Review - The Amazing World of Gumball #1

"I'm gonna be so listless that I blend into the couch itself."

As a student in school, the best day of the year was the last day. That was the day when you realized you had the entire summer ahead of you to get into all manner of trouble and hijinks. Certain books remember those days more fondly than others and The Amazing World of Gumball #1 from KaBOOM! Studios is one such book. The issue is written by Frank Gibson and illustrated and lettered by Tyson Hesse.

School's out for the summer at Elmore Junior High as the students plan on acting as lazy as possible. Gumball though decides that being lazy isn't good enough for him, as he wants to do the coolest thing ever. Of course, Tobias gets the jump on that idea, prompting a game of one-upmanship between the two students. Turns out though that Gumball's answer is slightly less conventional and garners a slightly different level of attention.

From the start (and the fact that the publisher is KaBOOM!), readers should know that The Amazing World of Gumball #1 skews younger. The thing is, the book is still pretty enjoyable regardless of age and taps into that sense of freedom that came with the summer off from school. Gibson's style is very accessible to all ages and successfully blends together humor and a sense of belonging. Gumball has rather grand ambitions and his quest to do something cool is quite enjoyable to follow along with. Part of what makes the book so enjoyable is that it doesn't aspire to be anything grandiose; rather, it doesn't take itself too seriously and has fun along the way.

There's a very airy quality about Hesse's illustrative style that grounds the book in an imaginative reality. It yo-yos back and forth between pure cartoon and some almost photorealistic images as well, thanks to some of the shading choices throughout. It's too easy to compare it to Ren and Stimpy, but it does have that sensibility to it (save for al the crudeness). The imagination of the story wouldn't work as well without a great artistic pairing and Hesse ensures that there's plenty of bold, vibrant colors throughout. And many of the characters have some truly hilarious expressions that demonstrate an appropriate reaction to the absurdity they're dealing with.

The Amazing World of Gumball #1 is quite frankly a lot of fun to read. Gumball wants him and his buddies to be in some zany situations; in fact, they relish the opportunity to live a day-to-day that's far from ordinary. Gibson doesn't bog the book down in childish antics that aren't enjoyable by all readers, largely through his pretty funny dialogue. Hesse's illustrations remind the reader that the book should feel like a cartoon, as characters are depicted with an emphasis on outlandishness. If this is what the cast of The Amazing World of Gumball #1 gets into within the first day off from school, one can imagine how much crazier the rest of their summer (and series) will be.

Amazing World of Gumball #1 is in stores now with interiors below.