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‘Chesire Crossing:’ Graphic Novel Review

“Wonderland.  But it’s very different from your “NeverLand.”

“How so?”
“Because Wonderland is real, while Neverland is the raving of a madwoman.”
“You’re not a very nice girl.
“You’re not a very sane one.
“How can you be so sure your Wonderland is real?”
‘It’s too terrible to not be.”

Dorothy Gale.
Alice Liddell.
Wendy Darling.

You know their names.  You know their stories.  But you don’t know how they all met.

1910, at Cheshire Crossing, the latest of a long line of institutions that the girls have been individually confined to since their “visits” to their fantastical lands.  But things are different at this boarding school.  

Firstly, they are the only three students.  Secondly, their doctor believes they can travel between worlds.  And Dr. Ernest Rutherford believes that with patience and guidance (and the watchful eye of a very familiar housekeeper!), the girls can learn to deal with there experiences and control their world-bending powers.

But for one of the girls, confinement is worse than her experiences, and in escaping, she forces the others to new and unfamiliar worlds.  What she doesn’t realize is when you introduce your friends to new worlds… you also introduce their enemies…

This utterly charming and vibrant story is the child of two vastly different creative sources.  If the name Andy Weir sounds familiar, it’s because, yes, he is THAT Andy Weir, author of The Martian and the recently released Artemis.  Weir notes that he’s loved crossovers and had carried they story a long time, loving the concept of taking these three well-known girls, and turning them into young women dealing with the emotional fallout of their journeys and the reactions of those around them.  It’s a rich, daring task, ripe with possible commentary on female hysteria and the subtext of encroaching adulthood.  The perfect fodder for a webcomic, except for one thing…

He just couldn’t draw it to save his life.  Art, he admits, is hard work.  Luckily, his publisher TenSpeed Press introduced him to an artist that could do justice to his burgeoning idea.  And trust me, you already know artist Sarah Andersen’s work (even if you don’t know her by name!) from her ongoing webcomic, Sarah’s Scribbles – her beautifully intimate and often hilarious series about the tales of her artistic struggle.  It’s one of the most Instagrammable strips going today and pops up on my Facebook feed almost daily!

But whereas her webcomic is a mostly monochromatic outing, her work on Cheshire Crossing is lush and bright, with bold, simple lines but vibrant colors that recall the works of Mayfield Parrish.  It’s a nice alternative to her regular work and should only bring more attention to this talented young creative.  Under her talented hand, each of the girls comes alive with their own eccentricities and foibles.

Cheshire Crossing abounds with strong, unapologetic women, and while not exactly for children (The Peter Pan subplot had me rolling.), they will welcome it for its great, action-packed storytelling, while adults will revel in nostalgic=a as they find out “what happened next.”

Though this is a four-chapter, standalone volume, it leaves the tale welcoming and wide open for more.  What happens next?  Can’t wait to see.

VERDICT:    FIVE Sarcastic Flying Monkeys out of FIVE

Creative Team: Andy Weir (writer), Sarah Andersen (artist)
Publisher:    TenSpeed Press
Click here to purchase.

Tony Caballero, Fanbase Press Contributor



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