Written by Guillaume Bianco
Illustrated by Antonello Dalena
Colours by Cecilia Giumento with Florent Bonnin
Original design by Jean-Luc Deglin
Translation by Joe Johnson
Letters by Janice Chiang
Associate Editing by Michael Petranek
Editing in chieferizing by Jim Salicrup
Published by Papercutz
the three cents.
In this adorable and mildly heart-wrenching graphic novella, six and a half year young Rebecca continues her summer vacation with an eventful visit to her dad’s new home by the sea. The change of environment proves a fun escape for the girl, as the shock of her parents undergoing divorce still settles in, but while her best microbe pal Ernest is growing upset by her independence and her big sister Coralie is suffering preteen melodrama of her own, the rambunctious and colorful heroine is still able to stumble into wacky adventures and profound life lessons regardless. This comic book is genuinely enchanting AND it teaches some great fishing tips, among many other things.
Bianco’s writing is so gloriously casual and heart-felt, capturing the imaginative narrative of a child in ways that older readers can identify with and enjoy, and all while not writing down to anybody. His humor is very sweet, and the drama of the plot is surprisingly realistic, as Rebecca and her family playfully survive a rather large turning point in their lives. The unexpected return of an old friend was an extra treat in particular, but the meat and potatoes of this girl relating to her family and friends while learning about the world, and yet still being as impatient and gross and silly and hyperactive as any kid is, like I said, profound storytelling.
Dalena’s artwork is very precise and evocative as well, giving a fun and animated air while never going over the top stylistically. The consistent but angled exaggerations of the linework contribute additional youthful energy to the story, and the brilliant colouring from Giumento and Bonnin is jaw-dropping gorgeous- so lush and full of life. I understand several of these creators have before worked on Disney properties in the past, but I cannot think of any Disney product that comes remotely close to capturing such inoffensively candid earnestness in gentle ways that convey these at times mature themes so effectively well. This really is a comic for everyone, and the virtuosity of the artisans involved is mesmerizing and strangely comforting, presenting a bright tale free of pop culture references but filled heartily with honest, age-old morals.
Ernest & Rebecca: The Land of Walking Stones is a wonderful chapter in a wonderful series, and I unashamedly await the next. If you don’t get it then you’re not reading it, and if such is indeed the case then your life is really missing out on some truly special comic bookery. (And the photo in Salicrup’s editorial involving tentacles is icing on the cake for those missing the good times of an egoless but strong editorial presence- Papercutz rocks!)