Writers: Roger Langridge, Ryan Ferrier
Artist: Roger Langridge
Publisher: Dark Horse
Review by Anelise Farris
Criminy is an all-ages graphic novel (suggested for readers 10 and up) about a family on the run. When pirates invade the island, Daggum Criminy and his family become refugees—desperately in search of a new home. Each new place presents its own (sometimes humorous; sometimes frightening) challenges, and the Criminys wonder if they will ever find peace again.
The writing in Criminy is full of energy, and you can almost hear the narrator in your head. Beginning with a scripted “Once Upon A Time-like” speech balloon reading, “Behold the Isle of Burnswick, where our tale will now unfold,” I knew I was in for a familiar, fun ride. This type of third-person narration continues throughout the story, included often enough to ground the story, but not so much as to overwhelm the dialogue. The conversations among the Criminy family are equal parts humorous and heartfelt, and this really helped me to become invested in their plight.
The art works beautifully with the story to illustrate their perilous situation. I eagerly moved from panel to panel as they ran, swam, flew, etc etc, going from place to place. You feel the precariousness of their situation, but not in a way that is too scary for children. I was particularly moved by the scenes in which you see the parents trying to comfort their children, shielding their eyes and murmuring that it’s just a game. Fortunately, this darker premise is kept in the light, all-ages genre, by the use of an animated-cartoon style. The cover immediately reminded me of the Animaniacs and that whole 90s cartoon era, and I kinda dig that. A lot.
Final note, although I read this in one sitting, it is wisely broken up into chapters: a smart move for a book marketed at kids, as it makes it less overwhelming.
Verdict: Buy it.
Criminy is an adventurous, high-energy graphic novel that is a guaranteed fun read for all ages. Plus, its focus on the importance of family makes it a great book to read together.
Criminy GN is out September 19, and it is still available for pre-order through Dark Horse.