Story by, Skottie Young
Art by, Aaron Conley
Colors by, Jean-Francois Beaulieu
Letters by, Nate Piekos of Blamber
In this issue, the writer introduces us to Ernie, Edith, and Spencer as they walk toward Rottenville High School on the first day of their freshman year. They are met by Rufus Ruffhouse who bullies them just like he did throughout their junior high years. The encounter appears to set the stage for the protagonists; however, when they arrive at the high school Rufus meets a character, “Hock”, who bullies him. In fact, Rufus is bullied throughout the day giving meaning to the phrase “sharks become minnows,” which was included in some of the promotional literature for this story.
What stands out in this story is the art, which is fun, colorful, and depicts characters with an exaggerated-realism. For example, in some cases, characters have skinny arms, large heads, and humorous facial expressions. And in other case character are larger than life, towering over their peers. The artist, Aaron Conley, has produced other wonderful books like Sabertooth Swordsman, Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream, and God Hates Astronauts. Conley excels once again bringing life to this world with its playful approach, which depicts Hock as the most enormous high school student you’ve ever seen and his minions with a visual appearance that matches their nicknames like “pug”, etc.
The entertainment value in the story is created by the reversal of fortunes experienced by the bully turned victim as he is not only stuffed in a locker by Hock but also suffers teasing and persecution throughout the day. The dynamic between Hock and Rufus is uniquely crafted because Rufus maintains his confidence and his belief in his approach even after a day of being bullied. Another interesting curve comes at the end when he meets a potential ally in the most unlikely way. I highly recommend this book as a fun and playful all-ages book that even adults will enjoy. Overall = 9