Pumpkinheads is a cute comic where two friends spend their last day of work exploring the pumpkin patch they are about to leave, maybe for good? I saw this comic on the autumn Goodread list and was immediately drawn by the cover. When I further read the review and it was described as “character driven”, “adorable” and “totally seasonal”, I knew I wanted to give it a try. I love seasonal reads, even when pumpkin patches don’t actually mean anything to me as an Australian currently entering spring!
In this story, Deja, an outgoing bi girl with a go-getter attitude, convinces her seasonal best friend, Josiah, a shy, romantic and deterministic boy, to declare his flame to the girl he’s been secretly in love with for the whole last three years. After all, this might be the last opportunity: he never talked to her, doesn’t know her name, and they are all going off to university and might never see each other again. This mission is a wonderful excuse to try all the treats and attractions of the park. And those were quite a fun and exotic bunch of things for someone who never went to a pumpkin patch. It was blown over the top, making it look almost like a little Disney land, but much closer to nature and with a definite autumn foods focus. And as I read I could almost smell caramel popcorn, smoke and the leafy scent of humid autumn nights.
The drawings were vibrant and dynamic. I loved how the characters popped out of the pages thanks to their overalls. The contrast between their blue clothes and the autumn colours of everything surrounding them (orange, ochre, browns…) made them at all moments the centre of our attention. They are the star of this show and they are pinpointed as such, not that Deja’s personality could make us forget her. The colours are soothing that way, but not boring, they are balanced and enjoyed them. The lines are very smooth and reminded me of Craig Thompson’s work, of which I am a huge fan. All in all it was a beautiful accent to the story, with lots of actions in the illustration not commented on which made for a richer universe to immerse yourself in.
The story was adorable and everything you want in a light feel-good read. I can’t say there was any surprise in it, but that wasn’t the point. Sometimes you just want a blanket to cuddle in, and when you pick it up you know what you’re getting, and that’s just perfect. I do feel that you get much more of a nostalgia sensation reading that comic if you are familiar with American culture and have visited Halloween pumpkin patches when you were small. Or even just if you grew in the countryside. It made me wish I had known that as a child, so I could long for autumn the way some do. I learnt to appreciate autumn in Japan, looking at the colourful ruby momiji leaves, and then the flamboyant golden ginkgo trees, eating mushrooms and grilled seasonal fish… but that’s a very different experience too.
All in all I really enjoyed that graphic novel and I would recommend it for people who like celebrating the fall with a hot chocolate and ice cream sandwiches, everyone who liked the novel “I capture the castle”, and the comic book series of the “Four sisters” by Malika Ferdjoukh, and Cati Baur.
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