In part 2 of the pig reviews, Lee takes a look at a charming all ages book!
Credits & Solicit Info:
Written and Illustrated by Eric Powell
Published by Albatross Exploding Funny Books
Date realeased: June 3, 2010
Lula the Bearded Girl discovers new challenges as she attempts to integrate the uncontrollable monster she named Chimichanga into her circus family. Especially when he continues to try to fit Petunia the elephant in his mouth! This all-ages second issue is part of Powell's first written and illustrated creator owned series since The Goon.
I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll say it again; Chimichanga is miles and away the most charming book on the stands. It’s been almost half a year since we last saw Lula the Bearded Girl, Dagmar the Witch, the folks of circus and, of course, Chimichanga. In the world of monthly serial stories, that is an eternity. A lesser book would be crushed by such a wait. I mean does anyone even remember that War Heroes even exists?
This book easily overcomes the long wait, the characters are all so unique and the world so inviting that within a few pages it all comes rushing back. You remember Heratio, the boy faced fish, and the rest fairly easily. The only place where the reader needs a little prodding is in Dagmar’s story, but Powell catches the reader up with skillful ease.
So, Lula’s new friend Chimichanga causes quite a stir in the Circus. She is convinced she can train him to perform and when she does, the seats get filled. Of course, this means the less than impressive acts are jealous and Amazing Randy, the man of the strength of a slightly larger man, gets to scheming. Meanwhile, the Witch is at a pharmaceutical company trying to convince them to by her Gas relieving potion. Quickly the two narratives twine back together when the old hag reveals the secret ingredient and everything is in upheaval at the end of the issue.
Powell loves comics. That is evident to the fans of The Goon. Here, he has written an ALL Ages pleasure. It isn’t a complicated story and Powell’s indictment of the Drug industry is less than subtle, but the humor is so infectious. The writing so tight, that you can’t help but marvel in it. The way he handles the crowds that are drawn by the Circus’s new attraction is proof that he is a master storyteller. Without showing the street barking, you know the feat has been done. In two panels, he elapses time as expertly as an extended sequence of a flower opening on a nature show.
All the while, the book feels like an Our Gang short. The characters act so outrageously but still make you smile as wide as possible. It just makes you feel good. Which is an amazing thing, especially in a world where the corporations can be as evil as the one portrayed here. Even that attitude of the little girl who can against the big mean old company seems to come right out of a thirties or forties comedy reel. Maybe rough times create this special kind of entertainment. Righteous in its head, but cute in its execution. Whatever it is that causes it, we could use some more.
The art is as you would expect from the great cartoonist. There is a simplicity to Lula. There is great exaggeration in many of the circus performers. There is outrageousness in the designs of the eponymous monster and striking realism to the “normal” people of the book. The cops bear a striking resemblance to Clint Eastwood, I almost feel myself doing a Spanky double take when things like that stand out in the book.
Chimichanga is a book that Powell should be proud of. It is a book that is fun to read and can easily be handed to a kid. It’s the kind of the thing the medium really needs a lot more of.