Reworking Classics and Fairy Tales

So my thoughts about this are probably a little old, but there has definitely been an increase I feel like in reworking of classic stories and / or fairy tales. This is obviously nothing new as you could even say that Disney has reworked a lot of fairy tales because they definitely try and make the stories a lot happier than they really are. Recently though I feel like there have been a lot of stories that have been completely changed around, telling from a different perspective, and / or adding completely different elements to the stories.

One reason that I find this interesting is that we so often complain about the fact that there is no longer original content, that we are remaking so many things, and yet this increase of reworking classics has been pretty popular. So there are a couple ways I could talk about this, but here are a few of my favorite reworked stories.


Son of a Witch

Second book in the Wicked Series

So this is a bit older, but I love Wicked. The musical and the book are completely different, but I love them both for different reasons. I love the idea of trying to understand that there might be more to the Wicked Witch then we thought. That there is this whole back story that we never saw from the Wizard of Oz. It plays well off of the books as well with the fact that the Wizard is kind of a con artist so it makes sense that he might be a little sleazy looking out for himself and his power.

The musical and the book play with very familiar basic plot, but the book is much darker. The musical makes things much happier and brighter, but the book really makes the world a dark place and Elphaba becomes kind of angry at the world. The further stories have also been fun although they veer off more from the story that we know and start to use the world to create new content. This is one of many books Gregory Maguire has written that are all fabulous, but there is something about Wicked that I just love.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The prequel for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The prequel for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is possibly one of my favorite books. Now one problem is that I think most of the enjoyability comes from having read the original Pride and Prejudice because Seth Grahame-Smith takes lines straight from the original source and reworks them to include zombies. In some ways it takes a lot of creativity and skill to be able to take what someone else has written and turn it around to tell the same story in a completely different way.

The other part that is awesome about the book is these group of sisters being bad ass zombie slayers. In some ways it is even expected that well bred young women are taught to be warriors. So in many ways it is turning the whole time period of Jane Austen on its head because suddenly women are supposed to be able to fight. At the same time it makes it almost even more ridiculous with the expectation of them also knowing how to do music and art. The book is just such a fun read and the ridiculousness of adding zombies to the story makes it fabulous.

There are more books that Seth Grahame-Smith has written, but this was the first one that I read and I am a huge Jane Austen fan. So it was great to see how he reworked the story.

Tin Man

Tin Man

Cover for Tin Man on DVD

Tin Man is a very different retelling of the Wizard of Oz done as a SciFi mini series. In the mini series they make the story much more of an alternate representation of the actual Oz to help give clues about how to find this big secret. I do not want to give too much away and it is really hard to discuss the story without giving things away. The story did an amazing job of playing with all the elements from Oz and turning them on their head.

For example Tin Man is the name for the police force and the Tin Man we meet in the series has a dark past which has hardened his heart and he basically looses his compassion. There is another character that is the “scarecrow” who did have part of their memory removed meaning they don’t really know who they are – they just know that part of themselves is missing. It was just a really interesting retelling of the world of Oz and recreating the characters in new and interesting ways.

SciFi has done a few really good mini series, but if I had to pick my favorite it would be this one. (Although Hatter from Alice is AWESOME!!!)

More Stories

There are so many more stories that I have read, but these are definitely my favorite and show the variety of ways that reworking a story can be handled. Telling a story from a different perspective, adding an element, and just shifting the story in some way just makes for a great fresh look at worlds we already know. Even though these stories are using what has already been created, the thought process to go from an original story to some of these ideas are so creative.

I think the problem is when we just redo the same story over and over again instead of using that story as a jumping board to something new and creative. The thing that I find interesting is that the entire lifeblood of comics is based on taking a story and reworking it. Some of the big shifts in comics come from someone taking a story for a superhero and reworking it. Now this is all going to be done from the superheroes perspective because that is who we care about, but for comics to last you need to change it up in some ways or the story will get stale. Which is the problem with just redoing a story over and over again. Once I have seen it if you do it 20 more times it can get stale and seem like there is nothing original. If you take what is there and rework it and turn things around it can make it seem so creative even when it is using an already created work to jump off from.


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