Comics Review: Secrets of Camp Whatever, by Chris Grine

Secrets of Camp Whatever is a fantasy, spooky summer camp comic book aimed at middle schoolers. It’s cute fun, very magical and just a hint scary enough to keep pre-teens tense but not terrified.

I really liked the fact the main character was deaf, this is not . Willow has purple hair, a defensive attitude, but also lots of enthusiasm and hearing aids. She’s got that reckless personality that drives parents crazy and that kids love. She is always the first to action, the first to make her own theories and the first to talk back which leads her both to bad conclusions and bad run-ins but also very interesting discoveries, easy friendships and lots of adventure. Some might be a little put off by some of the aggression of Willow (in two occasions she’s much too swift and attacks 2 boys), but I feel that it makes sense with her characters and her outbursts are proven to be wrong, which kids will no doubt pick up on. In any case all the characters have their own personality and we can feel there is more revelations about them to be peppered in the following volumes.

The drawing style is perfect for that age group, vivid colours, clear outlines and characters with very defined traits, there is no mistaking anyone with another person. Overall the pictures are very cute, even the ones of more scary creatures. There is a couple of villagers on the first few pages that I had reserves about, but the rest of the story is almost perfect. The bad guy is immediately identifiable as such and his front teeth are ridiculous, but the convention didn’t bother me too much.

There is a number of conventions that adults know and are a little tired off in there, but that’s really not a problem for young readers. There is also a little toilet humour which I’m not too much of a fan of, but it is to be expected. The universe is promising, the book of creatures given to the hero is a classic tool of exploration and invitation to study, and actually some of the magical creatures encountered are not so common, and that I liked.

I recommend this book to the pre-teen crowd, particularly the one fond of magic. With its large cast of female characters I think it will be more catered to girls. If they like the Disney Witch series I am sure they will love this one too. The Secrets of Camp Whatever is less girly and more action driven but the characters are really lovable.

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