Neil Gaiman doesn’t believe in ‘happy-go-merry’ children stories. Particularly after visiting a refugee camp in war-torn Syria, Gaiman got his inspiration to create a darker version of one of the world’s most favorite tales, Hans Christian Andersen’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’. With a stygian touch by Italian graphic artist Lorenzo Mattotti, Gaiman wants to introduce his horror-induced tales to children, but with an obvious message: fear of ghosts will not match fear towards far greater things in life when people grow up, especially when it comes to facing the authority.
His personal thought about why some elements of cynicism should be included in children’s stories:
I think if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids — and, in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power. Tell them you can fight back, tell them you can win. Because you can — but you have to know that.
And for me, the thing that is so big and so important about the darkness is [that] it’s like in an inoculation… You are giving somebody darkness in a form that is not overwhelming — it’s understandable, they can envelop it, they can take it into themselves, they can cope with it.
And, it’s okay, it’s safe to tell you that story — as long as you tell them that you can be smart, and you can be brave, and you can be tricky, and you can be plucky, and you can keep going.
Read the full article in Brain Pickings.