- Posted by Johanna on September 9, 2012 at 7:04 pm
- Category: Graphic Novel Reviews
- CREDITS: by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost
- PUBLISHER: First Second; $9.99 US
Ready for Christmas? No, I’m not either, but distribution vagaries and selling seasons mean that the Adventures in Cartooning: Christmas Special goes on sale next week. I didn’t read the first Adventures in Cartooning book; did it have the same mix of charm and cheerleading for comic creation?
The art’s deceptively simple, a great choice for a book with the message, “you, too, can and should draw comics.” It’s got a lot of detail, though, which instantly throws the reader into Santa’s workshop. In rhyme, we’re told of how the Jolly Old Elf is griping about kids not wanting toys in this digital age. I love the couplet:
Instead of toys, we elves write code. Then we connect to the server … and upload!
Santa decides to make a comic for these kids, with the help of the Magical Cartooning Elf and a brave knight who provides the adventure stories for them to illustrate. Yes, it’s all told in poetry (which the knight also complains about), and there are various magical creatures all helping each other out, so if you can’t let yourself succumb to whimsy, this is not the short graphic novel for you.
But for parents looking for something safe yet inspirational, funny yet respectful, that’s not a video game, to put in the kid’s stocking, this fits the bill. The characters create a story, make a comic, solve various holiday problems involving distribution — if it were me, I couldn’t have resisted a pun about issues with a precious jewel — and finally get help from an expected but visually exciting source.
The end, where the comic is so great that it inspires other young creators, is obvious from the premise, but it also strikes me as wishful thinking. I suppose writing something you want to come true isn’t a bad tactic, but I’m not sure the message will be compelling to those who don’t already want to see it happen. Will kids follow the model of the story? The outright call for them to create, and the provided address to send their comics, may help.
You can find out more and see preview pages at the publisher’s website. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)