Coming in July is a graphic novel that sounds quite promising but turns out to be terrible.
The writer of The Martian, Andy Weir, has unearthed Cheshire Crossing. This early project, originally a webcomic, has Alice, Dorothy, and Wendy (from Alice in Wonderland, The Wizard of Oz, and Peter Pan, respectively) put in an asylum together where they escape for battles with each other’s traditional enemies. Since he explains in the introduction that he can’t draw, the publisher, Ten Speed Press, has had Sarah Andersen (Sarah’s Scribbles) illustrate it.
The authors’ previous works give you a good idea what to expect. Weir spends more time on explaining how various magic spells work than developing any of the characters. The girls all sound alike (and, in a book aimed at 8-12 year olds, curse a surprising amount). Andersen’s designs are cute, but the action scenes are flat, lacking suspense or a good movement flow.
Weir turns girls’ fantasy journeys into a boys’ adventure tale, with battle after battle and little of substance happening between them. I kept losing track of where they were and what they were trying to achieve. The one piece of characterization that will stick with me (not in a good way) is Peter Pan being aged up enough to be horny, constantly talking about wanting to touch Alice. I think their nanny is supposed to be Mary Poppins, but she’s not named (since the character is still protected intellectual property).
I hope customers, particularly librarians, don’t buy this for kids. It’s inappropriate, with unsuitably adult topics (what with all the violence and sex jokes), thoroughly unpleasant, and overall, a muddled mess.