|Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book
Written by Richard Scrimger & Marthe Jocelyn
Illustrated by Claudia Davilla
Marthe and I spent a year trying to surprise each other as we wrote this. The basic idea is that a boy and a girl fall through a portal into a steam-punk adventure drawn by the girl’s wacky Uncle Viminy.
The comic features a suave thief hero, a balloon-adventurer love interest, an evil genius and some rogue robots. Claudia’s pages – the book is partly graphic -- are very cool indeed. Overall, it’s kind of like The Matrix only it’s funny. I mean, it makes me smile but I still don’t really understand it.
VOYA Magazine TOP SHELF Fiction for Middle School Readers 2014
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School Library Journal:
"... Every time the kids flip through the pages of the comic, however, they inadvertently begin to alter its story, leaving a wake of catastrophe in the imaginary and real world. The two must somehow outsmart villainous madman Aldous Lickpenny and escape a myriad of other dangers like crocodiles and deadly robots, while also saving Viminy’s beloved series from utter disaster once they find the porthole back to present-day Toronto. The numerous black-and-white comic panels help bring the story to life for traditional and graphic novel fans, also bridging the two settings and the story-within-a-story narrative structure. Comic geeks or not, many are likely to enjoy this humorous and action-packed adventure."
Society of Fantasy and Science Fiction: (4/5 STARS)
"Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book is a great book for young adults, but oddly enough, it’s not really a comic book. However, it will certainly appeal to those who love comics because the story is about two children who get pulled into a steampunk comic book. Young Wylder Wallace meets a girl his own age, Addy, at the Toronto International Comic Book Festival, and they immediately dislike each other, which creates a nice tension between the two main characters of the story. Wylder, a big fan of a comic book by Viminy Crowe, soon finds out that Addy is this great artist’s niece. The rest of the book tells the story of their being forced to work together and eventually becoming friends.
The main plot takes place IN the comic book: Through a series of misadventures, the two kids end up in the uncle’s comic book, and since they are trying not to die at the hands of the villains, they start destroying the original plot. Back at the convention, the struggling artist Uncle Viminy is about to meet with businessmen who will decide the fate of his book, and the actions of the children will make it look as if Viminy can’t write a good story. This extra concern means the children not only have to survive the imaginary world Viminy created, but also must fix the plot itself so Viminy can keep his contract.
The story is fun, and Addy and Wylder have some meta-narrative awareness since they both know the characters and what’s supposed to happen in the comic. They also are aware that the characters in the book think they are real. It’s very funny, and at times, just plain silly, but in a good way: One of the best narrative gags is a result of Viminy’s main girl in the story, Nelly Day, being based on his niece, Addy. Once Addy enters the comic book, the characters confuse Nelly and Addy, and at times, so does Wylder. It’s written in a parody of a pulp-like steampunk adventure, so we meet the dashing hero, Flynn Goster; the adventuress, Aunt Isadora Fortuna; and the dastardly Professor Lickpenny. Various steampunk devices and robots are dropped in for extra flavoring.
Basically, this book is a great chapter book about two kids on an adventure, but what makes it more than just a typical well-written adventure tale is that it combines the Chapter Book with the Comic Book. The story is mainly a chapter book, but since it takes place mostly in a comic book, there are more illustrations than is usual for a YA novel, and those illustrations, of course, are of the comic book world that young Wylder and Addy have entered. Marthe Jocelyn and Richard Scrimger write a fun story, but Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book depends greatly upon the artwork of Claudia Davila. The overall result is a very original work of art that will appeal to both boys and girls, since both Wylder and Addy are strong characters, and their interactions are the main interest of the story. I certainly enjoyed reading Viminy Crowe’s Comic Book and recommend it highly."
Reading Today Online
"Fast-moving thrills with comedic humor mark this adventure with a ComicCon twist. Blending narrative with comics this tale offers a humorous story for readers who like adventure with a laugh."
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Kirkus, starred review
"A harmonious blend of narrative and intertwined graphic sequences finds two preteens at a comics convention closer to the action than they ever imagined.
Wild-haired Addy Crowe, accompanied by her best friend, Catnip the rat, is helping her uncle, Viminy Crowe, at his booth at the International Comic Book Festival in Toronto. Viminy is the creator of Flynn Goster, the favorite comic of Wylder Wallace, a young attendee at the convention whose mother worries over him endlessly. A magical trip to a convention-hall bathroom sends the two young heroes (and Catnip) through a portal and into the pages of Viminy’s comic. As in real life, their presence in his comic begins to change the course of events. Can the kids change it back before Viminy’s publisher sees it—or before they get killed? The books creators clearly had a grand time, filling it with fantastic steampunk creations such as mechanizmos, robot goons with human skin who transform into vulturelike robot birds, and VaporLinks, a robot-assisted form of telegram, and cleverly named characters like the villainous Aldous Lickpenny. This wholly imagined fantasy is well–fleshed out and keeps the pages flying with its extremely clever story within a story. As it embraces so many different genres and formats—comics, steampunk, adventure—expect this to resonate with a wide readership.
A thrilling and imaginative reminder that adventure and magic can be found anywhere, especially where one least expects it—and even if your mother texts you incessantly."
5 of 5 stars - Fantastic, utterly fantastic!
"While there are some other children's books in which the characters enter books or the plots of books, I've never before seen one in which the characters enter a comic book. Viminy Crowe's Comic Book feels exciting and new. The bulk of the book reads like a traditional novel, but it's interspersed with comic book pages depicting and continuing the action of the text. (The concept is similar to that of the Travels of Thelonious series by Susan Schade and Jon Buller, but the execution is different.)
The story was fun on its own, but I absolutely loved the comic art by Claudia Davila. She did a great job at depicting the characters and scenarios as described by Marthe Jocelyn & Richard Scrimger; everything looked exactly as I imagined.
It would be difficult to do a sequel to this book -- it would probably feel redundant instead of inventive -- but I would love to be in this world again. Perhaps Jocelyn, Scrimger, & Davila could create the Flynn Goster comics for real. I know I would read them!
I would especially recommend this book for kids who prefer comic books to novels -- what a great transition to the world of novels! -- as well as for anyone who enjoys adventure or dreams of being in the stories they read."