Lewis Carroll’s original story Alice in Wonderland has been told and retold many times, in books, movies, TV shows and with many variations on the theme. We’re so used to these stories now diverging from the original 1865 story, however, that it’s refreshing to read artist Rod Espinosa’s Alice in Wonderland, with him going back to the well for inspiration.
True to the source, this Alice is a bored young girl who is daydreaming while her beloved tutor tries to teach her British history. She drifts off, suddenly to be surprised by a white rabbit in a silk vest who is holding a pocket watch and exclaiming “I’m late!”. She follows him into his burrow and then falls down, down, down until she finds herself in a small room with a tiny talking door, a bottle labeled “drink me” and no better idea than to drink up!
Except shrinking to the size that’ll let her get through the door comes with a problem that everyone who’s read the original knows: she forgot to grab the key on the table before she became just a few inches tall. Fortunately there’s a cake with the words “eat me” that might help. Or might not.
From there the story proceeds in a visually inventive manner that perfectly captures the whimsy and energy of Carroll’s original children’s tale, though with artwork that looks more than a little bit inspired by Japanese Manga, as shown in the panel below, where Alice seeks to join the oddly unpopular tea party hosted by the Mad Hatter and the Dormouse:
Notice how the panel isn’t rectilinear too, a style that works perfectly for the dreamy world of Alice’s adventures. I have to say, I really enjoyed breezing through Espinosa’s retelling of Alice in Wonderland with his own style. He’s true to the original story but still has a chance to bring his sly sense of humor into the tale too, notably including the artwork featured in the gallery as Alice plummets down the rabbit hole to Wonderland.
This is a splendid version of the story for children too, and in particular I think tweens would eat this up and then perhaps find it worthy of study and a second or third read too. And of course, it’s a lovely gift for the dreamy young daughter or niece in your life too…