Episode One (The Bad Guys #1)



Aaron Blabey,  Episode One (The Bad Guys #1),  Scholastic Australia,  1 July 2015,  144pp.,  $9.99 (pbk),  ISBN 9781760150426

This graphic novel for primary school children, by the always entertaining Aaron Blabey, is an absolute joy to read. Mr Wolf – dressed Reservoir Dogs style in a nod to gangster villains – wants you to know that even though he occasionally dresses like an old lady, it does not mean that he’s always a ‘bad guy’. He’s just misunderstood. Just like Mr Snake and Mr Piranha, who submit their rap sheets for the reader to peruse, but set out to show that they are really good guys, by cruising around in a souped up V8 with Mr Shark, saving cats from trees and releasing dogs from the pound. The satire in this book is spot on, and even though much of the sophisticated humour went over my four year old’s head, she still laughed at the dead pan delivery of the characters, the glum looking Bolivian piranha, and the fluff jokes. I laughed at it all. Refreshing and fun, this one is highly recommended.

Reviewed by Angie Holst


1 Comment

  1. I am thrilled to read another funny book by Aaron Blabey. He’s become my favourite illustrator/Author this year, with “Thema the Unicorn”, “Pig the Pug” series and “Phirana’s Don’t Eat Bananas” on my list of favourite younger picture books. I read a copy of “The Bad Guys: episode” one about a month ago, and I eagerly await the next episode “Mission Unpluckable”, coming out November 1st. I think that young readers will engage with the stories and have a good laugh at the Bad Guys attempt to become Good Guys.

    I am mostly interested Blabey’s illustration style, and wonder where he studied art, or did it come naturally? His illustrations are dynamic, bold and comically entertaining, with minimal background detail. The character’s have large eyes and very expressive facial features. The images are not completely constrained within the page, and living another life outside the book, as characters enter from the side or bottom of the page.

    Blabey uses dramatic angles and perspectives in the page design to put you in the scene. Even though the images are black and white (greyscale), they certainly are working effectively for the newspaper-like, gangster feel for this novel.

    Keep the Blabey books coming.


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