Tuesday, April 3, 2007

A Bit Haywire

A Bit Haywire by Courtney Huddleston and Scott Zirkel (Viper)

This is the best superhero comic you’ve never heard of. I don’t know if it’s the clunky title or what, but even though I spend entirely too much time looking for all-ages books, it took me a while to stumble across this one. The concept is brilliant – young Owen begins to get his superpowers but they are, well, a little bit haywire. He has superspeed, but only when he holds his breath, he can fly, but only with his eyes closed, and just wait until you see what happens when he sneezes! My favorite is what happens when someone takes his picture, but I won’t spoil it – half the fun of this book is watching Owen discover new powers, each zanier than the one before.

A Bit Haywire is high quality on every level. Zirkel’s writing is spot-on. The story is crystal clear and none of us had any trouble telling what was going on at any point. (I know that seems like a given, but you’d be surprised how many comics we’ve tried to read where the kids had no idea what was happening.) I loved how it brought back the feelings I had as a kid playing superhero – there’s nothing better than putting on a mask and a pair of oven mitts, tying your mom’s bath towel around your neck, and flying off to fight evil. Huddleston’s art is perfectly cartoony, action-packed, and expressive and Mike Garcia’s fully-saturated colors are simply awesome. This is everything all-ages comics should be –colorful, funny, and highly entertaining. There’s nothing inappropriate for kids in this book because it just isn’t needed – the story will entertain everyone, regardless of age or affinity (or lack thereof) for superheroes.

Shelby says: I like A Little Bit Haywire because it is very funny. It’s about a kid who figures out he has superpowers when he’s chased by a dog, falls off of his treehouse, and accidentally lays on ice cubes. His superpowers are special because he can only run really fast when he holds his breath and he has to do other certain things to do other certain superpowers, but I can’t tell you because they’re surprises. The idea of using superpowers by doing a certain thing is a very good idea because it’s new and original. The drawings are cool because the people are just simple lines, but the shading is what makes it look sort of 3-D. Also I like a series of panels when he is in his new costume and everybody is asking him questions. I like it because of the colors are really interesting because I would never have thought of using those colors. It turns out that his parents also have super powers but they have to take a certain type of serum to get them. I think that this book is for kids 7 to adult.

Sarah says: I like A Bit Haywire because of the characters. My favorite character is the little boy named Owen because he likes Hotfoot (she’s a girl) even though she’s older than him. My favorite part is when Owen and his dad race across the canyon. I liked it because I like the idea that a little kid could beat a superhero dad. Another favorite part of mine is when Owen dresses up in a “HERS” bath towel as a cape and tries to stop three boys in super robot suits from trashing a mall. I also liked it when he accidentally teleported into the girls bathroom! I think that it is for all ages, like our column says, and I even think my dad and grandpa would like it.

I just don’t understand why A Bit Haywire hasn’t gotten the buzz it deserves. It’s great all-ages entertainment and belongs on every reader’s shelf, in every library, and in every classroom. A Bit Haywire is going straight into my personal top ten all-ages comic list. Yes, it’s that good.


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