In Book One we are introduced to the main character Will Bicksford, who is subsequently kicked out of his rich, preppy magic school for cheating and forced to go to the local public school. Apparently, his father has been bailing him out for years and has finally decided he is done covering for him; Will is going to have to fend for himself. At his school, Will is King, and he is the bully, but at Misfortune High . . . Will quickly finds out he is the outcast.
Jules Rivera has truly created a gem of a comic series with Misfortune High. It is something readers will quickly become enamored and engrossed with. Each action block flows so smoothly together that it truly is as if you are sitting down for Saturday morning cartoons or curled up with your favorite book. This is the way the best comic books are: a true marriage of art and written word, where stories come to life on a page, and you just sit back and joyfully watch, mesmerized. I can see little “Harry Potterites” - who are in mourning and looking for their next fix - latch on to this series, because of the magic school component. What is most compelling about the story to me, however, is the fun the author clearly has developing each character’s identity and voice and making Will (a.k.a. “Biscuit”) earn his hero status. Normally, I must like the main character to enjoy any story, but Rivera makes it really fun to not like Biscuit; not only to not like him but to enjoy not liking him and watching him fail, watching the process that “fingers crossed” is, hopefully, going to make him grow as a person, because it is actually quite hysterical. Rivera is a master at integrating comedy, at times bringing back bit characters to help lighten a moment.
Not only is Jules Rivera the creative mastermind behind the characters and story of Misfortune High, but she is also the artist that brings the characters and their words to life on the page (guest artwork by Christina Faulkner). She does an excellent job of matching the style of her writing to her artwork. The characters posses the same light quirkiness that is reflected in their speech. So often the dialogue is the same throughout the comic. Not so for Rivera. Instead, she chose to make the dialogue art, having it match the mood of the character’s emotion. If they are angry, the words might be red and large. She experiments with a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes to express different moods, spells, and levels of safety.
Having Jules Rivera so intricately involved in every aspect of the comic book truly pays off, and the product is a thoroughly integrated, richly layered, ever-so-fun comic book for all ages. All of this adds flavor and dimension, which endears the world to you and makes you never want to leave. I, for one, would like to punch a little raven, but part of me feels he is just young, naive, and misunderstood. Oh, Jules . . . why?! Why?! Cliffhangers are evil!! Luckily, Book 3 is on its way, according to the website. (Yes, that is the first thing I checked upon completion.) Because of the characters and the style in which it is written, Misfortune High is one of those rare comics that could go on forever and always feel fresh.
Misfortune High Book 2 currently has a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds necessary for printing costs. To learn more, please click here.