Fable Comics Blog Tour: Q&A with John Kerschbaum

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Fables have been around for centuries and are an excellent way for kids to learn time-honored lessons. Comics haven’t been around *quite* as long, but are an exciting and fun way for kids to read. Create a mashup of the two and you’ve got Fable Comics (Public Library | Local Bookstore), the latest comic anthology from the editor of Fairy Tale Comics and Nursery Rhyme Comics, Chris Duffy!


To commemorate this collection of talented cartoonists’ spin on some of the oldest, well-loved fables, kid lit bloggers are spending the month interviewing featured artists for the Fable Comics Blog Tour.  John Kerschbaum, comic artist for ‘The Grasshopper and the Ants‘ is today’s featured guest answering five questions about his contribution to the Fable Comics collection:


The old moral of the Aesop Fable ‘The Grasshopper and the Ants’ is: “Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today”. What is it about this particular fable that appeals to you?

JK: It’s a great life lesson wrapped in a simple tale… plus bugs.  I love bugs.  They’re fun to draw.


Do you tend to be more of an impulsive grasshopper or a responsible ant?

JK: I’m an ant with acute grasshopper-like tendencies.


The grasshopper in your comic is both goofy and lovable. Where did the inspiration for his character come from?

JK: He’s a little cocky and that’s what gets him in trouble.  But he’s well-intentioned.  He sincerely believes that he’ll succeed.  He’s got heart and ambition.  And those are all admirable qualities. He’s also a bit clueless.


In many versions of the fable, the ants give the grasshopper no compassion come wintertime when he is out in the cold after spending the summer devoting himself to music. In Fable Comics, you give the ending a twist. Can you explain the motivation behind your reinvented ending?

JK: I changed the ending slightly but I think I left the moral intact.  The grasshopper thinks he’s all set for the future.  He ignores the ants’ advice and suffers for it in the end.  So the hardworking ants are still right.  They’re just not jerks about it.  They show compassion. I wanted to show that the ants weren’t dismissive of the grasshopper’s dream of being a musician.  In fact, they even appreciate the merits of his artistic pursuits.


You’re now a part of the telling of Aesop’s Fables, which has been going on now for 25 centuries. Why do you think Aesop’s Fables continue to be popular and relevant today?

JK: Wow, I never thought of it that way before.  That sounds like a lot of responsibility.  I hope I didn’t mess up 25 centuries of story-telling.  Regardless, I think these fables are told and told again because they have an inherent wisdom that makes them infinitely relevant.  They are timeless stories with talking animals.  Even if you’re not into wisdom, everybody loves talking animals.


Thanks John for spending time to discuss ‘The Grasshopper and the Ants’ on SfCT!


Be sure to check out the rest of the Fable Comics Blog Tour interview lineup:

9/21 Good Comics for Kids features Fable Comics editor Chris Duffy
9/22 Charlotte’s Library features James Kochalka and ‘The Fox and the Grapes
9/23 Musings of a Librarian features Tom Gauld and ‘The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
9/24 Sharp Reads features George O’Connor and the ‘Hermes’ fables
9/25 Fly to Fiction features Sophie Goldstein an ‘Leopard Drums Up Dinner
9/26 Supernatural Snark features Charise Harper and ‘The Belly and the Body Members
9/27 It’s All Comic to Me features R. Sikoryak and ‘Lion + Mouse
9/28 Ex Libris Kate features Jennifer L. Meyer and ‘Fox and Crow
9/29 The Roarbots features Eleanor Davis and ‘The Old Man and Death
9/30 Fleen features Jaime Hernandez and ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf
10/1 The Book Monsters features Simone Lia and ‘The Crow and the Pitcher
10/2 The Brain Lair features Graham Chaffee and ‘The Dog and His Reflection
10/3 Librarian in Cute Shoes features Maris Wicks and ‘The Dolphins, The Whales, and The Sprat
10/4 Women Write About Comics features Vera Brosgol and ‘The Hare and the Pig
10/5 The Busy Librarian features Kenny Widjaja and ‘The Demon, The Thief, and the Hermit
10/6 The Book Rat features Corinne Mucha and ‘The Elephant in Favor
10/7 Read. Watch. Connect features Liniers and ‘The Mouse Council
10/8 Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup features Mark Newgarten and ‘Man and Wart
10/9 Jenuine Cupcakes features Israel Sanchez and ‘The Milkmaid and Her Pail
10/10 Bumbles & Fairy Tales features Ulises Farinas and ‘The Great Weasel War
10/11 Graphic Policy features R.O. Blechman and ‘The Sun and the Wind
10/12 The Book Wars features Graham Annable and ‘The Hare and the Tortoise
10/13 Sturdy for Common Things features John Kerschbaum and ‘The Grasshopper and the Ants’
10/14 Kid Lit Frenzy features Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline and ‘The Thief and the Watchdog’
10/15 Maria’s Melange features Gregory Benton and ‘The Hen and the Mountain Turtle’
10/16 Read Write Reflect features Roger Langridge and ‘Demades and His Fable’ 


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