One of the toughest things to do in the world of storytelling is to produce something that both adults and children can not only enjoy, but can find compelling and hilarious. Adults are jaded and tend to be above simplistic humour, whereas kids are new to the whole idea of Knock Knock jokes and get turned off by anything too involved.
Judd Winnick’s series of graphic novels, Hilo, gets the mix right every time and with every gag. This plot of Hilo is quite silly. Hilo is a robot boy from another dimension. He shoots lasers out his hands, is hard to destroy and is super smart. His friends, DJ and Gina are regular kids with bags of pluck and courage. Together, they help save to world from monsters.
Saving the Whole Wide World is the second book in the Hilo series and immediately picks up from the first one. (You can read them out of order and still be entertained, but reading them in order is more fun) . Hilo has survived his encounter with the monster robot Razorwark, but in reality has become weakened.
Weird monsters start appearing around Gina and DJ’s hometown, and it’s up to Hilo and his friends to get rid of the beasties, before Razorwark finds a way back to Earth. Despite this exciting sounding plot line, much of the book is taken up with Winick’s trademark anarchic humour. The characters run round trying to save the world and mostly shouting, making dumb jokes and trying not to get exploded.
Family life also plays an important part of the book and it’s sweet to see how the various brothers and sisters of the main cast respond to the utter weirdness that Hilo brings to their lives. Winnick (who is better known for his work on DC comics) brings steady pacing the comic. He also draws in a very cartoony style which enhances the sense of fun all the way through.
Hilo is great fun, is deeply silly and also has appropriate sad bits, so you claim that it’s serious art. Read it and then give it to child that you quite like so they can grow to love comics.
HILO BOOK 2: SAVING THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD / AUTHOR: JUDD WINNICK / PUBLISHER: PUFFIN / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW