09 September 2007
Amelia Rules! : The Whole World's Crazy
Oh, look! Dem's Good Readin' actually has a comic review! Yeah, sorry about the hiatus from talking about comics that I deem good enough to be read. Had bills to pay, kids to feed, wife to sleep with. You know, grown up stuff.
Anywho, this time I want to talk about the first volume of Amelia Rules! which collects the first few issues of the Amelia Rules! comic book. Amelia McBride is a nine-year-old girl whose parents have divorced and Amelia now has to move out from their Manhattan home and has to follow her mom to live with her mom's sister. New place, new friends, new school. And only nine. Bummer.
Her friends are Reggie, Pajamaman (a kid who doesn't say anything at all and only wears pajamas at all times) and a girl named Rhonda. The four of them hang out together pretty much all the time and help each other out. Although Rhonda doesn't like Amelia much because she sees Amelia as an obstacle between her crush for Reggie. Reggie is oblivious to all this of course.
Creator Jimmy Gownley balances the humour between kid-type jokes and some that may go over the heads of the target audience, like this one about Santa working for the 'Feds'.
While there is humour, Gownley also slips in some episodes of sentimentality between the pages. The premise of Amelia Rules! is that Amelia comes from a broken home. Her parents are divorced and the book is about how a nine year old copes with that. We see her disappointment and anger when she receives a call from her dad that his promised weekend visit is cancelled. Personally, I don't really like it when comics, especially one that is supposed to be heavy on the humour, goes all glurgy and heart string-pulling like this but fortunately Jim Gownley doesn't go all "A very special episode" on us. Yes, there is sentimentality and yes, there is pathos but the servings are small and interspersed with good old fashioned laughs.
The art and the quick delivery from set-up to punchline makes Amelia Rules! look like a newspaper comic strip sometimes. I'm not sure if that was intentional but it doesn't really hurt the book. Besides, Gownley realises he's not writing a newspaper strip and his stories are patiently laid out page by page even though the jokes usually come in every third panel. It's a comic book with newspaper strip style delivery. Score!
I have no hesitation in giving top marks to this first volume of Amelia Rules! collection. It's family friendly. It's a good introduction to comics for the little 'uns and an overall good read for the grown up as well.