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Wooly Bully

posted by: November 5, 2014 - 6:00am

Cover art for Bad Machinery: The Case of the Good Boy by John AllisonThere was a time when child sleuths were all the rage, when Nate the Great, Encyclopedia Brown, the Hardy Boys and Tom Swift solved crime along with just being kids. John Allison has brought mystery solving-teens back, and they are wittier than ever. Bad Machinery: The Case of the Good Boy is based on a the daily "Bad Machinery webcomic. It's girls vs. boys as babies go missing and any number of large, hairy beasties may or may not be invading the neighborhood.

 

Representing the girls, there's Lottie, all attitude and puff jackets. Shauna is the brains. Mildred has just found an incredibly large, friendly dog who just so happens to drink from a cup.

 

On the boys' side, there is Linton, most notable for a profound lack of tact. Jack is the quiet one who attracts the ladies. Sonny is sort of like a human Golden Retriever.

 

John Allison once described his writing style as word mangling, and it starts with the very first page.

 

"It's perfectly natural for babies to be out in nature, Carol!"
"The babies are getting quite dirty."
"Stop FUSSING and help me make their gruel."

 

It's all sideways from there, as bullies, scouting, stinky younger siblings, and dogless families are navigated. There's a missing magic pencil and a case of arson. Everything is bounced through at a well-measured pace. Allison has been writing comics in this universe for well over a decade now, and he knows exactly what he wants to do with every panel. The art looks intentionally rough and energetic.

 

While the main story is found online, the book ends with six pages of supplemental material that won't be found anywhere else. They're the perfect, silly complement to an already high-quality print.
 


 
 

Revised: November 18, 2015