Oh, it's Tony Fyler!
The Home comic-book continues the trend of the movie on which it’s based in issue #3 – giving high-colour, fairly obvious oddity a voice, as Oh the little purple alien learns to find his way with his human friend Tip on her home planet. There are homilies galore as we go along, and usually they’re reasonably subtle in the Dreamworks tradition. In issue #3 though, we’re in rather more slap-in-the-face Disney territory though, with Oh rejecting his Booviness and all things Boov, and intending to live forever as a human.
The storyline is as simple as it sounds – Oh tries to live human-style, wearing human clothes, going to human school and so on. All the while of course, his Inner Booviness calls – when he goes out for a hamburger, he gets the normal Boovy urge to eat the plate instead. When he tries to throw a football, he gets the Boovy instinct to – well, to eat that too: basically, a lot of the Inner Boov instinct seems to be to eat things.
Needless to say, Oh is living a lie for the sake of fitting in on Earth, and Tip, being A Good Friend, tries time and time again to encourage him to embrace his quirky Booviness, only to rebuffed by the scared little alien who, above all, wants the feeling of being home. Having rarely experienced that among the Boov, he’s determined to make it work among his new ‘humanspersons’ friends.
It takes Tip and her mom being extra-specially innovative – hosting Oh a ‘Boov-Day Party’ to celebrate his essential Booviness, which is pretty much Boov Pride – to get him to re-embrace his true nature, and accept that it’s his groove to be Boov.
So yes – a little slap-in-the-face simplistic, but still, for the intended readership of the Home comic-book, it’ll be complex enough, and will speak to all those proto-geeks out there who feel (or are made to feel) like they don’t fit in, shining a clear message of ‘being you is groovy, being you is Boovy.’ In particular, it makes clear the message that family, rather than anything else, is what’s important, and family is defined precisely as ‘those who love you for your very Booviness,’ not by where you come from, or what you look like, or anything else along the way. Helpful, positive life-messages through comic-books? Why not start ’em young, that’s what we say.
The mini-strip that goes along with the main story in this issue is a cutesy ‘turnabout’ tale, in which, after annoying Tip with his discourteous noisy eating habits, Oh dreams he’s back on the Boov home planet – which is immediately invaded by an army of Humanspersons, led by Commander Tip, who is likewise discourteous to Oh and all the Boov. On waking, the ‘I’ll be more courteous’ lesson seems clear – so clear in fact it’s practically propaganda – but again, it addresses an issue the young reader will probably be aware of, the need to take the feelings of others into consideration. Writer Max Davison captures the spirit of the movie well, and then weaves his messages of social responsibility and individuality (or manners and youness, if you prefer) easily into the scenarios of ‘Just another day with Oh.’ What’s more, the scenarios are enlivened with imagination by artists Alex Dalton and Neil Auchterlounie, Dalton on the main story turning a channel-surfing sequence into images of Oh the intrepid as a jousting knight, a Tarzan-Boov, a vampire-hunter and a gunslinger, while Auchterlounie of course has the whole invasion of the Boov home world to play with.
The visuals are bold and colourful, while never neglecting the characterization that made the would-be readers fan of the little Boov in the first place, and the stories, while straightforward in their moralizing, will do what needs to be done to both instruct the readers in good behavior and ensure them that whoever they are, there are people who will love them for their fundamental selves. So have no fear – get Home issue #3 for the little Boov in your life. It’ll keep them happy for a day, and the lessons inside may just help them through the rest of their lives.
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