Rating if the Book Were a Movie: G
Story: Shawn McLaughlin and D.J. Milky
Writer: Dan Conner
Artist: Debora Allo
Colors: Roberto Scalia
Cover: Yishan Li
Editor: Janae Young
Story: 3.4 Stars
Artwork: 3.7 Stars
Cover Artwork: 3.7 Stars
Dialogue: 3.5 Stars
Mechanics: 3.9 Stars
Editing: 3.8 Stars
About the Book:
Every classic tale has a backstory to it. The Nightmare Before Christmas is no different. Before Jack got it in his head to try to give Christmas an upgrade, he had to become the Pumpkin King. The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Battle for Pumpkin King #1 takes us back to a simpler time. We go to a time when Jack and Oogie Boogie are best friends that have adventures, races, and games together all the time. Then the Pumpkin King decrees that he wants to retire. Before he does, he wants to find and train a replacement. The only two individuals in Halloween nominated to be up to the task are Oogie Boogie and Jack. They will face off in a series of challenges that will change their friendship (and futures) forever.
After all these years, I’m still not sure how I feel about prequels. It doesn’t matter which franchise we’re in. It’s shaky ground at best. The uber optimistic fanboy in me is thrilled about the notion of receiving new content that can give a character more depth. If done well, it can completely change one’s perspective of a character/story.
Then there was the tragedy that was Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. Fans of the franchise had such lofty, unrealistic expectations that the best the movie could hope to do was par the hole. For what it was, it wasn’t a bad movie. The worst thing about it was knowing that no matter what happened Anakin, Obi-Wan, and the droids would survive anything that they encountered. Whatever platform we’re going with, be it film, page, or television, the audience needs to have something that can surprise them.
I remember being at opening night all those years ago. When the lightsaber duel between Darth Maul, Qui Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan was going on the crowd loved it. When Qui Gon was separated from Obi-Wan and had to face Darth Maul by himself, we all knew what was going to happen. Sure enough, minutes later Qui Gon was dead. This is the downside of prequels.
With that being said, I loved The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Battle for Pumpkin King #1. It broadened our knowledge of this franchise. It gives us the opportunity to see a different side of Jack. He’s a great guy when he’s not trapped with the moniker of being the Pumpkin King. We also see a different side of Oogie Boogie. We see him being more youthful and innocent.
We get some foreshadowing of what’s to come as we see Oogie’s competitive nature coupled with his enjoyment of practical jokes.. The need to win at all costs and having fun at the expense of others will drive a wedge in the strongest of friendships.
I enjoyed the cover artwork for this title. Getting to see Jack and Oogie frolicing in the water fountain is the perfect teaser for any fan of the Nightmare Before Christmas franchise. It makes one want to know how and why this is happening. At least that’s what happened with my wife. When she saw this book in the promotions of which books would be available for Free Comic Book Day she instantly made a mental note to get a copy. To her credit, she actually went with me to my local comic book store for the event to get said copy.
The artwork on the interior pages meshes perfectly with the story. Somewhere along the way we will have serious overtones. Right now it is the perfect shade of whimsy for what’s transpiring. This is a story of two kids having fun and enjoying each other’s company. I wouldn’t change a thing.
As a geek on a budget I am all in on The Nightmare Before Christmas: The Battle for Pumpkin King #1. It gives the fan base more content, which is never a bad thing. It helps teach readers how to be a good person, and goodness knows the world needs more kindness. Best of all, you shouldn’t feel much of a hit to the wallet as this book was part of the Free Comic Book Day promotion. If your local comic book store does not have a physical copy available, you should be able to get a digital copy through Comixology in the next week or so.