Lulas of the Galaxy
I was looking over my articles and realizing that there was something missing, like a cat without a piece of bread on its head. Then I figured it out! There isn’t just enough damn cuteness. Like, that’s so cute I really want to squeeze it until its head pops off kind of adorable. Which, fun fact, is a phenomenon called “cute aggression”, which explains why “it’s so fluffy I’m gonna die!” resonates so well with us human animals. Ah, such complex creatures. Anyway, I knew the perfect remedy, an adorable little bearded girl with a misunderstood friend.
Her name is Lula, and she’s the star of the great Eric Powell’s Chimichanga, named after her big monster friend that she acquired through a trade of an actual chimichanga. If you’ve never eaten one, you’re missing out because it is the epitome of noms. I first read this amazing book after my own big huggable monster gave it to me, and it quickly became one of my favorites. Lula is a little bearded girl that is a part of a failing circus with her grandpa. She gives up a lock of her beard hair to a witch for an egg that soon hatches Chimi, and he is just the answer to the troubles the circus has been having. Unfortunately, not everybody takes so kindly to him as Lula does, which I don’t see why. What a buncha haters, right? As if that wasn’t bad enough, Lula’s magical beard hair was obtained by an evil pharmaceutical company, who is set on capturing her and taking her prisoner. Then of course, it’s up to Chimi to save the day! Yay!
So like I said, hamster-squeezing adorable. But concealed inside all the squishiness is a very strong little girl, who stands up for her friend and doesn’t judge him, no matter if he’s a little different looking. She’s incredibly brave, and only wants to help her circus family even if they don’t always agree all the time. Lula is sassy in the face of something she doesn’t quite know the details of, but definitely knows they are no good meany-faces. At first glance, she is misjudged as a meek, chubby little girl who just happens to have a great ‘stache, but she’s so much more than that. Her great morals accompanied with a head full of fantastic brains definitely makes her the most courageous character of the story, and a perfect owner of Chimi.
The balance between getting something great for both kids and adults is always a hard one. I think a lot of writers in comics, TV, and movies do the usual cop out: Sneak in a sex joke that goes way over the kids’ heads in order to keep the adults engaged. Which, you know, I get it, you want this to be good for all ages but throwing in random things targeted to different age groups is often confusing and just plain blah. The real talent is shown when a book is loved by these same age groups all on its own, and I believe the key to that is a strong story and well-developed and engaging characters. Eric Powell does this flawlessly, and combined with Dave Stewart’s coloring talents, this is also easily one of the most beautiful books aesthetic-wise on the shelves. Being a bit of an art nerd, I always pick out composition when reading, and every page is well-balanced and exciting but not in the ‘giant epileptic Japanese octopus fighting robots cartoons WWWHHOOAA!’ way. Because that’s just World War Eyeball l and not needed. Also, funny thing, Powell originally was trying to pitch this as a TV series, which didn’t work. We still don’t have a real Goon movie, what’s with this guy’s luck, am I right?
So if you haven’t already, read this book. If you have kids, read it with your kids. You may have to explain the corporate and corrupt evil that is pharmaceutical companies, but that’s no big deal. Just bring up the guy that raised the price of AIDS medication by 5000%, kids are smart, they’ll get it. But really, this book is a delight for not only the eyes, but the soul. It hits you right in the feels in the best way, which we all need from time to time. Also, Lula is a great inspiration for all genders of children, but for little girls especially. In comics, there are so many unrealistic expectations of women that are thrown at kids nonstop; it’s so refreshing to see a simple and adorable cute little girl who kicks butt with her best friend and saves the day.