Wizard Beach #1
Writer: Shaun Simon
Artists: Conor Nolan & Meg Casey
Days of olde meet with boardwalk culture in Wizard Beach to make the silliest venture into magic you’ll ever read. The team delivers cooky characters, old-school visuals, and a familiar story anyone can enjoy. Like much BOOM! content before it, Wizard Beach is aimed at younger audiences. This is the perfect gateway to comics for tiny readers and is the start to an enjoyable storybook. Whether you have your own kids, nieces or nephews, work at a daycare or non-profit, this book is the move.
The story begins out in a fantastical land where an age-old battle rages between dark forces and good magical beings. We learn the wizards are spent, nearing their end as their magic dwindles. Not heeding his father’s advice, Hexley Daggert abandons his world in search of his uncle Salazar Ragbottom, seeking his guidance. When he finds his uncle, Hexley realizes Salazar isn’t exactly what he had in mind. It’s a story we all know somewhat. A youngin’ seeks out someone they admire, discovers they’re a bit out-of-whack, though we know they’ll learn from them eventually. This is what makes the book grand to me. I need not contemplate anything further because it’s a simple story, but to kids, it’s the first step into fantasy.
With the fantasy genre, there comes its cavalcade of outrageous characters. Salazar Ragbottom is the first nutjob we meet, him looking like a Florida retiree sipping lemonade while sunbathing. His eccentrics fill the bulk of the issue such as his use of fairies to groom his chin-to-floor length beard. The Wizard Beach Council are the next round of interesting individuals introduced to us.
While we don’t get much time with them this issue, they definitely make a large impression with their quirks. Fyodor Flamengus, forever the epitome of beach fashion. Belinda Hagfish, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not type with a mind for recreation coordination. Barry Wonder, he’s dead most of the time. Their time is short but promises to add havoc and hijinks throughout the tale. Hexley Daggert is the obvious POV character, the one we use to see into this incredibly confusing but lovable community. Readers will definitely get some great laughs seeing Hex be played against the stable of personalities the team built into the book.
The art has an older feel to it as Nolan’s style clearly takes influence from classic magazines and strips. The retro look adds to the fun for me since it pays homage to comic history with its style. This book is the spitting image of Comic Book Bronze Age fantasy newspaper strips and I adore it. It’s also interesting to see a spread of dragons breathing fire close by a page invoking the Santa Monica Beach. With Casey nailing the colors and creating two distinct worlds through her talent, this book’s art is fabulous. You can expect a great-looking series from this art team.
In short, this book is a great way to get kids reading comic books and enjoying them. Grab the issue and share it with them. They’ll eat up the funny characters and detailed artwork they can stare at for hours. Wizard Beach easily has a shot at being a memorable comic for the next generation of comic book readers.
Wizard Beach #1
A fun start to a promising and magical coming-of-age story.