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Once Upon a Time (Nightmares & Fairy Tales, #1)
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Once Upon a Time (Nightmares & Fairy Tales #1)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  1,393 Ratings  ·  63 Reviews
This haunting first collection of Annabelle's memories are filled with frightening stories and dark fairy tales about her various owners . Featuring the first 6 issues, as well as some other spookirific surprises, including an introduction by Tommy Kovac (Skelebunnies, Stitch and Autumn) as well as a guest page by Jhonen Vasquez and other SLG creators.
Paperback, 177 pages
Published April 20th 2004 by SLG Publishing (first published April 14th 2004)
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Rating details
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Aug 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure if I like the artwork. I don't hate it, but sometimes a few panels, in particular with the first two stories, would be slightly confusing.

This collection of 1-6 in the series presents two stories about vampires, a retelling of Snow White, a retelling of Cinderella, and the story of Gwen. The conceit that holds the stories together is a rag doll named Annabelle, who feels she must be cursed. The stories are very dark. It's like the Twilight Zone meets Dahl meets Tales from the Darksi
Tabitha (Pabkins)
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comic-graphic
This comic is eerie and beautiful. I also find it very inspiring. I highly recommend it - I'm only sad that there aren't more!
Christian Angeles
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics
I loved this first volume. It was sort of confusing at first and I wasn't sure what to expect as the beginning is packed with information, character names, and tiny tidbits that tie together as you read onward.

First, there's this preface about some mysterious doll named Annabelle (The relation of which to the actual Annabelle doll and/or Robert The Doll, I wasn't certain. Either way, dolls horrify me). Then, there's this girl that we meet and then a whole slew of characters we're immediately in
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is downright creepy. It's the story of Annabelle, a little rag-doll who isn't evil really, but it seems that anyone who's owned her has had something positively horrendous happen to them. Take for instance, little Gwen, her parents are abusive fuck wits and when they move into a new house, their elderly next door neighbor makes friends with Gwen, giving her Annabelle for company. Suddenly her abusive parents die in a really horrendous manner and Gwen gets given to the sweet old lady ne ...more
Jul 31, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
I really liked the story and the idea of a doll that brings misfortune.

I am having a hard time getting past the artwork. On it's own or even in a story book (with one picture per page) it would be wonderful and beautiful. In this medium I am finding it distracting to the story. There have been several times I couldn't tell what was going on because there were no words only busy, disconnected pictures.

Issue 3 - Dominique's story. I REALLY hope we get more information on this story line in futur
Sep 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is the first graphic novel I've ever read, and it was awesome! I love the artwork, and the story was fantastically dark and gloomy. It was definitely more gory and gothic than what I usually read, but I still really enjoyed it and hope to get the second volume.
Xanetia Anassan
Dec 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Maravillosamente tétrico y nunca me cansaré de leerlo porque es una auténtica obra maestra en muchos sentidos. Ah, y Annabelle os saluda desde mi estantería ;D
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Intersting stories told by Annabelle the doll with amazing and unique art that makes the great story even better.
Jen Grover
Jul 06, 2017 rated it liked it
choppy, i'm going to give the second one a go and see if it flows better. Not one you fall for right away.
Jenika Ioffreda
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
Emma L.
Oct 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Nightmare and Fairy tales by Serena Valentino is definitely a book I will never forget when I finally got on Christmas.

I remember that night I sat in my bed, reading in the dark with only a small light source of a mini flashlight that lit all the speech bubbles and beautiful drawings. I remember being disappointed when I finally made it to the end of the comic, knowing the next time reading this comic that it wouldn't be the same.

There are so many things in the whimsical world of Nightmares an
Judy (Geeky Reading)
Oct 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: own

This was a very dark, but very good, comic.

I wasn’t too sure what to expect, especially since I don’t read a lot of these, but it looked good. The art is gothic and dark, in a good way, with long necks and horrifying faces.

The storyline is really creepy. There’s a different one for each chapter, although ultimately they all revolve around a cursed doll. Annabelle wants to be loved and happy, and yet every owner that she has ends up dying horribly.

There are the normal stories, one about a
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The artwork reminds me of Tim Burton styled Nightmare before Christmas and Jhonen Vasquez, which is to say I love it.

The book follows a little doll named Annabelle as she tells the various tales of the things she's witnessed and the lives she was a part of. She does her best to help the people she comes to, even if sometimes helping them causes them some hurt, it's kinda like picking the lesser of 2 evils.

It's a short story anthology, 2 original stories set next to Cinderella and Snow White. The
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
I found this at the Oxfam bookshop and as I like Gloom Cookie by the same author thought I'd give it a go. I have to say it didn't really do much for me. I know goths are supposed to like "creepy fairy tales" but these just felt either too simplistic or too confusing. The first two stories were set in the modern world, the dialogue was very simplistic but the plots of the stories were very confusing. Instead of being surreal and scary it just came off a bit WTF? The third story I liked the best ...more
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novel
There was no real introduction to what was going on or who the characters were and all of the stories felt rushed and shortened, I kept feeling as though I should be checking to make sure pages hadn't been ripped out and I WAS missing something.
The artwork was very inconsistent, sometimes quite beautiful and detailed and others so sketchy I couldn't tell what was going on, though considering the rather gruesome nature of what was going on that may have been for the best.

