Friday, October 25, 2013

Halloween Countdown Day 10 - Death Jr

Greetings ghouls, this particular Halloween post concerns a comic book that I just don't hear enough about these days, a series by Gary Whitta and illustrated by Ted Naifeh called Death Jr. It is rare that a comic for children can mesh so well with adults too. In fact, this is the very thing that made Pixar so popular in the past, getting in that niche of honesty that appeals to adults and their parents. Without hesitation, I can say that this series is every bit as good as any Pixar movie.

Hysterically funny with sharp observations concerning suburban life comes this tale about DJ (or Death Junior.) making his way through the world as he tries to win his dad's approval and survive middle school. But DJ isn't the kind of kid to let things get him down, even if houseplants and cats have a tendency to die in his wake. Needless to say, bad stuff ensues as DJ finds himself and his buddies opening a mysterious box at a museum exhibit with unusual consequences as DJ and his friends have to save the day.

Gary Whitta handles this story masterfully. As it was produced for the Death Jr video game, this could have been a tossaway rag, but he carefully constructs a modern fable enjoyable to adults and children alike. Ted Niafeh's art compliments Whitta's pose in a manner that reminds me a bit of the visual stylings of early Tim Burton films like Edward Scissorhands particularly in the way it handles real life lessons about difficult subjects while retaining a sense of kooky fun and optimism.

It's the most fun you'll have reliving your middle school years, so why not give it a try? As always, until next time.

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