When Disney’s live action Maleficent movie came to theaters last spring, I spent some time digging through the Internet to find some Sleeping Beauty-inspired recipes. I stumbled across a treasure among the decorated cake pops and cookies and found an illustrated recipe for Flora’s Fudge. It was printed in a Sleeping Beauty comic from way back when, and oh boy, do I wish Disney would release a whole cookbook with recipes that look like this:
Why is Flora making fudge? I don’t know and don’t care, I just love the format.
I tracked down the comic on eBay because I needed to see it with my own two eyes. The recipe for Flora’s Fudge was printed on the back cover of Sleeping Beauty’s Fairy Godmothers comic published in 1959 by Dell Publishing (#984 in the run of Four Color comics). I’m making the fabled fudge for the holiday season, but I of course had to read the comic first. It has three mini stories about the fairy godmothers going about their business. While the story of Sleeping Beauty is printed on the inside of the front and back covers, the comics don’t feature her at all. Other Disney characters make appearances instead.
The stories are as follows: “Good Deed Day,” “To the Rescue,” and “The Pilfered Pastry.” The art seems to closely follow the Disney model, even if it’s a little tricky to tell Flora and Fauna apart on the cover. Their adventures are about what you’d expect: Light, fluffy, and silly. That’s meant as a compliment. Comics have changed since 1959 (yeah, I know, I’m Captain Obvious) and going back into the past and finding simple charm is a delight. I’m still going to pick on little things though, such as the Queen of Hearts not needing oven mitts to touch and hold a tray of tarts freshly pulled from the oven:
Not suffering burns and blisters is her superpower!
The other Disney universe cameos beside the Queen of Hearts include Timothy and Dumbo. One the aspects of this comic I like the best is the fact that there seems to be a shared universe in place. In “To the Rescue,” the bumbling but well meaning trio distract Dumbo and Timothy while they’re on the way to perform tricks for a group of orphan kids. The distraction causes Dumbo to crash and lose his confidence. This is why you should never distract drivers or pilots.
Dumbo is shaken and gets incredibly emo about never being able to fly again. Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather try to solve the problem, but let’s be honest, they only make things worse. Their brilliant ideas include turning Dumbo into a bird, having Merryweather teach Dumbo how to fly again because flapping fairy wings is the same as flapping elephant ears, pushing Dumbo off a cliff, and lifting him up on a magic mushroom that he has to fly off of or risk falling from. None of these ideas are winners.
In hindsight, it’s amazing they managed to keep Aurora alive in the animated film. I wouldn’t trust these women with the care of any living thing, especially if they weren’t permitted to use their powers. Nothing they did assisted Dumbo. He only regained his confidence and flight because Timothy ended up in mortal danger. And that brought its own memorable moment: Dumbo throttling a predatory bird with his trunk. Genius.
Lessons learned? Don’t mess with Dumbo’s friends or else, and don’t trust the fairy godmothers with anything more serious than a fudge recipe.