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Traded Up: ‘Pix’ Vol.1 & 2 (review)

Pix: Volume One – One Weirdest Weekend
Pix: Volume Two – Too Super for School
Written and Illustrated by Gregg Schigiel
Published by Image Comics

 

These first two volumes of Pix are super kid-friendly stories that portray far more positivity and real-world issues than outlandish action sequences.

Yes, there are a plenty of panels where our teenage super-powered hero must pummel some pretty creative creatures – a monster Magic Eight Ball, magic dragons and a really, really big bully – but the stories are more her figuring out her own identity than figuring out bad guys.

The first volume, Pix: One Weirdest Weekend, was originally self-published by writer-artist Gregg Schigiel (Marvel, SpongeBob Comics) under his Hatter Entertainment company but was later picked up by Image. Both the first and second volumes (Too Cool for School) are currently published by Image.

ALTER EGO BE DARNED TO HECK

The story begins with Emaline Laurel Pixley in the midst of her first TV appearance with a host who is rather suspicious of her abilities. Being wide-eyed, perky, wearing a cute costume with tiny wings and claiming to be a fairy princess sounds pretty unbelievable, until she takes down some rogue electronics that have come alive and attack the studio.

In many ways, that sets up the major conflicts in the series: Pix fights to remain positive in the midst of everything around her trying to bring her down. Early on it’s primarily wacky monsters and talking animals but, especially in the second book, it’s also the plight of an atypical high schooler dealing with typical high school issues.

Making things a bit worse for her, she’s not hiding behind the usual secret identity. Instead she quite openly lets her identity and personality fly, making her the target of some typical high school jealously. Lucky for her she has a few friends that will remind some readers of characters in other kid/teen comics.

There’s Seth the awkward teen who, at least early on, bears a strong resemblance to Shaggy from Scooby-Doo and Regina “Reggie” Moore who reminds me a lot of Midge more than Reggie form the Archie series. Redhead Sherilee “Cherry” Garcia  is far nicer than her Archie-nicknamed counterpart, being more a Betty than a Cheryl or Veronica.

With the possible exception of the semi-intentional Shaggy resemblance, these similarities are hardly negative and really only indicative of teen comic genre.

Like most teenage girls, Pix also babysits on the side, which leads to a lengthy adventure with several talking animals, including a frog who, you guessed it, wants to get a kiss to turn back into a prince.

Schigiel plays with puns like this throughout the book – her hot date quite literally becomes hot and a big bully becoming much, much bigger – but these don’t come across as gut-groaners. Instead they play rather well into the teen themes and help keep conflicts fun and interesting.

There’s also an underlying mystery with Pix’s claim to being a fairy princess that gets teased throughout the books through her mother and stepfather. As if you need more clues, Pix does get shrunken down small enough to fit into a sink drain.

PARTICULARLY POSITIVE PIX

These are super kid-friendly books that portray far more positivity and real-world issues than outlandish action sequences. Yes, there are a plenty of panels where she must pummel some pretty creative creatures – hey, there are dragons and a monster Magic Eight Ball – but the stories are more about Pix figuring out her own identity than figuring out bad guys.

There’s really very little to say negative about these books. If I were to nitpick, there are a few small instances, mostly early on, where faces in a few panels are awkwardly skewed and the high school drama draws out a little long in the second book. But, again, those are tiny.

Even though Pix features the (now) oft overused strong female character premise, you can easily hand to your kids – girls and boys – and be pretty confident they’ll sit and read them all the way through. The struggles she goes through are more about being a teenager with powers than being a girl. She deals with bullies, social acceptance, dating and discovering her identity at least as much as dealing with super-powered baddies.

Calling these stories cute doesn’t quite do them justice. Pix may oozes cuteness with her tiny-winged costume and perky pixie personality, but there is enough action and wackiness to keep young readers entertained throughout.

 

 

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