I have a new favorite comic book character, and his name is Owly.
Owly is a little owl who, with his little partner-in-crime Wormy, goes on small adventures and tries to make friends with other woodland creatures. It’s refreshingly unpretentious and unironic, just straightforwardly sweet. A reviewer from Ain’t It Cool News called it “the comic book equivalent of a hug” a couple years ago, and while I’m no AICN disciple, that particular assessment is so true.
I thumbed through an Owly book maybe a year ago at a comic shop and thought enough of it to put it on my Amazon wish list. When I saw an Owly display at the Top Shelf Comix booth at MoCCA last weekend, I finally broke down and bought one of the books — Just a Little Blue. And I just fell in love with it — to the point where I was actually a little teary-eyed when I finished the book.
In lieu of dialogue, characters in the Owly books communicate via facial expressions, body language and little pictograph word / thought balloons. For me, I think the result is that I actually slow down a bit as I try to “read” each panel and perhaps project more meaning onto the illustrations and storyline — to the point where, for example, when Owly and his friends suffer a setback in trying to reach out to a bluebird family, their plainly visible disappointment is almost emotionally devastating.
Anyway, even though the book is, I think, geared toward little kids, it has a sweet, all-ages appeal. I can’t wait to catch up on the other Owly adventures out there, and to see what creator Andy Runton has in store for the little guy.