Thursday, April 28, 2016

Review - Over the Garden Wall #1 (@boomstudios)

"Where are you going sheriff? Gasp! Is there a new case?!"

The boundaries of one's imagination are typically limitless. Having such an active imagination leads to all sorts of adventures. Some of those adventures are getting attention in Over the Garden Wall #1 from KaBOOM! Studios. The issue is written by Jim Campbell, Danielle Burgos and Amalia Levari and illustrated by Campbell and Cara McGee.

In this kickoff issue, Wirt and Greg might have escaped the Beast’s grasp and made it out of the Unknown, but some things can’t be forgotten. Greg returns to Dreamland at night, where the silly creatures who live there help him on his adventures. Then, dive back into the early days in the Unknown where young Anna, the daughter of the Woodsman, must learn to survive in the woods on her own.

From the outset, there's a sheer level of innocence in Over the Garden Wall #1 that Campbell, Burgos and Levari are clearly enjoying. Greg is unabashed in his take on life, gliding through imaginative scenarios that others would likely find some hesitation in. The dialogue by Campbell, Burgos and Levari reinforces this sense of childish wonder throughout as Greg approaches the situations with a reckless abandonment. It's clear that the writers are focused more on presenting a story that's lighthearted and spirited with Greg, while Anna's story is a bit more adult. That's not to say that it's night and day between the two stories, but Campbell, Burgos and Levari show they can also get a bit more serious with their dialogue (monologue?) for Anna.

The artwork in Over the Garden Wall #1 is just as fun as the story itself. Campbell and McGee render characters who sport generally childish appearances that give the book a youthful, all-ages appeal. Greg is illustrated with eyes as wide physically as they are figurative that reinforce the notion that the world looks different to someone with his perspective. And despite the seemingly dire circumstances both Greg and Ana find themselves in, Campbell and McGee focus on artwork that refuses to stray away from being bubbly. Even the panels are arranged in a way that feels loose and joyous, further providing the reader with a sense of imagination.

Over the Garden Wall #1 is a pretty entertaining all-ages book that doesn't take itself too seriously. The scenarios that both Greg and Anna find themselves in are different from one another, but both rely on similar traits of childlike wonderment. The script by Campbell, Burgos and Levari is airy and enjoyable in its relatively innocent approach. The artwork by Campbell and McGee is equally as vibrant, offering characters who manage to convey a sense of menace at times despite their outward appearance of happiness. Over the Garden Wall #1 is definitely for readers looking for something fun and easygoing.

Over the Garden Wall #1 is in stores now.


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