Author and Artist: Jill Thompson
192 Pages–Ages 10 and up!
Published by: Dark Horse Books on October 26, 2010
Summary (from amazon.com):
It’s Halloween night, and it’s up to Scary Godmother to show one little girl just how much fun spooky can be! Meet Hannah Marie, who, with the help of Scary Godmother, stands up to her mean-spirited cousin Jimmy and her fear of monsters on her first Halloween adventure with the big kids. Later, Hannah joins forces with Orson, the vampire boy, to unravel a mystery near and dear to their hearts. Some of Scary Godmother’s closest (and most frightful) pals get in on the fun too, including Bug-A-Boo, the Boozle, and Skully Pettibone.
Four of Thompson’s Eisner Award-winning, fully painted children’s books are collected here, in their entirety, for the first time (Scary Godmother, The Revenge of Jimmy, The Mystery Date, and The Boo Flu). This deluxe edition also features some of the earliest concept designs for this haunting and imaginative series.
Since the beginning of October Halloween has been on everyone’s minds (at least in terms of retailers). Actually, I started seeing Halloween stuff all over the stores in mid-September. Actually, around the time I started seeing Halloween merchandise, they were also putting up stuff for Christmas. I don’t know about you, but in the middle of September I’m just not feeling the Christmas spirit. Of course, I know about all the research that goes into making these displays and it actually is profitable for stores when they put out merchandise early, but for me it just sort of sucks the spirit out of me. Regardless, since it’s October and Halloween is just around the corner I thought I would review one of my favorite Halloween themed books: Scary Godmother.
I was first introduced to the colorful world of Scary Godmother when I was watching Halloween specials on Cartoon Network many years ago (when I could still handle Cartoon Network…more on that later). Hannah was just so cute, I loved Orson the vampire prince, and Scary Godmother was a hoot! A few years after seeing the two specials, I learned that they were actually originally based on some comics made by Jill Thompson and when I saw the hardcover original collection on amazon.com for a bargain price I decided to splurge and get it. Along with the original stories I bought the comic stories edition. These were the first comic books that I bought and it is really what got me started into collecting comics.
However, all of that aside, Scary Godmother is definitely worth reading. The illustrations are gorgeous, the stories are just adorable, and the characters are lovable. The only thing that Scary Godmother does wrong is that it doesn’t go on forever. In this omnibus edition there are actually four stories collected together with two short stories in the end. The style of the stories is a combination of a picture book and a comic. There are bits of narrative around the pictures, but there are also speech bubbles inside the pictures. The narrative is what tells the story while the speech bubbles give a little more characterization to the characters. The illustrations are easily the best part of this collection. They are so colorful and spooky with so much detail. Looking at the illustrations is an absolute delight and I feel like both young and old will enjoy them.
The stories are very straightforward, but they are cute nonetheless. In the first story, simply titled, Scary Godmother Hannah is going trick-or-treating with her older cousin, Jimmy, and his friends, Katie, Daryl, and Bert. Jimmy, Katie, Daryl, and Bert all think Hannah is slowing them down so they devise a plan to scare Hannah into wanting to go home by taking her to the Spook House where Hannah then proceeds to meet her Scary Godmother. The Revenge of Jimmy is about Jimmy trying to ruin Halloween for everyone because he was traumatized by the monsters he saw the previous year. In The Mystery Date, Scary Godmother gets a secret admirer and she tries to figure out who it is. And finally, in The Boo Flu Scary Godmother gets sick so Hannah tries to fulfill Scary Godmother’s Halloween duties and gets overwhelmed. In addition to the four main stories, there is the short story Tea for Orson and the promo comic for Wild about Harry. In Tea for Orson, Orson and Harry scheme to get in on the tea party Scary Godmother is throwing for her lady friends, while in Wild about Harry the werewolf becomes an unwanted guest in the vampire’s home.
Not only are the illustrations spectacular but the characters were also a load of fun. There are all the classic monsters: the skeleton in your closet, the monster under your bed, a black cat ghost, bats, vampires, and, of course, a witch! Naturally, Hannah makes friends out of all of them as they turn out to be a bunch of soft hearted guys who love spooky stuff.
All in all, Scary Godmother has become synonymous with Halloween. Scary Godmother has become an instant classic in my household and I read/watch her every year on Halloween. I would highly, highly, highly recommend giving these books a try, I can’t imagine why anyone would be disappointed with these stories!