Are you scared of singing frogs coming to your door? The duo Eisner Award-winning team of writer Jonathan Case (Dear Creature) and Over the Garden Wall artist Jim Campbell creates an all-new, all-original story for the animated show in the volume Over the Garden Wall: Distillatoria. A fall narrative that should bring out all the eloquent poets in us.
If you loved Greg, Beatrice, and Writ like I did and do, you’ll find yourselves right at home in The Unknown. This time, however, we’re getting a chance to see Greg and Wirt’s normal lives. For an early twist, they end up leaving the confines of The Unknown with Beatrice. They need to help her find her way back to the land of disturbed lanterns. It doesn’t mean that the Unknown won’t find a way to creep over into the brothers’ normal Halloween. Your old and new favorites will find a way to drag themselves over to our side of the wall.
Over the Garden Wall: Distillatoria Has Writing That Bests the Toughest Rock
Let me do you the honor of giving you a rock fact before moving onto the actual critique. When you eat a worm under the light of a full moon, you become a worm. Even during the times Over the Garden Wall: Distillatoria doesn’t make sense, there is an endgame that brings the writing together. I found everything quite tightly woven, which I appreciate from these kinds of stories.
An old fan will find themselves right at home in this book because the writers know its canon well. There aren’t glaring plot holes or mischaracterizations that will have you retching. I might even go as far enough to say that the references are on point. Furthermore, when they do add on new characters or situations, these additions feel natural.
The nitpick I did have was with Beatrice’s characterization in accordance with Sara. These two particular characters are Wirt’s ‘sort-of’ love interests, considering he’s like canonically fifteen, but he appears on a kid’s show on Cartoon Network. In any case, there’s tension between the two girl characters because of their interest in Wirt. The conflict is kind of boring, even when you understand the reasons behind it.
Sing A Song About Art For Your Bones
The art looks like you’re watching stills of the animated series. The backgrounds are lush with detail and the characters are expressive as ever. Wirt’s distress, Greg’s happiness, and Beatrice’s motherliness shine through in all their worry lines or lack of them. An issue that struck me is that Greg is skinner in the graphic novel than in the animated series to my eye. For whatever reason, this change is distracting. It took me until the second act for me to get used to the transition. The roundness was apparently very important to me.
Jim Campbell also has a gift for making the most adorable moments turn creepy. I consider that a well-earned gift to Distillatoria because these moments raises the stakes that edge the graphic novel into an interesting niche. It might accidentally strike fear into the hearts of young children, but those are the risks you have to take these days.
Over the Garden Wall: Distillatoria Is For The Old Fans
I wouldn’t recommend starting off with this graphic novel. A new person to Over the Garden Wall will feel confused at the references. There is a lot of answers that need answering in the case of those who haven’t watched the miniseries on Cartoon Network. If you do enjoy getting thrown into something in media res, you might find value in Distillatoria.
On the other hand, an old watcher is going to find a lot to love. Except for a few minor instances, Distillatoria keeps everyone in-character and the art remains memorable. This addition to Over the Garden Wall won’t disappoint the fans that desire any new addition to the mythos. You’ll rip your faces off in anticipation of getting your hands on this book.
Over the Garden Wall: Distillatoria by Jonathan Case and Jim Campbell
While not for new fans, Over the Garden Wall: Distillatoria will delight the old in how well it's made. You won't be so disappointed that you'll make a deal with The Beast.
Familiar, Fantastical Art All Around
Writing as Creepy as Ever
Funderberker is a Mess
Greg is A Little Less Rotund
Wouldn't Consider This A Good Introduction for Beginning Fans