Tony Fyler avoids work like the plague it is.
The plot of the strip here is pretty familiar from fairly lame sequel movies the world over – Oh tries to find a job. Indeed, were it to be stretched over the course of a movie-length, this could pretty much be the lame sequel to the original Home – bowing to the judgment of others, Oh the irrepressible Boov tries to find his place in the world of work, only to find that his unique skillset, while showing initial promise in a number of areas, is not appreciated, then ultimately, he is offered a role – being true to himself – that fits him perfectly, and happiness is restored.
Fortunately, this is not a lame sequel to the movie, but a pretty tightly-paneled comic-book strip that tells its whole story in just over 20 pages, and manages to bring a good deal of the charm of the original movie through for the young viewers enchanted by the adventures of the clueless but incredibly enthusiastic alien and his human friend Tip.
The moral might be straightforward, and overlayed with a degree of ‘fun is fine, but homework matters’ to instill the ‘right’ social messages into the readership, but Home #2 is still a lot of brightly-coloured, bouncy, fun along the way, as Oh tries his cute purple hand at being a chef, an engineer, a big-brain and a personal trainer, all with a degree of optimism but no real success.
The essential character of Oh is nailed to the pages along the way – as a chef, he’s incredibly inventive, but has trouble restraining himself. As an engineer, he’s full of ideas, but impatient, as a big-brain he’s powerful but not able to govern his impulses, and so on. Meanwhile, Tip and her mother realise that while Tip’s adventures with him might feel like nothing but an eternal playtime, she’s actually gaining a lot of knowledge, as well as broadening her mind during their trips together, whether they’re a ‘50-states and back by bedtime’ souvenir treasure-hunt or a surreptitious trip to the Moon to discover or disprove its relative green-cheesiness. The ultimate resolution to the story, like its underlying moral, might be obvious – and not a little cheesy in itself – but it’s firmly within the wheelhouse of the movie and the comic-book’s readership, writer Max Davison delivering both the sense of mischief and fun without which it wouldn’t be Home, and the underlying ‘wholesome’ values without which it wouldn’t quite be Dreamworks. The art of Steve Beckett pulls the primary-colour zaniness through and allows readers of any age at least a chuckle at the adventures of Oh in Employment-land, while younger readers will laugh heartily at the visuals of the chaos that follows his irrepressible spirit around. Above all, Oh is well-intentioned, up for a challenge and always, always enthusiastic. It’s the kind of combination that many young readers will recognize in themselves, and will appreciate seeing rendered in this format, likening themselves to Oh in a world where responsibilities are always being talked about, if seldom understood.
If there’s a general rule in movie terms that you can rarely go wrong with Dreamworks, so it’s true that in training your young alien in their comic-book reading, the adventures of Tip and Oh are good early fare, to get them used to the idea of following a story in comic-book panels, and reading the action, rather than having it presented to them solely on a screen. Home is a good set of training wheels, before you let them fly solo with things like Dragon Riders of Berk. If your world is full of irrepressible pint-sized aliens, get Home #2 and make them laugh for a good long while.
Tony Fyler lives in a cave of wall-to-wall DVDs and Blu-Rays somewhere fairly
nondescript in Wales, and never goes out to meet the "Real People". Who,
Torchwood, Sherlock, Blake, Treks, Star Wars, obscure stuff from the
70s and 80s and comedy from the dawn of time mean he never has to. By
runs an editing house, largely as an
excuse not to have to work for a living. He's currently writing a Book.
With Pages and everything. Follow his progress at FylerWrites.co.uk