Being a fan of Eric Powell I ordered a copy of Chimichanga, not quite knowing what it was.
When Wrinkle’s Traveling Circus’s adorable little bearded girl trades a lock of her magic beard hair for a witch’s strange egg, she stumbles upon what could be the saving grace for her ailing freak show–the savory-named beast Chimichanga!
This is billed as a humour story for children eight and up. The story is very straightforward with that Powell sensibility: a bearded girl finds a monster and takes it back with her to the circus. She encounters a witch that later makes a deal with a pharmaceutical company; in the process she’s kidnapped and eventually is freed by her monster. It’s witty and a light enjoyable read. The story is well told not only through the snappy dialogue but the rich and entertaining expressions and images of the characters themselves.
The art is top-notch and is the main vehicle for the story. Characters are unique and easily identifiable. How can you not love Powell’s timeless style? Plus he does a great clown!
Originally published as a three issue black and white mini-series by Albatross Exploding Funny Books, Chimichanga was given the full colour treatment by Dave Stewart. He did a wonderful job, giving the pages a depression era feel with toned down colours.
Unfortunately this book doesn’t hit the mark as a children’s story or an adult tale. The villain is a pharmaceutical CEO in a suit who employs lawyers to do his bidding, more men in suits. Casting big business corporate America as the villain of a children’s story would leave them scratching their heads: with everyone else is visually unique and colourful, why do we have a normal looking guy in a suit? If that was casting for the adult audience then the rest of the story is too child focused.
There are a ton of extras, including a new eight page story and many character development studies with notes from Powell. It’s in that 6×9″ format that every publisher feels is perfect for children’s or all ages comics, yet still retailing for $15. Chimichanga holds appeal for all ages of comic readers but ultimately fails to define itself.
Originally published at Comic Book Daily.