Friday, November 19, 2021

Guy Friday- Batpig

Harrell, Rob. Batpig: When Pigs Fly (Batpig #1)
November 9th 2021 by Dial Books
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Gary is an ordinary pig, who hangs out with his friends Carl (who is a fish) and Brooklyn (who is a bat). They hang out in their city neighborhood, eat sandwiches, play video games, and read Crimson Swine comics. When he is accidentally bitten (I thought by Brooklyn, but the sysnopsis says by a radioactive bat, and I don't remember Brooklyn being radioactive.), he develops super powers. He and Brooklyn work on honing these together, and don't tell Carl because he doesn't keep secrets well. This leads to sadness and anger on Carl's part that the other two acknowledge but don't quite know how to handle. Still, they work on costumes, catch phrases, and ring tones suitable for a super hero, and Batpig starts to save the day on small occasions. Carl's Lizard has a junk food combo dripped on him that turns him into the villain on the cover, and as Batpig makes the news, it's harder and harder to hide things from Carl. When they finally let their friend in on the secret, he does a decent job of keeping it. Batpig also battle The Butcher, whose real identity is clear to the reader but not to Batpig, and narrowly manages to save his friends and the city from destruction. 
Strengths: This is based on a character from Ross' comics in Wink, and hits the middle school sweet spot for goofy while cleverly working in issues of personal identity. The city setting is interesting, and Gary's parents are both alive! I also enjoyed how characters from Gary's regular life are the ones who become the villains he must fight. The illustration style is fresh, and I enjoyed the muted orange and purple-toned color palette, which was a nice change for a super hero story and gives it an air of gravitas. (I would have expected bright primary colors.) A great follow up to Wink
Weaknessses: Not sure if this is good or bad; It took me about half the book to realize that Brooklyn was female, because the convention of longer eyelashes on cartoon girls was not observed. The character's gender doesn't matter, but I'm old and was briefly confused. Also, still have questions about why his little cousin Mervyn wears a shirt and pants, but Gary only wears pants.
What I really think: I have limited space for graphic novels, so only buy a small percentage of the ones that are published, but will purchase this for the good balance of super heroes with friendship issues as well as the larger font and fun illustrations. Plus, you know, BATPIG. 

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