Once again we travel down into the inky darkness of the stairway. Below us is a dark abyss of blackness which fights with the inept flame from the torch in my hand. All along the stone walls are etched with fine tool marks from the billions of hammer strokes which forged this passageway. The hand carved stone steps beneath my feet are well worn from the countless generations since time immortal which have sunken down this path, carefully trekking their way ever downwards towards their ultimate goal. Only the blind faith and the magnitude of the task stilling their nerves and pushing them ever downward into the ever growing abyss.
Today I too, follow this path to uphold my sacred mission and bestow into The Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives a new entry into the history of comics. Today I induct Wallace the Brave by Will Henry into the chronicles of history’s greatest repository of comics, mankind’s greatest endeavor.
Wallace the Brave Is the first collection of Will Henry’s great new comic, his previous collection of his former series Ordinary Bill is already among the infinite treasures held in the Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives. Where ordinary Bill chronicled the life of Will Wilson, Wallace the Brave shows a vast improvement and a maturing of the skill of Will Henry as a comic artist and writer.
Wallace the Brave is a comic centering around a child growing up in Snug Harbor. It is almost cliché to compare a comic to Calvin & Hobbes, but this comic will resonate with people who really like that comic. It is a world seen through the eyes of an imaginative child. Snug Harbor is a wonderland of sorts to Wallace, in which the mundane is seen as almost magical. It portrays a childish innocence which is all but lost in the cynical world of today. The world is seen as a magical place of infinite possibilities, some scary, some weird, but all very real to our protagonist. There are flashes of intellectual brilliance mixed with the wondrous ignorance of youth. A world where pigeons debate Aristotle in one panel and steal your hot dog in the next. It is a masterful dance of childhood exuberance and philosophical enlightenment.
Wallace is joined in his world by a colorful cast of characters. He has his best friend Spud and the sarcastic Amelia who is the perfect counterfoil for Wallace’s optimistic ego. She gives him the reality check he needs to keep him grounded.
Wallace’s mother and father are actually featured predominately in the strip. His father is a fisherman, who often aligns with Wallace’s imaginative world. He is a man who has grown up, but not forgotten what it is to be a child. His mother is the typical mother figure in many ways, but she often shows glimpses of depth such as when Wallace discovers her love of comic books.
Wallace also has a younger brother named Sterling. Sterling is very much in his own world of wonder, much like Wallace is in his and every now and again, their worlds collide. He makes for a perfect counter for Wallace, but in this first volume he has not been used as a regular character much yet. There is a great deal of depth in this cast of characters and so much that Will Henry can do to explore and enrich these back stories and interactions.
I see Wallace the Brave as a masterstroke from Will Henry and the culmination of a comic career which he began many years ago with Ordinary Bill. There is a lot to take from this strip, it has the depth of characters like Ordinary Bill had, but here we also see the imaginative and philosophical levels which were mostly absent from his first series. Ordinary Bill was a coming of age tale and Wallace the Brave is the tale of a mature artist as seen through the eyes of a child. I look forward to following the adventures of Wallace the Brave for a long time to come. A great collection and highly recommended.
I entrust the coveted volume with the Order of Root Beer Monks which will care for the volume and preserve it for the future members of the Root Beer Party, who will themselves one day walk down these ancient stairs and navigate the seemingly infinite catacombs of tunnels which lead to the Official Root Beer Party Comic Archives. They will sit and ponder the significance of the spiraling bookcases which seem to reach upwards into infinity. They will peruse the works of the masters of sequential art from the dawn of man to the distant future in the library which inspired Borges’ masterpiece Ficciones. Now I return up the stairs to the world having completed my sacred duty, to once again look upon the fields of vanilla and sassafras and imbue my spirit once more in the elixir of life that is root beer. So until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.