I was in my local comic shop, Beyond Comics, in Frederick, Maryland, and the owner, Jon, knows that I write for Comic Booked. He hands me this thick graphic novel and says, “We are hosting the national launch for this new graphic novel. Do you want to read it before it is released?” What a silly question. Of course! I love getting stuff ahead of everyone else and, just flipping through the book in the store, it looked very interesting.
The new graphic novel is titled The Dumbest Idea Ever and is written, drawn, and colored by acclaimed comic book creator and New York Times bestselling author Jimmy Gownley. The great new graphic novel tells the story of how Jimmy grew up in the small town of Girardville, Pennsylvania, attending Catholic school and doing great. When he fell ill at the end of middle school, things just never really got back to normal for him.
Then, one day, his father took him to a small comic book shop about an hour away and a whole new world was opened up to him. He wanted more than anything to create his own comic book. Through trial and error, and lot of help from his friends, he finally comes up with the perfect idea and self-publishes his first comic book while he is still in high school. This is every nerdy kids dream, at least it was mine, but I really had no talent for drawing, just writing.
The characters are very real and definitely help to bring the reader into what Jimmy is feeling as he goes through some major ups and downs. I love the way he uses the colors to indicate moods. At first the colors are bright and vibrant, but after he gets the chicken pox and then pneumonia, the colors slowly drain out of the page, leaving him in a dull and drab existence. It is almost like the hope left him. Stepping into the comic book shop is one of the best scenes because the color comes back, the comic covers adorn the background of the scene, and you just know that this is his destiny laid out before him.
I really enjoyed the comic book. I loved the fact that it dealt with real issues and gave me a glimpse inside a very personal story of a comic creator. Jimmy Gownley is a talented cartoonist whose other comics, the Amelia Rules! series, have been nominated for multiple awards, including 13 Eisner Awards. Volume 3 of this series, Superheroes, won the Cybil Award for Best Children’s Graphic Novel in 2006.
You will be able to pick up a copy of The Dumbest Idea Ever in the next couple of weeks. The national launch is happening this Friday, February 21, 2014. I will be there to talk with Jimmy Gownley and to find out what other things he has planned for this year. You can also keep an eye out here for a short news article this week about the national book launch and my interview with Jimmy early next week.