Over the Garden Wall 2017 Special #1

Created By: Pat McHale
Jonathan Case, Gris Grimly, Samantha Glow Knapp
Artists: Hannah Christenson, Gris Grimly, Cole Closser
Colorists: Juan Useche
Lettering & Design: Jim Campbell, Marie Krupina
Cover By: Miguel Mercado
Publisher: KaBOOM!

A review by Samantha Pearson

Over the Garden Wall 2017 Special #1 is a delightful collection of three Over the Garden Wall stories. In the same vein as the original mini series, each one is vaguely philosophical and very creepy. 

In the first, “Mineral Springs”, written by Jonathan Case and illustrated by Hannah Christenson, Wirt and Gregory fall from a hot air balloon and end up in a colony of snow monkeys. The snow monkeys are as far from home as Wirt and Gregory, but that’s about all they have in common. With the help of Beatrice, the boys escape imminent danger on a snow sled that takes them right back to the forest where they’ve been wandering for years now.

Christenson’s art in the first Over the Garden Wall 2017 Special is the nearest to the art from the show. Juan Useche’s colors are vibrant and Jim Campbell’s letters are emphatic without being distracting. “Mineral Springs” is a great introduction to this volume.

The second story is “Odin’s Bargain”, which is significantly creepier. Gris Grimly’s art and script work together to make this story almost Burton-esque in its telling. It follows a familiar format: the exchange of promised fame for an unknown price, which later turns out to be the soul of someone Wirt loves. Needless to say, the stakes feel higher in this story than in either of the other two… Gregory’s life is simply too precious.

Finally, the third story, “Fiddlesprung and the Deadly Cold”, seems more ominous than it is. Written by Samantha Glow Knapp and illustrated by Cole Closser, this story follows Wirt and Gregory into a strange town where a mysterious beast keeps the townsfolk at bay whenever it comes sniffing. An even more mysterious fruit keeps the townspeople strong and spry, even well into their senior years. But all is not as it seems, and it takes Gregory’s quick thinking to make everything right. The art in this one is also vastly different from the other two stories. The realism (especially in the faces, at first) is almost disturbing.

Of the three, “Fiddlesprung” was my favorite, though I revisited “Odin’s Bargain” a few times to make sure I caught all of the details. There are many unexpected experiences in Over the Garden Wall Special #1, and each one left me feeling differently than the last. All of the media that’s come out for this series has been so good, and this is no exception.

Buy it! Over the Garden Wall 2017 Special #1 
is fantastic for fans of the series, as well as new readers who may not be familiar with its format or concepts. The different art and scripts are appealing for many kinds of readers, and overall the book is a quick read with a ton of gorgeous art. A must-have.

Samantha Puc
Samantha Puc is a freelance writer, editor, and social media manager residing in southern New England with her partner and three cats. She likes Shakespeare, space babes, bikes, and dismantling the patriarchy. She also loves vegan food. Her work has appeared on Rogues Portal, SheKnows, Femsplain, The Tempest, and elsewhere. For more, follow her on Twitter!

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