Look, as a parent, fairy tales get boring. Which is why when Scottie Young’s I Hate Fairyland was released a few years ago, I jumped on it like I would a trampoline. Well, actually, probably more so since I’m pretty lazy and trampolines seem like a lot of work. I was a huge Young fan back from A-Babies v X-Babies. Obviously, well, I have problems. You know, as he noted in the intro to A-Babies, I was basically watching a bunch of babies clobber each other. Fine. I have problems. Those problems, however, are one of the main reasons that having I Hate Fairyland back in my box on Wednesdays makes me so incredibly happy.
For those of you who would, sadly, be new to I Hate Fairyland, here’s a brief overview. In this week’s issue, Gert finds herself a her favorite convention, Dungeon Festexpocon. For those of you out there who’ve been to one of the larger cons, this is going to hit home. Remember the first time you paid a ton of money to meet your favorite celebrity for all of 3 seconds? Remember how you might have been slightly disappointed? Well, that’s what happens to poor Gert.
This whole scene is everything. We’ve all had those con moments we built up in our heads. “I’m going to meet my most favorite person in the history of ever who shaped my life in so many ways. OMG!” Then we get to the table, and we either blurt out our entire life story or get so nervous we can’t find anything to say. Reading this whole issue reminded me of Carrie Fisher’s discussion of being the celebrity signer in her last memoir The Princess Diarist. In her own estimable way, she refers to it as being a lap dance, you know, like with strippers. In this one panel, Young manages to capture that overzealous fan experience Fisher discussed while giving both characters equal amounts of pathos. Gert so very much wants her idol to see her, to recognize her. Gwag is just doing her job, sitting there and listening but obviously distanced. Her reactions to Gert are less sympathetic than Gert had imagined because, well, Gert is a stranger accosting her with hero-worship. This interplay in one panel perfectly sums up both sides of the fan experience.
The thing about I Hate Fairyland that never ceases to amaze me is how Young can take a character like Gert and make her sympathetic. Gert is, by most stretches of the imagination, a horrible human being. She’s as foul-mouthed as you can get in muffin fluffing Fairyland. She kills indiscriminately. She looks like a 12-year-old girl but swears like a 30-year-old drunk. She’s basically a green haired, female Baby Herman from Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
And yet, we love Gert. Part of the reason we love her is because she is everything that we should hate. Every time you think Gert might change, she reminds you that she’s horrible. That is, until this week.
Of course, in typical Gert style, she kills someone in the next panel. Then again, we can’t expect a complete makeover. If Gert did that, she wouldn’t be our most loveable sociopath.
We love Gert specifically because she is predictably, awfully, selfish. We love Gert because she’s colorfully foul-mouthed. We love Gert because, as Jack Nicholson said in A Few Good Men, “deep down, in places people don’t talk about at parties” we want Gert in that world, we need Gert in that world.
So, hopefully, Gert’s new life outlook will keep her where we want and need her: amazingly, horribly, lovably, foul-mouthedly, hypercoloredly, perfect.