"Chimichanga" Graphic Novel Review
Written by James "Spez" Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written & Illustrated by Eric Powell
2011, 92 Pages
Graphic Novel released on September 7th, 2011
The vast majority of comics published today are not geared towards children. That incredibly cliched phrase "Comics aren't just for kids anymore." is actually false. The truth is that funny books are rarely for kids anymore. While this movement to more mature storytelling has produced some fantastic titles, kids are missing out and there isn't the growth of new readers that there once was. If only there could be more books like Eric Powell's Chimichanga. If you're looking for a good example of an all-ages title, you've found it.
Chimichanga is hands down the best comic you'll read this year about a little bearded girl and her pet monster named after a Mexican dish. Lula — the aforementioned bearded girl — works in what has to be the most pathetic traveling circus I've ever seen. It's run by her grandfather, Wrinkles, and features acts such as Horatio the boy faced fish, Gene the indifferent clown, and the Amazing Randy, the man with the strength of a slightly larger man. The circus is on its last legs when Lula finds Chimichanga. He brings in some much needed revenue but the other circus workers quickly grow jealous.
Meanwhile, an entrepreneurial witch discovers a potion that can cure bad gas for short periods of time. The secret ingredient is the facial hair of a young girl. When the witch sells the formula to an evil pharmaceutical company, Lula is taken hostage and it's up to Chimichanga to break her out.
This book is downright fun. Eric Powell's art has all the charm of his other series, The Goon. Each character has a clean, painted look to them. These aren't rough sketches and the art is clearly not rushed. The care that went into this really shines through. The characters themselves are all well-defined. Lula has a beard that looks like it belongs on a Spanish conquistador and Chimichanga is the kind of thing that would come out of a kid's head if he was hopped up on sugar.
The pharmaceutical company angle works from the kid friendly perspective because the executives are painted as the villains right off the bat. There are larger themes that might sail over a child's head, but are hilarious to an adult. The phrase "all-ages" gets tossed around in comics, but Chimichanga actually works for a reader of any age. It's easily a book that you can let your son or daughter read or better yet, read to them.