In 1960, the creator of The Smurfs, Peyo, wrote the first Benny Breakiron story. Benny also was known as Steven Strong or Tammy Tuff in other English translations. This recent republication translates the story from its original French. Benny looks like the average blond little boy, but he has some extraordinary talents like super strength, super speed, and super jumping. However, none of his friends ever seems to notice since they are distracted when Benny performs his amazing feats. So, when the new taxi company starts acting fishy, no one knows that Benny is the one who will put everything right.
With a large dose of silliness that exudes a similar sense of humor to the French comics Asterix and Peyo’s own Smurfs, Benny entertains with slapstick and illustrations of the general cluelessness of adults. However, the original “Frenchness” and 1960’s vibe combine to include elements that one would not see in American comics of today: a lot of smoking, old-fashioned telephones, and classic cars. Still, with super Benny and a lot of action, the story aims to please the kid crowd.
The art is reminiscent of The Smurfs (the classic version, not the recent CGI guys) with a great deal of color, though no blue skin. There are a lot of details in each panel with interesting backgrounds and expressive faces, though it feels somewhat old fashioned. It may also be a little too busy for some of the younger readers who may be easily distracted. Most of the humor comes through the strong visual presence of the story, so the drawings add a lot.
Silly and action packed, Benny Breakiron has a lot to offer, though its old fashioned nature brings up a few issues like rampant smoking. An interesting story with a cute main character, the book shows off a classic cartoonist’s work that will provide quite a few giggles.
Benny Breakiron, vol. 1: The Red Taxis
Art by Will Mailtaite
Publisher Age Rating: All ages