I was raised a literary child of sorts, we read in my house. I enjoyed (often grudgingly) so many classics, from Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn to Alice in Wonderland and Swiss Family Robinson. And it was something that came to define me as an adult. But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t also a product of the movies and television I enjoyed as well.
Over The Garden Wall reminded me of so many of the things I loved growing up. First the synopsis: “Two brothers, Wirt and Greg, find themselves lost in the Unknown, a strange forest adrift in time. With the help of a shadowy Woodsman and an ill-tempered bluebird named Beatrice, they travel through the foggy land hoping to find their way home and encountering all manner of adventures along the way.”
An apt description of the plot but there’s a feel to it, a way the story unfolds that reminds me of some of my favorites. Obvious observations include, lost in a magical world, a quest to find home, finding traveling companions along the way, all of which are present in both The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland and can be argued are fairly common to the genre. What writer Pat McHale has captured here is the poetic oddness (for lack of a better term) that is so present in Carroll’s work. The soldiers in the pasture are a perfect example:
They really have something special here, a fable, well written and beautifully illustrated. Even though the comic didn’t really drive the story forward it was an enjoyable peek into the series, which aired (is airing? check local listings) on Cartoon Network. Speaking of which, here’s the first episode streaming on the Cartoon Network website. Each episode is 11 minutes and they all appear to be watchable for free at the site. A word of caution, if you picked up the comic before you saw the show you may notice the show is definitely creepier. Now if you’ve already checked out the show, felt it was a bit creepy for your kids then this comic is a perfect way to satisfy the “I wanna see that” chant that the commercials may have caused around your home!
I’m giving Over the Garden Wall Special a four out of five, this book would have been a perfect five if it weren’t for the fact that it’s a one-shot that didn’t have a self-contained story. As an ongoing series? This would get my highest endorsement.