Whoo boy welcome back to the Comic reviews we have here at Draxisweb and All Things Geek! We have 3 comics for you this week and I want to get the first one out of the way here because it went from being a general Comic Review into being a weird Comic/Television mashup review and boy is it a doozy! Our first review comes to you from Vibranium Comics and Games in Ocala Florida. Coming up we have a Pokemon event, a force of will event and some trivia nights so be sure to check their facebook page by following the links below or check out their website!
So I want to just jump right into the first one, but before I do that, heed the picture of Auntie Whispers below for we will get into spoiler territory here!
So what has happened here is we got a comic from Vibranium that was called Over the Garden Wall. Austin tells me this comic is based on a show of the same name that was on Cartoon Network and was actually the first miniseries made by Cartoon Network to run on the channel. So, I dove right into the book and instantly became lost. I started out confused, I made it to the middle confused and I came out of the book just as confused with the only real thought in my head being “Damn this Wirt kid is a horrible big brother!”
So Austin says I need to watch the series…it will all become clear if I watch the series. I look up the series on Hulu and by god the mini series has 10 friggen episodes! But it turns out they are all like 13 or 15 minutes or some such short ridiculous thing like that so they are gone through in no time at all. One night I sit through 7 of them and the next night I finish the last 3. This starts clearing up some things in the comic but by god did this bring back some bad memories.
You see when I was in highschool, my friends and I got together every weekend and either played D&D or had a movie marathon day or something. One weekend I missed a Saturday get together for one reason or another but made it back the next day. It turns out they had watched an Anime(first time I had even heard of such a thing) while I was gone and they were sooooooooo confused by it. They bet me that if I watched it I wouldn’t know what was going on by the end of it. I had notes taken and everything and came out of that movie without a clue. The movies name was Akira. A few weeks later, we are talking to one of our friends in Theatre Class and we find out she likes Anime and so we mention the movie to her and she’s all like “Oh yeah it makes perfect sense if you watch the series but if you don’t, then yeah you’ll be lost.”
This comic is EXACTLY like that. If you haven’t watched the series you will have NO friggen clue as to what’s going on.
So I watched the series and I can tell you this about the comic: It is very much like the series…until the last two episodes you have no friggen clue what’s going on! Honestly, I don’t like that feeling much. Anyway, after watching the whole series I have come to the conclusion that the book takes place somewhere between the events in episode 2 and episode 6. The reason I say this is because the bird Beatrice is with the kids and she is introduced in episode two and leaves in episode 6 not to be seen or heard from again until episode 9 and 10!I have further come to the conclusion that this most likely takes place right before episode 6 because they are going down a river and in episode 6 they sneak onto a ferry to continue down river.
Now in the comic, we see the kids going down river on a hand made raft. This doesn’t work out for them very well and the raft breaks up dumping them in the river where Greg loses his shoe and so when they get out of the water Wirt has to carry him so he doesn’t get hurt. They then run across some doll looking people who offer them a ride and they end up at the doll peoples town where a festival is happening. We find out that Wirt is trying to be a good brother by buying new shoes for Greg but we also find out what a losey brother he is because in his quest to get those shoes he takes on a job babysitting some creepy doll kids for the night and never tells his little brother or beatrice where he is going…he just off and leaves them and that’s where the comic ends.
Getting back to the show, we see this same type of behavior time and time again. Wirt tends to blame everything on Greg. Greg is a typical little kid just trying to have fun and has a great imagination and wants to help his big brother. Wirt doesn’t even find Greg to be that great and tends to blame him for everything when he’s not blaming himself or the world for everything…this guy is the angsty teenager times a thousand! We find out in episode 8 or 9 or something like that that one reason Wirt blames little Gregory for a lot of things is because Greg is just a step brother and Wirt is still kinda adjusting to a new family dynamic.
During this whole cartoon, you get a distinct Wizard of OZ feeling to it. From animals dressed in clothes and going to school to witches turning families into blue birds. You even have a dream sequence with characters reminiscent of the lollipop guild in Wizard of OZ and someone who very much resembles the good witch Glinda. Through the cartoon you also get a lot of call backs in visual style to the cartoons that have come before and by before I mean like Betty Boop and the ones before that. If it predates Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse, then that’s the style this thing seems to have shot for!
You never find out how this whole thing began until episode 9 where you see that the kids are from this time period…well maybe not this time period more like the 80’s or 90’s because Wirt was making a mix tape of poetry and clarinet playing for a possible girlfriend. Before I go on, let me just tell you at about episode 7 my wife made the comment “you know I’ll be really upset if this is all a dream or a coma thing like they say Adventure Time could be”. So in Episode 9, you find the backstory on how they got lost which is they climbed over the garden wall in a graveyard and found themselves on a train track. Wirt tackles Greg off the tracks right before a train can hit them and they tumble down a hill and into a river that due to the cold of the night is beginning to freeze over. Enter Episode 10….the last but not least of the episodes where you see Greg giving in and then Wirt comes to the rescue even though there’s this snow storm. They defeat the beast in a way and let the tree cutter know how to defeat the beast as well. Then BAM Wirt wakes up in the river and swims down to grab Greg and pulls him out of the freezing cold water to pass out next to him on the ground as search teams come down after them.
Wirt wakes in a hospital with Greg trying to tell a story while holding the frog that has been with them the whole time. BOOM you get your Wizard of OZ wake up moment! It was all a dream! Or was it? They fade away only after you see the Tree Cutter reuniting with his daughter, Auntie Whisper and the girl eating together and beatrice with her family all of whom are human again!
So now you’re kinda lost again. Was it real but happened in some astral plane while they were unconscious? Was it just a shared Hallucination between the boys or were we just Seeing Wirt work out his guilt while unconscious? All I know for sure is it had a very Wizard of OZ type feel to the whole thing, the whole thing would have made a lot more sense if they put episode 9 as episode 1. Even with the episode 9 and 10 a lot of stuff is left unanswered about whether this is even real or not and all I know is that if I ever watch this again I want to be high because the damn thing is so surreal in it’s looks and style that I think that is probably the best and only way you can truly fully begin to enjoy this the way it was meant to be!
All in all, I really didn’t like this. It was confusing. It was odd- just way too odd. The animation just was such a confusing blend of old styles and computer generated backgrounds that it just made me feel almost physically ill while watching it. The series did clear up the comic somewhat but makes me wonder why not just add this in the series and save us from having the comic in the first place? Why not say in the comic “based on X and takes place after episode X”. Now there was too much confusion, too much angst, and many more things that just made me really dislike the comic and cartoon and the ending just made me like it even less due to how often that cliche/trope is used!
Have you read the comic or seen the mini series? What are your thoughts about Over the Garden Wall? Sound off below and let us know what you think!