Back in the 1970s, Richard Hargreaves wrote a series of books called Mr. Men, each about a different funnily shaped character named for his personality: Mr. Happy, Mr. Sleepy, etc. Each small book centered on one of the men and was a story about how he either overcame his essential personality trait or turned it into an asset. The series was so popular that it expanded to include female characters, the Little Miss books, and was eventually turned into a TV show. These graphic novels are based on the TV series and written by the same man who worked on the TV show. They are formatted as classic comics in the sense that they are a series of short adventures with interludes — Mr. Strong has a song and Miss Daredevil has a joke section.
Mr. Strong: Good Thing I Came Along is a series of stories illustrating how strong and indestructible he is. Mr. Strong cleans a town by stomping in a river causing it to overflow and wash away the trash. He rescues a train about to go over a broken bridge by using the top of his head to replace the missing train tracks (“That tickles,” he says, as the train passes over him). He saves a car race from failure by pushing the cars around the track at super speed.
Miss Daredevil’s story — Little Miss Daredevil: The Incredible Race — is told in a series of challenges while she competes in the Incredible Race. She loves her gadgets, so she gets to use her rocket boots to race to the top of a building, her special gyroglider in a hang gliding race (the gyroglider turns invisible), and here awesome roller-blades to skate up the side of a pyramid-shaped building. Of course, she wins the race.
Beach does a good job of translating Hargrave’s original drawings to the comic format. The art is very like a TV show. He uses strong lines, clear colors, and a straightforward layout to make a graphic novel easy for kids to read. Hardman has done a good job updating this series for a new generation of children. Fans of the original books will not be disappointed.
Mr. Men/Little Miss graphic novels 1-2
Mr. Strong: Good Thing I Came Along
Little Miss Daredevil: The Incredible Race
by John Hardman and Bryan Beach
Viz Media, 2012