This book was handed around the living room this morning. I finished it, then handed it to my oldest son, "Stop what you're doing and read this book." He read it, and then handed it straight to his 2nd grade brother. When they both finished, I asked their opinions.
"Outrageous!" said my nine-year-old.
"I can't believe there's a whole city made of snot!" said the seven-year-old.
"The rat-vomit dipping sauce was -- awww!" added the older one.
"Are you sure we're supposed to be reading this?" asked his little brother.
YES. I AM SURE, little ones. At least... this unsubtle yak-fest of a graphic novel is certainly not meant for anyone more than it is meant for you, you independent readers under the age of ten of the boy persuasion. Although I can think of A LOT of little girls who will similarly love this randomsensical grosstastic South Park/sci-fi hip rude funny mashup comic.
Like um for instance... me. I can stand a lot of ick if it's embedded within quick and natural repartee, inventive details, and kid-pleasing freakiness. I also appreciate Dan McGuiness's eleven-year-old drawing style and the color palette that is vivid but not brain-searing. McGuiness appears to be Australian. Mmm-hmm.
So here's how it goes: Pilot and Huxley are two best friends, third grade or so. Due to a mix-up by the evil green interdimensional Vorcons who run the local video store, Pilot and Huxley are on the run from the Grim Reaper, forced to join forces with a cute little redheaded girl who probably has interdimensional girl germs. Then there's a pirate, and a golden nose hair, and the Internet.
That's right. It's like Axe Cop, for kids who are too young for Axe Cop. Wait a minute, what am I talking about? You're never too young for Axe Cop.
But if all this sounds tedious and juvenile to you, if a book that forces its characters to move from scene to scene via laser and/or giant instances of some of the gooier anatomical orifices sounds like it's pandering to the lowest common denominator, you should not read this book. Also, it is possible that you are my grandmother. Loved my grandmother, but she did not have one ounce of pretween boy in her, unless you count Hermie Edlund's little brother, who went missing in 1948, right about the time that Grandma was living in that gingerbread house in the middle of the forest.
But in her time, Grandma was also a librarian, and, regardless of her feelings vis-à-vis snot and nonsense, I'd like to think that Grandma would have closed her eyes, held her nose, and handed this book out to fans of Kaput and Zosky, Sardine, and Spy vs Spy as often as I do.