Graphic Novel Review: Pumpkinheads and Runaways Volume 1: Find Your Way Home

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks. First Second, 2019. 9781626721623. 224pp.

It’s Halloween at DeKnock’s World Famous Pumpkin Patch & Autumn Jamboree. Josiah and Deja are preparing for their last shifts ever because they’ll be away at college the following year. Deja is determined to make it their best night ever. She traded shifts so they can work together at the Pie Palace and so that Josiah can finally, after years of admiring her from afar, introduce himself to the girl who works at the Fudge Shopppe. (Josiah is a socially awkward guy focused on being rated the best employee in the place; Deja is his opposite in many ways and is way more social.)

I love the way Rowell writes conversations, and Hicks’ art really makes them work as trying to meet the fudge shoppe girl proves ridiculously difficult, and as the friends snack their way across the jamboree. Fun YA graphic novel with a bit of romance.

Runaways Volume 1: Find Your Way Home by Rainbow Rowell & Kris Anka. Marvel, 2018. 9781302908522. Contains Runaways #1 – #6.

Rowell has also been writing a relaunched Runaways title for years, which is also full of fun conversations and romance. (If you’re not familiar with the Runaways, they’re a super powered group of teen who defeated their evil parents. There was a TV show on Hulu.)

This book starts with Chase bringing Gert back from the dead, kinda; he uses a time machine to rescue her from the past. Nico uses her magic to fix Gert followed by a joyous reunion with Gert’s dinosaur, Old Lace. And then it’s time to get the Runaways back together: Karolina is at college (but not for long) and Molly is living with her grandma who is probably evil (Grandma’s cats’ eyes glow red). And there’s the hope of reviving their cyborg friend Victor, who died on an Avengers mission, even though all they have is his head.

I just read all five of the books in this ongoing title, and the sixth is due out in October 2021. So far it’s a fun ride. Gert and Chase can’t date because of the awkward age difference in the present (he’s 20 but since she’s from the past she’s still 16). (Don’t worry, she finds someone to love.) Karolina breaks up with Julie Power (of Power Pack)and quickly develops a new love interest. Molly tries to stick with going to school. A few of the group work crapy jobs. They also face down gods, meet a Doombot, and even become part of a different Los Angeles-based super team revival (which of course ends badly because the one constant is that adults suck). The books feel both ridiculous and serious, and I love the way there’s usually kindness at the center of these stories.


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