Owly: Flying Lessons


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Owly: Flying Lessons


  • Words: Andy Runton
  • Art: Andy Runton
  • Inks: Andy Runton
  • Colors: N/A
  • Story Title: Flying Lessons
  • Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
  • Price: $10.00
  • Release Date: Dec 21, 2005

Owly and Wormy return as a new creature enters their forest, but does this latest story take flight?

Andy Runton, in his third Owly book, Flying Lessons, takes his tiny avian hero on a new adventure as he meets a new friend and overcomes a lifelong challenge. The Owly series has been one of the most acclaimed of the new all-ages comic series to come about in recent years. This latest installment of the Owly series stutters a bit, but its intent is clear enough.

Owly and his little friend Wormy first met in a story called The Way Home. Feared throughout the forest, the lonely little creature found his little pal, who’d been swept away from his home in a storm. The pair has gone on many adventures since then. Flying Lessons starts as a mysterious and skittish new animal flies into Owly’s forest neighborhood.

For a comic told in pantomime, Flying Lessons uses way too many word balloons. A comic written for kids, using little to no words, should feel less confusing. It’s the greatest stumbling block in the Owly vocabulary. Pages go by with long strings of wordless word-balloons. There’s so much pipe that Runton has to lay, but in the end more time is spent wondering exactly what the picture in the word balloon means. It ends up being a bit frustrating.

That doesn’t begin to mention the plot. It feels a little forced, to tell the truth. Owly struggles with the fact that forest creatures all think of him as a predator at first. The reader knows he’s not going to attack. Even most of the characters know he’s a friendly little guy. Owly has earned some new friends since that first book. Why is it so important that he befriend every creature he comes across? As the book progresses, it leads to a third act that isn’t well supported in the first. The problem with Owly’s current personal dilemma is that it’s completely ignored until it becomes absolutely necessary to explain it. In fact, it never becomes clear exactly why this dilemma is important.

Runton draws his characters as friendly little bubbles with enormous bubble-eyes. The simple cartooned look combined with Runton’s fluid brush style creates a warmth and charm that have been the hallmark of the Owly series. It’s easy to say that Runton could continue to create these cute little characters for a good while and gain a crowd of loving fans.

While Flying Lessons keeps up with the tradition of adorable woodland creatures seen previously in the Owly series, it never quite takes flight.

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