Posted by Don MacPherson on January 9th, 2007
Ed’s Terrestrials original graphic novel
Writer: Scott Christian Sava
Artist: Diego Jourdan
Publisher: Blue Dream Studios
Price: $19.99 US
A quick look at the spine of my review copy of this book and a subsequent Google-ing of the title reveals that this was originally supposed to be (or originally was) an Alias Entreprises release, but creator Scott Christian Sava has given it new life by publishing under his Blue Dream Studios banner. I’ve enjoyed Sava’s work in the past. Some may remember him from his outing with Marvel Comics — the Spider-Man: Quality of Life limited series — but I prefer to think of him as the writer/artist/creator of The Lab, a goofy, cartoon-inspired workplace comedy. This project is a children’s book, first and foremost, but it’s crafted as a comic, not the usual illustrated text that tends to characterize children’s literature. Ed’s Terrestrials is a light romp, with a familiar premise and artwork that suits the tone of the story but falls short with an oversimplified sense of design.
Three alien pals escape a life of indentured servitude in an intergalactic food court by stealing a ship, but their oppressors shoot them down, forcing them to crash-land on the nearest planet. That planet turns out to a familiar blue and green orb with more than six billion inhabitants. Among them is Ed, an elementary-school student with a love of comics and an imagination that runs wild. Ed’s treehouse ends up as the crash site for the alien escapees, and they quickly form a friendship. But as the aliens make arrangements to free more of their enslaved brethren using a teleporter, a spoiled rich kid who’s always giving Ed a hard time joins forces with the bloodthirsty alien mercenary sent to retrieve the missing aliens.
The title’s cute, but I was immediately struck by the fact that it’s not quite right. Edward’s Terrestrials matches the syllables and meter of “extra-terrestrials” much more closely. Obviously, that’s not a judgment on the work itself, just an observation.
Diego Jourdan’s cartooning is light, friendly and accessible. He employs circles and big curves to arrive at his designs, and those round touches make for a more inviting look overall. Just look at Disney’s Lilo and Stitch; there are no harsh edges or angles, which downplays down any menacing tone that could arise in the sci-fi adventure cartoon. Where Jourdan goes awry is that he relies only on rudimentary shapes for his designs. There’s no organic flow, and the result is that the characters almost look as though they’re crudely drawn. Still, he brings a lot of personality to the characters despite that simplified approach.
I like that Sava arranges for Ed and his friends to have more than an alien antagonist with which they must contend. Natalie, the spoiled, rich kid, adds a more playful tone to the conflict, but on the other hand, Natalie is so completely self-centered so as to become one-dimensional. Maybe I’m just looking for too much from a children’s comic book, but I’d rather have seen more in the character. There’s an understandably frenetic tone to the story, and the book reads rather quickly… but that comes from an adult perspective. I would imagine the target audience would take more time and soak up the characters and goofy energy. Furthermore, Sava wisely arrives at an ending that leaves things open for further adventures for Ed and the alien friends who now live in his treehouse.
Even comics fans will an appreciation for stories aimed at the younger set will probably balk at the $20-price tag for this book. It is worth the price of admission, but really only if one has kids with which they can share the story and the reading experience. And perhaps this graphic novel — presented in a format that looks like a mainstream children’s book — will help one share a love of comics with those kids as well. 6/10
This graphic novel is slated for release later this month.