The War at Ellsmere

The War at Ellsmere
by Faith Erin Hicks
SLG Publishing, 2008

Another interesting graphic novel suitable for young teenage girls – if you assume that the average comic is aimed at boys, so anything that dares to present a story that isn’t directly focussed on superheroes or robots must be practically bright pink and smell of strawberries. I might as well say: suitable for young teenage girls, and particularly sensitive and intelligent young teenage boys.

In this case, a new scholarship student arrives at an exclusive boarding school for girls, where she must contend with snobbery, bullies, and a strange mythical creature that lives in the nearby woods. Any story set in an archaic boarding school with orphans, a redhead with straggly hair, a dark-haired hero with big glasses, an upperclass blond super-bully and strange things in the woods is at least subconsciously looking over J.K. Rowling’s shoulder, but unlike every other online reviewer, I didn’t make this connection until I was almost at the end of the book. It’s less cynical than trying to cash in on a trend with, I dunno, a story about sparkly vampires, and at least Ellsmere has sharp dialogue and vivid art and characterisation.

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2 Responses to “The War at Ellsmere”

  1. I didn’t think J. K. Rowling; I thought Tom Siddell. I guess there’s cash for everyone.

  2. Wow, cartoonists should really leave this genre alone for a few years. My favourite school stories were the Greyfriars School tales by Frank Richards. I discovered them from Boy’s Own annuals belonging to my father, and for some inexplicable reason my intermediate school in the ’80s had some of The Magnet reprints.

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