‘Over the Garden Wall’ #2 Comic Review
created by Pat McHale, written by Jim Campbell and Amalia Levari, illustrated by Jim Campbell, Danielle Burgos, and Cara McGee
Going in to the Over the Garden Wall comic series, I was expecting a story with a peculiar sort of tone that toes the line between whimsical and ominous and harkens back to old, unfiltered fairy and folk tales, like how the show was. Needless to say, that’s not what I found. The comic lacks the air of uncertain curiosity that show had, instead opting for a more straightforward approach to storytelling. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it, though.
Like the first issue, Over the Garden Wall #2 is divided into two parts. Part one continues Greg’s playful jaunt back into The Unknown. Greg is still chasing after the elusive Sheriff Jason Funderberker with his less-than-trusty sidekick Robber Raccoon, and they engage in some pretty typical Greg good Samaritanism. The second part brings us back to Anna, who is still waiting patiently for her father to return home safely, all the while journaling about the daily routine she’s devised to keep her occupied.
I found the dichotomy between the two stories interesting. The first story featuring Greg and Sheriff Funderberker appears to be written for a younger audience. It’s playful but simple, and save for one point (that I noticed anyway), there really weren’t any deeper subplots woven in to the storytelling. It was a pretty straightforward story where the readers simply get to see Greg’s continued boyish adventures after he and Wirt have safely returned from their decidedly more dangerous odyssey in The Unknown. In contrast, the story with Anna appears to be geared toward the same kind of audience the TV show had. It’s slower-paced than Greg’s story and hints at a larger, more complex backstory yet to be revealed.
The artwork in the Over the Garden Wall comic is very similar to its original source. The most obvious difference is that the lines are much thicker. The shading relies on both line and color, and the backgrounds are more similar to the characters and foreground as opposed to the picturesque, painted backdrops in the animated version. Overall, though, the slight differences in style work nicely in the comic medium.
Between the two stories, I really enjoyed the one featuring Anna more. I like how it builds on the pre-existing storyline from the animated show and adds to the complexity of the Woodsman’s character by showing just what his beloved Anna was up to the whole time he thought she was trapped in the Beast’s lantern. The story with Greg was cute but ultimately just fluff, and I’d have preferred seeing more of Anna’s story (or better yet, Beatrice’s story!) instead. There are so many questions left unanswered: did Anna and her family always live in The Unknown? If not, how did they get there? How did Anna become separated from her parents, and, in a slightly unrelated line of questioning, what is the secret mission Sheriff Funderberker is leading Greg on? I look forward to (maybe) finding out in the next issue!
So in conclusion, if you enjoyed the animated Over the Garden Wall series, you’ll probably enjoy the comic. (Though how much you’ll enjoy it depends on what your favorite elements from the show were, I suppose). If you haven’t seen the series before, you could probably still get through the comic without too much confusion, but I doubt you’d get as much out of the comic as someone who had seen the show.