Friday, January 18, 2013

Comic Book Review: Alice in Wonderland

Our bedtime reading this week has been Dark Horse Comic’s adaption of “Alice in Wonderland”. This hardcover book demonstrates that comics can be a fun outlet for parents to enjoy with their young my case 4 year old twins.  I enjoy finding books that have artwork that will draw their attention into the pages, help expand my childrens' interaction in the story-telling, and foster an appreciation of creativity and the arts.  Eisner & Ignatz Awards-nominated Rod Espinosa accomplishes just that in his sketched version of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale that provides a mind’s eye of Wonderland to its readers.

I appreciated that this book was entertaining enough to keep my children’s attention as we read through the pages together and didn’t have content that would be concerning in regard to potentially creating nightmares for the kids.  Many of the recent revisions of Alice in Wonderland in movies, television, and publications have had a very dark and dangerous tone to them and I was pleased that the comic did not take that tact in its interpretation of Alice’s adventures.  That being said there are challenges and dangers portrayed in this comic where anyone could risk at anytime losing their head at the displeasure of her Majesty ... you just can’t have a Queen of Hearts who doesn’t say “Off with her Head” ...  which demonstrates that Wonderland may be a fascinating place for a visit, but you really don’t want to stay too long.

Espinosa illustrates this comic with a Manga-influence that gives a light air to the artwork which helped capture my kids’ attention.  We had recently read some Beatrix Potter books at bedtime and my daughter was delighted to tell me the drawings in this “Alice in Wonderland” story reminded her of some of the watercolors from the Potter stories.  The other thing the artwork reminded me daughter of, which has become somewhat amusing, is she believes the Mad Hatter character looks like Jay Leno so whenever she sees a commercial for the Tonight Show (of course she doesn’t stay up that late to watch the show) she yells out “look daddy it’s the Mad Hatter”.  One critique is that while characters like the Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar, and Deck of Card Knights really boldly pop out from the pages at you, the White Rabbit just has this blah uninteresting appearance to him that really isn’t up to par with the rest of the drawings in the comic and becomes somewhat of a mild distraction from enjoying that character’s portions of the story.

All in all Dark Horse Comic’s “Alice in Wonderland” was an enjoyable read that passed the Geek Daddy’s bedtime reading test in that it was exciting and interesting enough to entertain my children, kept their attention long enough for them to get sleepyheaded, and didn’t have any content or pictures that result in either of my kids waking up in the middle of the night because they became scared from the story.  My daughter who dressed up as Alice for Halloween last year really enjoyed us reading the story together and seeing how the character was portrayed in the comic so an extra kudos to Rod Espinosa from her as well!

 I was provided a free advance copy of the comic to review from the publisher.  The thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.

“Alice in Wonderland” is scheduled to go on sale February 19, 2013 for a suggested retail price of $19.99. has the book available for pre-order at a discounted $13.59 and Barnes & Noble has it available to pre-order for $13.45.

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