Fairy-Tale Files, published once weekly, feature three variations of a fairy tale chosen by one of Fairy Tale Review’s editors, readers, editorial assistants, or contributors.
Maya Rudolph brought her to life in Shrek the Third, Anne Sexton poeticized her in 1971. Even Barbie’s jumped on the follicle wagon. Plastic and the media have been good to Rapunzel, whose earliest European appearance occurs in Giambattista Basile’s Petrosinella (1634). Further down the timeline we encounter Charlotte-Rose de Caumont de La Force’s Persinette (1698), followed by Friedrich Schulz’s 1790 Rapunzel, which had a direct influence on the Grimms’ 1812 version. Impressive forelocks all, but only one (Mme. La Force) spent her memoir-writing years in a Benedictine abbey under the orders of Louis XIV.
Myth listens when Pindar puts you in an ode. The antiheroine who turns gazers into stone has inspired such creative minds as Ovid, Patricia Smith, and Sigmund Freud. His treatise Das Medusenhaupt calls her “the supreme talisman who provides the image of castration.” Claymation has dealt a somewhat kinder hand via Ray Harryhausen’s rendering in 1981’s Clash of the Titans, a film that features all the deities, witches, and mechanical owls you could possibly cram into 118 minutes. Released the same weekend as Raiders of the Lost Ark . . . Medusa’s severed and Belloq’s exploding — a bad window for heads indeed.
No one pulls off the green-haired look like Marvel Comics’ Mistress of Magnetism, Polaris. An oft-times pawn of evil mutants (Mesmero, Mr. Sinister, Erik the Red, and Zaladane, among others), Polaris came to the forefront in the 90s rejuvenated X-Men titles. The fact that she’s Magneto’s daughter probably bolstered her confidence as well. A former PhD geophysics candidate, Polaris’ abilities once de-gravitized an entire island, as related in Giant Size X-Men 1 which can be yours for the mere price of $1,550.26 (and that’s with the generous ten percent discount).
This edition of Fairy-Tale Files is brought to you by poetry editor Jon Riccio.