Written and Illustrated by Eric Powell
Colors by Dave Stewart
Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Cover Price: $14.99
Whoever said that enormous, bug-eyed, drooling monsters can’t be your friend? Whenever someone bullied or yelled at you as a kid, who wouldn’t have wanted a buddy that was ten times your size and stronger than everyone you encountered? If you were the kind of kid who stayed up for hours at night imagining such a scenario, then Eric Powell‘s Chimichanga is the book for you.
The book centers around the precocious young Lula, a bearded girl who lives at a financially troubled circus. After encountering a witch in the woods, Lula discovers what she believes to be a pretty rock, but in fact is a large egg. On her way home, the egg hatches, revealing giant monster which she names Chimichanga. The creature becomes fiercely loyal to Lula, trains with her, and eventually joins her at the circus.
What follows this, I dare not summarize, because in order to fully enjoy Powell’s work, you must experience it firsthand. My words could never do justice to the madcap world created by Powell, and any attempt to do so would lessen the magic it has to offer. For those who need a reference, Chimichanga can most nearly be likened to an early Warner Brothers animated short, had it been directed by Tim Burton. While the story and art are geared for all ages, Chimichanga is expertly crafted to send a specific message to its adult readers: it’s okay to grow up, but don’t forget how you got there.
There are all kinds of adults in the book, and most of them live the kind of jaded life that comes with age. They may all be outrageous caricatures of adult stereotypes, or be a talking fish, but they nevertheless embody what happens to every child once they grow up and become distracted by adulthood. Lula is innocent yes, but most of the time she also appears to be the only one around her who truly sees things as they are. She isn’t concerned about money or the news, and she celebrates what it is that makes her unique. When she first sees Chimichanga, she doesn’t see the monster that everyone else gawks at, all she sees is a new friend. She sees his strengths and embraces them, a quality most of us begin to forget around adolescence.
Chimichanga isn’t a dark and gritty murder mystery, or a battle between two fantastical foes. There are no caped crusaders, brooding anti-heroes, or events with cataclysmic consequences where all of life hangs in the balance. At its core, Chimichanga is an honest, nostalgic story that entertains as much as it helps us remember who we once were.