After the success of the Over the Garden Wall television miniseries, it’s fantastic to see Pat McHale come back to the world he created. Over The Garden Wall #1 opens up innocuously enough as Wirt, Greg ,and Beatrice are looking to hitch a ride and get off their feet for a while. Wirt, as usual, misses the chance to get the ride, and Beatrice gives him a lot of grief for this. Wirt, feeling bad about his lack of confidence, decides to walk on down the road. The world in Over The Garden Wall is chock full of so many extremely colorful characters that it’s easy to get excited over this simple decision.
The trio, or quartet if Greg’s frog is included, encounter a pair of sisters, who are miffed when Wirt tramples over their father’s garden. After a series of extreme misunderstandings, where Wirt burns their laundry and destroys their eggs, the girls’ father, an extremely large house, comes alive. The father questions Writ, starts sobbing, and causes a local flood. Eventually the four heroes walk away from the situation. The issue ends with Wirt becoming a more conscious decision maker and gets his friends in the back of a wagon. The man driving the wagon fears it’s The Beast. Undoubtedly, The Beast will come to rear his head very soon.
Pat McHale’s script is full of wonder and whimsy. Over the Garden Wall is at its best when Wirt goes into overtly long tangents, and Greg starts some non sequitur. McHale writes a pretty tight issue, but there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to this particular issue. Sure, the trio come upon something strange and investigates, but there isn’t any feeling of a resolution. It’s important that Wirt learns to say no and become a more confident character, but this could have easily been a sub-plot and not the entire arc of this issue.
Jim Campbell brings the world of Over the Garden Wall alive on the page. His drawings of Wirt, Beatrice, Greg, and his frog are flawless. The simple nature of the characters does not take away from how easily he’s able to make Wirt look worried or stressed. This also works well with Beatrice, who seems to be the angriest and sassiest bird ever. Danielle Burgos’ colors are perfect in this issue. The pale autumnal browns and oranges feel right while the backgrounds are never too wild to distract from the focus of each panel.
Overall, Over the Garden Wall #1 is an pretty good attempt to bring the world of television to a comic book. The artwork is outstanding, but the story could use a little more focus. Hopefully, the next three issues introduce us to a little more danger and mystery.