What’s this book about? Well, there’s a guy who keeps dreaming he’s a faery… No, wait, actually, it’s about the Queen of Faerie who’s been kicked out of office… Or maybe it’s about a girl named Goat who’s a Faerie Princess in Training… And then there’s the crazy narrator who knows everything about what’s going on, but isn’t sharing…
Strait’s book isn’t the right choice if you’re looking for a linear storyline, but if you want a wacky, acid-trip of a read, then this is the book for you. The tales of each of the characters tumble on top of and over each other in a tangle of story, with little obvious break between them, but somehow Strait makes them all work and, by the end of the book, they’ve begun to weave together in a recognizable pattern. Humorous asides, references to comic and literary conventions, nods to Shakespeare and folklore—all of these help keep the story moving along. Wackiness can get annoying quickly, but Strait avoids that by making his characters sympathetic and distinct. Jimmy Tucker, the put-upon office worker who dreams he’s a faery, is appropriately spineless. Goat is perky and her friendship with a talking mushroom is sweet in its neediness. The regal Queen, the ineffective King Oberon, the usurpers Vogue and Cosmo—all are interesting and fleshed out enough for their roles in this strange tale to be clear, even when what is happening isn’t.
The art is another strong point. Strait is a former writer and artist for the comic Elfquest and that background occasionally shows, especially in the feminine beauty of all his characters, even the men. Little details hide on every page—the narrator’s Mad Hatter hat, the baby faery with ears like fish heads, a tank with faery wings. All these little bits go into creating a world, or several in this case, that is fantastic, yet realistic.
There are a few elements that libraries might want to be aware of. The characters, especially the faeries are often scantily clad, when they aren’t actually naked, but the nudity isn’t obvious or gratuitous. There’s some cussing and some violence, but mostly there’s just a whole bunch of nuttiness. An excellent choice for readers looking for humor comics.
We Shadows, vol. 1