Written by Michel Rodrigue
Illustrated by Antonello Dalena and Manuela Razzi
Coloured by Cecilia Giumento
Translation by Joe Johnson
Letters by Tom Orzechowski
Associate Editing by Michael Petranek
Editing in chieferizing by Jim Salicrup
Published by Papercutz
the three cents.
The newest of the jumbo-sized issues of Sybil the Backpack Fairy has Nina and her fairy friend suffer the selfish machinations of Nina’s bow-headed, lil miss perfect classmate Laurie and Laurie’s own fairy friend Amanite. There’s a new boy in school whose presence unintentionally escalates Laurie’s spite towards Nina, unleashing Amanite’s black magics to further disrupt Nina’s life. But our heroine doesn’t go down easy, especially when thrown through different points in time itself.
Rodrigue writes a wonderful story, with a core theme in this issue being to abstain from violence in favor of using ones wits. Which is always a brilliant message to pass on to young readers…and us older folk as well. I especially enjoy how as fantastic as the setups can get, there is still some grounding in reality, as seen here in Nina’s family still enjoying its newfound reuniting from last issue, as well as the suggestion that Sybil once had a dashing love affair with Ramses II. There’s a lot of subtext to this series, allowing it to genuinely work on multiple levels. Much of that is due entirely to Rodrigue’s obvious skill with scene construction and wordplay.
And the art is so intricate, so full of detail to go with its charismatic personality. The pages hold a very animated look and feel, but these artisans cram so much depth into the scenery, such as the oodles of fun references found in a costume party figuring prominently in this plot. Orz has a tighter style here than what he is generally known for, and works wonders at keeping the storytelling precise, while Giumento’s hues are downright angelic. I recall comments from an interview in a comics magazine years ago about the great colorist Lovern Kindzierski having to struggle to make sens of the at times crazy lines from artist Keith Giffen. As lush with details is the fantasy setting of this story, Giumento is accomplishing a very comparably Herculean task, and she is rocking it.
This is a gentle comic tale, of a young girl sharing a really fun and secretive but adventurous life that incorporates elements of history, mythology, and even Shakespeare. It is light-hearted and breezy, with some fun character dynamics and more than a little earnestness. And again, it offers solid moralistic messages well worth passing on.