Creator: Doug TenNapel
Age Rating: PG
Where to Buy
To kick off the first Hey, World!, I’m going to start with what I frequently refer to as my favorite comic book: Tommysaurus Rex. If you told me a couple of Christmases ago that the 100-odd page book in the 1/2 off bin was going to be my favorite, well, I probably would have laughed at you. I go bargain diving in that bin not because those comics are diamonds in the rough, but because they get me laughing for completely different reasons.
Despite where I found it, Tommysaurus Rex is an endearing story that I have fallen madly in love with.
Ely is a kid facing his first real hardship: the death of his dog. It’s a hard road to go down for any young dog owner. Some things that can help a kid get over that kind of loss are loving parents, a fun grandfather, and discovering a T-Rex trapped in a cave. Because this story channels awesomeness, Ely and his prehistoric pet become fast friends. There are all the growing pains of owning a t-rex to deal with. Really, when was the last time that you considered how big t-rex poo is? As much fun as they have, it’s not all paradise for Ely and Tommy. Tommy causes some problems, but the real pain is the local bully that won’t leave Ely alone.
100 pages doesn’t seem like enough space to deal with all this, but Doug TenNapel does an amazing job delivering a very satisfying story. An expressive cartoony style laden with heavy inks brings all the humans to life. Tommy is no less animated, but his design looks a little more real, which helps you believe that Ely really is pals with a T-Rex. I’ll never get enough of Mr. TenNapel’s style. I remember when I first read through this I was blown away by how easy Tommy looked. So many comic artists are great with humans, but animals come off more stale. Not with Tommy. He sat, jumped, flexed, and expressed. It seems small, but it’s not something everyone can do, and it completely floored me.
I also have a great appreciation for stories that are for kids, but deal with serious issues. I really believe in children’s comics as a powerful medium. There’s no reason to dumb down emotional moments for kids. Kids live in the real world too, and I love it when authors respect kids enough to let their comics go to serious places. Doug TenNapel, as usual, holds nothing back.
Obviously I need to own up to a slight biased. A book that celebrates the best of dogs with the best of dinosaurs? Yeah, that’s a book that I can do nothing but fawn over. Despite my favoritism, I’d like to point you to not just Tommysaurs Rex, but to any of Mr. TenNapel’s works. He’s published numerous graphic novels that are usually at least a twinge science fiction, but are always steeped in a real human story. I’ve never been disappointed.
And if it’s a hard time to shell out the cash? Perfect timing. He just started a webcomic: Ratfist. You can get a solid sampling of what this master creator has to offer.
Here we go! Seventy-one posts and this is the first one not to have any of my sketches burden it. Sorry if you don’t stop by this lil’ ol’ site for words, but you’re gonna have to blame the world of comics for this slight change in programming.
‘Cause this week? Comics were awesome.
I should be more specific, comic creators were awesome, and top of that list was Skottie Young. A little post entered my RSS from the stalwart Mr. Young that spoke of the need to share what we love about comics, instead of just complaining.
I. Loved. That.
Quickly it was a sentiment I heard echoed all over the internet. Steve Niles had a similar proclamation, saying, “If you like something, tell your friends. If you love it, tell the world.” Eric Powell expressed support for creator owned books in a more graphic, albeit funny way. I even read an almost begrudging post from Scott Wegener, saying that he’d try to do his part too.
As is the nature of any public media, you’re going to hear a range of harsh criticism and adoring love from the commenting fans. It seems that lately the conversation has been more negative then positive. Whatever faults the comic industry may or may not have, it is something that I wholeheartedly believe in. I love comics, and whether they are the butt of jokes or an exalted art form I will draw them till I die. Or till my right hand, then left hand, then feet fail me. I could try with my lips too….
Either way, turning towards the Comics Media this week was so encouraging. It wasn’t just the blogosphere that was calling for a cease fire, it was this litany of creators, that I very much respect, that asked us to lay down our arms. Instead, get constructive. Talk about what you love. It was that simple.
For a long time I’ve wanted to emulate my favorite news sites. All I do with my free time is either read, draw, or read about what comics are being drawn. I ingest all of this information, and I’ve felt like I should be able to do something with it. I hesitated because my posts would have been late news, regurgitation of other articles, or at best, sophomoric observations. If I was going to put down my pencil on my ART website, it better be because I could stand behind the words I was writing.
Mr. Young gave me an easy way out: he was going to take the time to write about one book he loved per week. You know what? I can do that too.
So, long round-up short, that is why Hey, World! #1 comes to you today. If I can, I’ll post one every Monday and keep the review to about 500 words. I fully intend to butcher and bore with these early reviews, but I can only go up from rock bottom. Unlike most reviews, there’s no need to give ratings because any Hey, World! book is a ten out of ten as far as I’m concerned. Right or wrong, that is the entire point. I’m going to tell you about comic books that I love. As a dinosaur-loving, weakness-for-puns, cartoon-lovin’ gal, I expect that many of my favorites will not be your favorites. That’s okay. I’m still going to keep sharing, ’cause guess what?
I love comics.