Fiary Tales and Fun Hats

Did you need evidence that fairy tales are still produced... but in comics?? Well good, because here's:

Over The Garden Wall Special #1
Creator/Writer: Pat McHale
Illustrator: Jim Campbell
Additional Colors: Danielle Burgos

Alright so this is a comic book one shot based on the new Cartoon Network miniseries of the same name which is based on the animated short Tome of the Unknown. Over the Garden Wall is released by KaBOOM!, the all ages imprint of BOOM! Studios. The short, show, and comic were all written by Pat McHale who has worked on Flapjack and Adventure Time. Anyway, it seemed whimsical and shows goofy hats, so I figured I'd check it out! I have seen the show, and it is cuh-razy in all the right ways, BUT this isn't a TV show review site, so I won't go much into that (except for some casting choices). This is about just the comic. Soooooooo let's begin!

Wirt (pointy hat, Elijah Wood on the show), Greg (teapot hat, Collin Dean), and a frog are lost in the woods known as The Unknown. They are being lead by a mischievous bluebird named Beatrice to a witch named Adelaide of the Pasture, who can supposedly get them out of the forest. This issue focuses mainly on an interaction the quartet has with four wayward soldiers sailing on a giant bicorne (you know, the kind of hat Napoleon wore) across a sea of grain.

Unlike McHale's previous works, this has a less humorous tone. It has fewer random adventures and is more a quest to escape the woods, which are riddled with strange people/creaturs. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of silly moments and fun to be had in this book, but don't expect Adventure Time out of it. The dialogue is much wordier and you get a lot more detail about the minds of the characters. Though there isn't much backstory given (it's a very short series after all) McHale does a great job of showcasing the initiative, goals, relationships, and attitudes of the characters. 

The art is very cartoony (as many cartoon to comic properties are). I like the super wide-eyed looks of the two boys as they traverse the field and the field itself really looks like an ocean with the way everything is swaying. The soldiers are all playfully portrayed as satires of 1800s French soldiers of varying body types. All in all through the art you can tell the books main focus group, but it really adds to the fairy tale feel of the story.

Pat McHale's Over the Garden Wall reads a lot like a modern fairy tale and the fun sense of adventure, uncertainty, and curiosity that Wirt and Greg provide is a nice touch. The book's story and art are almost a hybrid between Adventure Time and a Miyazaki movie, but it definitely has it's own identity. Over the Garden Wall has finished it's 10 episode television run and there is no revealed plan to have additional comic issues, but if you want a fun all ages story then absolutely check this out. Whether you watched the show then read the comic or vice versa, I strongly encourage you to explore this world as much as possible.

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