When I saw a chance to review the first issue of an Uncle Grandpa book, I was fit to fly like Realistic Flying Tiger! If you’re a fan of this whacked out cartoon on the Network of Cartoons, then you’re in for the same kind of crazy, mixed with side-stepping reality you’ve come to enjoy. If not, grab some peanut butter and I’ll explain.
Uncle Grandpa is a show about a magical pseudo relative that every kid has that brings magic, fun, and irrepressible weirdness into otherwise dull life moments. Every kid gets an afternoon with Uncle Grandpa, and the most vivid imagination is just a starting point for every non-seque-venture. This book captures the world of the show perfectly, and the short stories are wonderful tastes of the craziness. Much like the show, the different artists allow UG to break with the conventions of the medium for a chance to turn every situation on its head, like a mental image free association. The sideways thinking is definitely on display, and you might have to back up a panel or two to catch where your brain was switched for you.
Most of the stories feature the weird goings-on between Uncle Grandpa and his friends in the RV, but a lovely interlude by Evgeni Yakovlev brings the heart and imagination that is the core of why I love this character to the forefront in a silent series of panels that allows you to fill in dialogue yourself and make you a part of the story. I love when artists of any medium trust in their creation that much to give up a little control of it, and I thoroughly enjoy Fear of Water for that reason.
So, you’ve never heard of this show and you’re still reading? Kudos! I think it has a great vibrancy for kids that jumpstarts the imagination and allows them to turn the world they know on its head while being rewarded for making connections, with fun and silliness that wrap all that brain work into a cozy package of awesome. It’s the epitome of Dr. Seuss’ admonition to look through the wrong end of the telescope. If you’re an adult, then you can be reminded of the dull afternoons that became magical once your imagination kicked in. This book perfectly encapsulates the tone and brilliance of the show, giving you more adventures with the wacky Uncle Grandpa, and it’s a great book to read to your kids. Who knows, maybe it’ll inspire them to be President of Awesome.
Huzzah to the love of the team that brought this character to the medium, and well done at knocking it out of the park.