Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel

TenNapel is a successful and accomplished maker of cartoon images -- he created Earthworm Jim, and has spent the last decade or so making excellent graphic novels like Ghostopolis (see my review) and Bad Island (also see my review) -- who I never see discussed among the usual comics circles. This is, as far as I can tell, because his books are all for younger readers and mostly published by companies like Scholastic (which has an impressive getting-comics-into-the-hands-of-kids operation, benefiting Kazu Kibuishi and Raina Telgemeier as well as TenNapel), and because they are very slightly formulaic and young-adult-ish in the best way: they're about kids old enough to take responsibility and do serious things who start to do just that. They're also very energetic and full of wild inventive energy -- so far, Ghostopolis is the best of the ones I've read, but Cardboard, which has the wonderful McGuffin of magical cardboard which can be worked into any object, person, or thing, is coming up close behind it. Like Fat Albert, if you're not careful, you just might learn something -- but TenNapel's enthusiasm for his characters and stories is worth that risk.

(Antick Musings notes the generosity of the Thing 2 Foundation in lending its own precious copy of Cardboard to Antick Musings for the purpose of this review.)

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