Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Stephanie Buscema
Lettering: Nate Piekos of Blambot
Release Date: March 7th 2018
Eric Powell’s Chimichanga is a wonderfully offbeat all-ages creation, and The Sorrow of The World’s Worst Face sees Powell joining forces with artist Stephanie Buscema to put together a lively, often hilarious story about a travelling circus of oddities and the strange, facially challenged stranger who shows up out of the blue and turns everything on its head.
It perhaps instinctively feels a little odd for the creator of The Goon to be peddling such child-friendly fare, but Powell does an absolutely stellar job here of blending silliness and slapstick with a real sense of adventure – not to mention a fantastic moral message about how important it is to not be ashamed or afraid of being a little different.
There’s definitely some aspects of the story that are geared more to the younger audience, like the farting witch and the the cross-eyed Chimichanga’s weirdly TARDIS style bellybutton, but there are also some great moments here for older readers too – the majority of them based around bearded youngster Lula’s hilarious turn of phrase throughout.
Buscema’s artwork is another joy that readers of all ages can definitely enjoy. Bold character designs, luscious, painterly colours and sweeping backdrops give the book a striking aesthetic, in spite of what is a fairly muted, muddy colour palette. Everything has a twisted fairytale vibe to it, and while things never veer too far into frightening or threatening, there’s definitely a Burton-esque eccentricity to the visual style here.
Simply puy, this is a great looking book throughout, and while it’s perhaps a tad disappointing that we don’t actually get to see the titular face throughout the course of this volume, it actually works really well to keep the reader’s imagination firing throughout – particularly given the horrified or terrified reactions of certain characters when they get to see it.
If you have a younger comic reader in your life but can’t really stomach all the bright, saccharine fluffiness that a lot of quote-unqoute “all-ages” comics lean into, then Chimichanga is definitely what you’re looking for. Powell and Buscema do a fantastic job of proving that all-ages comics don’t have to be all rainbows and unicorns, and The Sorrow of The World’s Worst face is a book that will delight, entertain and amuse readers of all ages.