos of the John Henry story is more than equaled by tales such as "Pinocchio or the Stars are Not Wanted Now", "The Five Chinese Brothers", and "The Last Leaf", a retelling of an O. Henry story . These stories show that too often comics move beyond the medium that is seen most often in the movies and racks. They are equal of anything by Eisner, who gets a nod in the beginning of the collection.

Not every story in the collection is serious and heart-breaking. "Goldilocks and the Three Bears, or Silver-Hair and the Three Xairs" will delight any science fiction fan as well as lovers of Roald Dahl. Thought Mickey and the Brooms was a bit cute in Fantasia, try "Sweet Porridge".
What is most interesting is how some of the tales are transformed. "The Billy Goats Gruff; or, The Crossing" keeps the testing of the original but becomes a quest for a girl undertakes to save her grandfather. "The Three Musketeers" have to help their king in a future Nigeria, where their enemies consist of robots that remind one of Star Wars droids. The changes or twisting of some of the stories is very imaginative and works - "The Tortoise and the Hare" as a soapbox derby for instance. The best twist, in my mind, is "The Billy Goats Gruff". I would buy a series of stories about Billie. Where was she when I was growing up? "The Billy Goats Gruff" story will please fans of Robin Mckinley.

Even those stories such as "The Last Leaf" and "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" that stick most closely to their sources keep the spirit of the source and hence work extremely. "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi" is a favorite story of mine, and I liked this retelling as much as I liked the original.

The artwork is varied, including artwork that is clearly inspired by anime and magna. There is super-hero artwork in "Peach Pit Boy", which of all the stories is the closest to a tradition comic super-hero. In most of the cases, the artwork suits the style and tone of the story perfectly. The only art I didn't particularly like was that with "The Three Musketeers", I loved the story but at times I found the artwork a little hard to follow. Even there, however, in many panels you could see the connection between the story and the art.

I do have to say the only time I was disappointed was the fact that the "Three Little Pigs" picture that referenced both Power Rangers and Star Wars was just that. While the pig story was good, I wanted to see the story that went with that picture.

Ah well, hopefully there will be a volume two. This is an excellent book. If you love fairy tales, read it. If you have a daughter, get for her. Get if for your libraries. It really is a work of art on all levels.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Creative, unique, a must for all libraries! 17 Oct. 2012
By Love to Read - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
ONCE UPON A TIME MACHINE met and exceeded my expectations. The book looks great, the content is fresh, and most of all everyone loves (and grew up with) fairy tales. This collection should be in every library -- personal and public. Congratulations to the editors Andrew Carl and Chris Stevens and to all of the contributors. Watch the great trailer and you'll be sold.... [...] Now go order it!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
awesome artwork 18 Oct. 2012
By deanW - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The art in this book is amazing. One of my favorite pages was done by Dave Proch, the detail is just unreal. I truly believe he is one to look out for and this book will become a modern classic.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
wowee 19 Oct. 2012
By candopolis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a brilliant recreation of tales. It is the result of a collaboration of creative artists, including David Proch and Rob Woods, which inspires all people to dream and revel in imagination. I first bought this book for my brother, who loves to draw, on his birthday but ended up keeping it and buying another. Great for all ages really.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A review from Bookworm1858 25 Nov. 2012
By bookworm1858 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The blurb promised a collection of 24 tales twisting and playing with beloved fairy tales. However I did not realize that it would actually be retellings of familiar stories. I just thought they would be fantastical and fairy-tale-esque. But no, I recognized most of the stories, which allowed me to seat back and enjoy the beautiful drawings and the science-fiction twists placed on most of them.

I'm not going to cover every story as that would take a really long time but I do have four that really worked for me, style of art combining with the story to resonate deeply.

First up would be "Pinocchio or The Stars Are Not Wanted Now" written by Jason Rodriguez , where an inventor makes his creation who struggles with the dual competing directives of being honest and being human. I wasn't entirely sure how this one was going to turn out but it was a bittersweet yet appropriate resolution to me.

Next would be "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi", based on that great Kipling story and written by Mike Exner III. I was already a fan and immediately perked up when I saw the title. I also really loved the artwork for this one-I have no idea how to describe it but it fits with my preferences.

Next is "The Five Chinese Brothers" from Justin Hughes, another familiar story that similarly to the Pinocchio one was bittersweet. I believe I am familiar with the story it is based on although I cannot remember what it is called. This story also has an inventor father and his mechanical sons in addition to one flesh and blood one, utilizing the science-fiction aspect well.

The last one I want to mention is "Hansel and Gretel or Bombus and Vespula" by Josh O'Neill. Unfortunately I can't tell you my favorite part of this story as it is the twist within-definitely worth seeking out!

As I flipped through my copy to pick out my favorites, I was reminded about how hard it was to choose. I liked pretty much every story as well as the various styles of art. Another cool bonus is that there are standalone scenes interspersed between the stories (off the top of my head, I remember seeing some princesses represented here like Cinderella, Rapunzel, and the Little Mermaid.)

One last note is that this would probably be better in a hard copy; there were a few stories where it was a little hard to read the font and even when I zoomed in, the resolution wasn't much better. Particularly hard for me were "The Puppet-Show Man or No Strings" and "The Shepherd and the Weaver Girl." Because of that, I don't think I gave these stories their proper attention. When I pick up a hard copy, I will be sure to read them first!

Overall: A really great collection-everyone a winner and something to please all tastes!
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