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Bumperboy Loses his Marbles
Review by Kerry Garvin

Bumperboy Loses his Marbles

Debbie Huey
Debbie Huey

Ad House Books
Softcover Collection
Publish Date
June 2005
Cover Price
Once I read the title and saw the adorable portrait of a shocked and horrified Bumperboy on the cover I knew I would have to pick up Debbie Huey’s Xeric grant winning graphic novel, Bumperboy Loses his Marbles. Originally released in a three-part series of mini-comics, this marks the first time they’ve been compiled into one issue. The Xeric foundation has yet to let me down and has always supported quality books from new and upcoming creators. Bumperboy is a great addition to the Xeric-supported catalog as Huey succeeds on many levels here.

The title is perhaps the most accurate and succinct plot summary for the book as Bumperboy does indeed lose his marbles on its pages. This is particularly tragic as Bumperboy and his friend, Gordy, are to compete in a marble tournament that very afternoon. Frederik, a particular nasty bully and fellow competitor, orchestrates a horrible prank that causes Bumperboy to kick his beloved marble bag into a borp hole. Like a rip in the time-space continuum, the borp hole spreads the marbles all throughout Bumperboy’s town. He must now use various borp holes to search for the missing marbles and make it to the competition on time.

Most enjoyable is the innocent nature of the story. It is clean, cute, and refreshing. Huey writes so all readers can understand, but doesn’t dumb down the story or simplify the characters’ dialog to slang. This makes the book the perfect tool to introduce young readers to comics. I think it would work especially with the Pokemon and Yugio crowd as they would relate to the importance of the competition to Bumperboy and the direness he feels when his prize collection is lost.

The themes of friendship and good versus bad make the story universal. With the exception of Bumperboy’s adventure through the borp holes, everyone has experienced a similar tale. It’s his reaction to the adversity he faces that makes him and his story so lovable.

Huey triumphs in her portrayal of Bumperboy and his world as well. She keeps her lines thick and doesn’t focus on the backgrounds. Bumperboy and friends take up most of each panel and are worth a close viewing. Like the cover so clearly illustrates, Huey gives all characters great expressions. From Bumperboy’s worry at losing his marbles to Gordy’s anxiety about the contest and Frederik’s naughtiness, each character’s emotions are easily read. This allows Huey to cut down on the text and lets the readers enjoy the clutter free pages.

I’ve written about my love for cute characters and stories here before and this definitely fills my need this month. Each character, but Gordy especially, is simply adorable on every panel. This rivals only Andy Runton’s Owly for the cutest story of the year award. Huey makes it charming without being over the top and saccharine. That’s something all readers can appreciate.

Bonus Features
Bumperboy Loses his Marbles is an 89 page story in a small package. Readers are also treated to a cute five-page short starring Bumperboy and Bumperpup at the conclusion of the title story.
Final Words

Huey’s work most definitely earned the Xeric grant it received. I’m not sure of the Xeric Foundation’s exact mission, but it has supported a touching and different graphic novel that can appeal to readers both young and old. Bumperboy Loses his Marbles is a great easily relatable story with cute characters and good morals. At just under eight dollars you won’t find a much better deal on the market this summer.

Highly Recommended

Kerry Garvin (email) is a total nerd. She once made a robot out of tin foil for a boy she loved, but was too shy to deliver it. Kerry can also be found rambling at The Comic Queen and A View From the Ham.
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