There were some really g
Jan 03, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel, comics
I got this book on a recommendation from a friend, and am always intrigued by tweaked fairy tales and Gothic sensitivities. There was also something deliciously haunting about the artwork, and I wasn’t disappointed.

There is something deeply unsettling about this book, and that’s what makes it so much fun. The art is beautiful and very creepy, and the stories are equally so. Even the stories that end “happy” — meaning the protagonist survives and the antagonists pay for their misdeeds — leave you
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was a decent little story but sadly flawed. Valentino's script wasn't well-adapted for a graphic novel and the artist had a hard time making a short story into a comic. The writing itself wasn't that great with lots of diversions and tricks to get us wanting to read more, but that just got annoying. Everything was just so low-key that it was hard to enjoy. I also didn't really like the art and thought it was a bit scratchy, muddled, and amateurish. That being said, I liked it better than th ...more
Jacqueline Carthew
Oct 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I do love graphic novels that are a bit quirky, with a darker twist, and storyline wise this one didn't disappoint - It was darkly delicious.

My only criticism was nothing to do with the story, but the drawings. At times, especially when there was no text to guide you through what was going on, were so loose that I couldn't make out what they were supposed to be let alone what the were signifying in the story line.

That being said, I still loved the story.
Nov 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Book one in the Nightmares & Fairy Tales series.

Gory retellings of horror stories and fairy tales from the perspective of Annabelle, a rag doll who might just be cursed. My favorite short story in this collection was the retelling of Cinderella. It gives a whole new meaning to the phrase "happily ever after."
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
So I love fairytales in all shapes and forms, but this book blew me away. They are here grimmer, still most have happy endings.
Even if I loved them all various ways, my favorites here were the take on Cinderella, the story about Bea and the young girl and Snow White, also love the fact that it is told through a doll names Annabelle.
Aug 08, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Emily the Strange & Johnny the Homicidal Maniac readers
The first collected volume of the Nightmares & Fairytales comics concentrates on a doll and her bizarre owners. Supposedly the stories are based on fairy tales, but the tales must have been obscure--I don't remember recognizing any. Still, I liked the art enough to to read Vol. 3 of the series; the library didn't have vol. 2 yet, for some reason.

Volume 3 is SO MUCH BETTER.

Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
A series of stories surrounding a doll and the horrible things that happen to most of her owners. The only story I really liked involved a haunted house and some very mean parents. The stories were supposedly based on fairy tales but the only one I recognize was Cinderella (which did have a slightly different, fun ending).
Sep 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favourite-books
This is the first graphic novel i have read and i am surprised that i enjoyed it so much. It was a quick read with darkness in it but was a good story as well. There were retellings of fairytales and i think my favourite was Cinderella. This is a good read and it has made me want to read more graphic novels.
Stacy Fetters
Oct 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sneaky-librarian
Short stories told by a creepy doll named Annabell. The name is even creepy. It went from killer dolls, to monsters in a closet, monsters in an attic and finally a twisted view of Cinderella. All these stories were very disturbing and I loved it. The pictures in this graphic novel were horrifyingly terrific and disturbing.
This is a great read for anyone who loves dark and gory things.
Jun 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Serena Valentino's take on well known fair-tales and gory-nightmares
enhanced by the passionate, confident, morbidly-dark yet adorably whimsical art-style which only Foo Swee Chin (FSc) can deliver, Nightmares & Fairy Tales Vol. 1 (as well as Vol. 2!) is sure to please anyone with a taste for the macabre.
Aug 08, 2011 rated it it was ok
Interesting concept of several short stories following a doll whose owners have bad things happen to them, but I couldn't follow the art at all. Very difficult to decipher what was happening in scenes with no dialogue.
Sarah T.
May 06, 2013 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more than I ended up liking it. I liked the artwork except for the 30% that was pretty much unintelligible. The takes on the classic fairy tales were interesting though. I'd still give the rest of this series a try. I won't give up yet!
Aug 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I don't know, creepy doll, dark alternative comic, should be up my ally but I could never get into it. Read the first two issues than stopped getting them. The drawing reminded me of part manga-part goth. Kinda overly dramatic at times.
Mike MacDee
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This anthology contains some creepy renditions of classic fairy tales, and a few original ones as well. The art delightfully skirts the border of cute and creepy. Too bad this book is so obscure: it deserves more recognition than it gets.
Stephanie Cover2CoverBlog
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-home-library
I love graphic novels and so far this one takes the cake, macabre, wonderfully drawn classic fairy tales with a twist. These tales are dark and morbid and played through the memory of a doll who thinks she is cursed. Love em!
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Serena Valentino is best known for weaving tales that combine mythos and guile with her work on the comic book series GloomCookie and Nightmares & Fairy Tales published with SLG Publishing. Nightmares & Fairy Tales has earned her critical acclaim in both the comic and horror domain, where she is known for her unique style of storytelling, bringing her readers into exquisitely frightening w ...more
More about Serena Valentino...

Other Books in the Series

Nightmares & Fairy Tales (4 books)
  • Beautiful Beasts (Nightmares & Fairy Tales, #2)
  • 1140 Rue Royale (Nightmares & Fairy Tales, #3)
  • Dancing with the Ghosts of Whales (Nightmares & Fairy Tales, #4)