Over the Garden Wall: Special

by Sean Tonelli on November 07, 2014

Over the Garden Wall: Special
Children need to learn fear because they need to conquer it. There is a reason why movies like Labyrinth, The Last Unicorn and the Never Ending Story are so revered. Because under the whimsical surface, there lay a terrifying truth; life is fleeting and must be treasured at all time. A lot of family friendly affair these days glosses over the harsher bits of existence. With so much watered down fluff available these days Pat McHale’s Over the Garden Wall is a breath of fresh air. Set to air this month on the Cartoon Network, the show tells the tale of two siblings, Wirt and Greg, who have become lost in the woods of the Unknown. The show makes a leap to the comic pages as well with a special one-shot that captures the spirit of the show perfectly.
Creator and writer Patrick McHale, the former creative director from Adventure Time, throws readers right into the middle of the Unknown. The book is a one-off adventure where the brothers and their guide, a bluebird named Beatrice, run into a ship of fools. Except it’s not really a ship. It’s more like a hat, a bicorne to be exact. And they aren’t really fools, they are more like soldiers. Wait—scratch that, they are most definitely fools.
McHale’s story doesn’t hold any hands. The language isn’t adult, it’s exquisite. The narration is beautiful with great lines that transport the reader back in time to a less modern age. McHale has said his inspiration was children’s literature of the 19th century and this shows. Each phrase is meticulous in its design which results in a rich and elegant read.
Jim Campbell’s art is a treat for the eyes. He captures the spirit of the show quite well. The splash pages, such as the group shot of the departing bicorne help transport the reader into the Unknown.
Over the Garden Wall: Special is lovely read. It’s a family friendly tale that doesn’t hold hands and isn’t afraid to use its own intelligence.
Over the Garden Wall: Special
Writer: Pat McHale
Illustrator: Jim Campbell
Additional Colours: Danielle Burgos
Publisher: Kaboom Studios

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