Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I'm posting a graphic novel review every Tuesday in November. Check out the rest here.

Something I love about graphic novels is their ability to delve into dark topics in few words, connecting with some of the readers who most need to explore these themes. An undercurrent of loneliness runs throughout Kean Soo's Jellaby. Portia is a brilliant child who is an outcast at school and lives alone with her workaholic mother, not knowing what happened to her absent father. It is in this isolation that she stumbles upon a purple monster who is at times needy, sweet, and protective. Namely, everything she needs in her life.

Jellaby inspires Portia to be more courageous and she tentatively moves towards a friendship with Jason, another bullied and solitary child. They unite to take Jellaby into Toronto, in order to bring him to the Halloween Fair from which he came. Unfortunately for readers, that's about as far as the plot extends in this first volume. Although the characterization is important, as soon as the story gets moving, the book is over. Since Jellaby is such a quick read, I would recommend having the second volume handy because readers will want to continue the story immediately. Sadly, the third volume will not be published, and in fact, the first volume has gone out of print. While the prices for used copies on amazon.com are astonishing ($9,924?!), the book itself was easy to find at my local library. It's worth seeking out.

Jellaby is adorable, all rounded edges and big eyes. In another world, he'd be a beloved character, available in plush and animated form. Instead, fans will have to content themselves with poring over Soo's wonderful illustrations. His color palette of purple, black, and white adds to the solitary mood, with more orange occurring as Jason and Portia become better friends. I am interested to hunt down the second volume, to learn if the colors get brighter as their friendship grows, if the allusions in the character names hold significant meaning, and what awaits the trio in Toronto.

1 comment:

  1. Just clicked over from your Flight Explorer review! I haven't heard of any of this stuff before. Just checked on my library's site and they have Jellaby 1 and 2 and Flight Explorer. Woo! But I'm already a little annoyed because... why is Jellaby 3 not being published??? I'm going to google that now...


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