Have you ever walked into a room and felt that all eyes are on you? Everyone is whispering about you? That’s what life is like for Ronny Pugnant every day. He has a hideous face and, possibly worse, his face is covered in thick, black, long hair. One day, while he is on the run, he comes upon Wrinkle’s Traveling Circus. There, a young bearded girl, Lula, and her pet monster (for lack of a better word), Chimichanga, are the center of attention. Lula offers Ronny a job at the circus, but he takes it as an insult, and doesn’t want to spend his days getting laughed at. So, he steals the circus’ money and makes a run for it when a cop comes by looking for him. Angry and frustrated with this guy’s disrespect, Chimichanga goes running after him.
Eric Powell is nothing short of a genius. He has worked on a number of publications, but is best known for The Goon, a series that mixes violence and comedy in a supernatural/horror genre. This series isn’t much different, except there isn’t all too much violence…yet. There is heavy emphasis on a very fantastical, unrealistic world. Even so, we are able to relate to the characters.
Powell’s writing is upbeat, fast-paced, and doesn’t really allow for many breaths in between scenes. For any other book, I’d say this isn’t the best thing, because it makes the issue seem rushed. But for a book like this, with so much emphasis on the fantastical element, it is pretty fitting.
Buscema’s illustrations are what bring this issue together. They are rather animated, but they stand out a great deal from anything else I’ve seen on the shelves recently. It’s cartoonish, yeah, but we can see the darker tones of the story in the illustrations, in large part due to the coloring. Lula’s eyes are completely black. Her pet is a huge green monster with horns and sharp teeth and a bellybutton filled with all sorts of weird things. None of the rest of the circus workers look happy; they’re always frowning—in fact, they all kind of hate Lula for being as upbeat as she is. This is a really dark issue, but it brings up a very good lesson that many children—and most adults—need to learn: you cannot judge people based on how they look. The conflicting tones make the story as interesting as it is, and it’s very much so.
Powell and Buscema make an excellent creative team. The humor and horror are perfectly balanced, and it reads really well. If you’ve read The Goon and like that style of writing, you’re going to love this miniseries. Dark Horse has been putting out some really interesting books lately, and this is no exception, so head to your local comic book shop and give it a read!
Written by: Eric Powell
Illustrated by: Stephanie Buscema