Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book
Written by Marthe Jocelyn and Richard Scrimger
Illustrated by Claudia Davila
Published by Tundra Books
With a steampunk atmosphere, Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book takes a look at the role of imagination in both reading and creating comics. Viminy Crowe takes the question of whether art is an imitation of life or vice versa and applies it to comics: do comic books give us perspective on life or does life give us perspective on comic books?
Wylder Wallace and Addy Crowe meet at a comic con. While Addy tries to discreetly feed Catnip (her pet rat), Wylie is stuffing his face with onion rings and freaking out because Addy has the new issue of Flynn Goster. She leaves the food court in an annoyed huff and forgets her issue of the comic. Her uncle is Viminy Crowe, the author himself; she can have as many copies as she pleases. Wylder, a tiny bit smitten with the mysterious girl, does not know about her infinite supply and decides to return the comic to her. This spurs events that land both of them in the comic itself, taking part in the adventure along with their favorite characters.
When something happens to the physical comic book it affects events within the book as well—turning a page or reading the next panel alters the story. This adds a dimension similar to The Never-Ending Story.Part of the book’s appeal is the inclusion of some high brow symbolism. When she is first sucked into the comic, Addy is confronted with her doppelganger Nelly Day. This is the character her Uncle based on her: sticky-fingered, mischievous, cunning Nelly Day. Addy must grapple with Nelly in order to survive. Also, the new comic book issue is fittingly titled “Flynn Goster In Love,” the perfect backdrop for kids grappling with their own first inklings of romance. Through confronting dangerous situations as a team (like power-crazed adults and gold thieves), the kids begin to trust each other and deal with the intense awkwardness we call puberty.
The content is mostly printed word with occasional graphics. Comic panels are woven throughout the story itself. Initially, there are one panel portraits of the kids, but the panels grow in number and detail as the story progresses. It sadly never develops into all comic content, but this feature is there nonetheless.Last but not least, Viminy Crowe captures the enthusiasm of comic cons—people in costume meeting their heroes and going to gaming events—and makes you want to buy a ticket asap for the nearest convention. This line in particular stood out to me:
“Ahead of him was a little kid dressed normally except for a blue cape. He tore around his parents like a dog on a leash—round and round, pumping his elbows, making his cape flutter. His smile was bigger than his face.”
This is a great depiction of girls and boys enjoying comic books and comic cons together. There is also plenty of potty humor, if you’re into that kind of thing. While this is a book people of all ages can enjoy, it will be best enjoyed by kids ten and under (considering the multiple jokes about toilets).