If you had a choice of going to school or off to fight dragons, which would you pick?
And that is the right decision! This plight is the central point of Growing Up Enchanted: Volume One. This wonderful graphic novel is written by Jack Briglio and illustrated by Alexander Serra and is aptly subtitled Fighting Bullies, Hunting Dragons. And just so know, no dragons were hurt in the course of this tale.
We begin our fable in ye olden times, in a land where Frodo would feel right at home in. A little girl named Olianna, but her friends call her Oli, lives in a quaint quiet village with her family. They are composed of her magically indued mother, a heroic knight father, and finally a rambunctious younger brother named Anto who is not quite potty trained. Oli, and we can call her that since we are now friends, has great fun and merriment everyday, eventhrough she is not really allowed to use her magic. But she does, as sneakily as possible and hopes no one notices. And she tries to avoid those pesky owls from the Ministry of Magic. Just kidding. 😉
Everything is fine and wonderful in Oli’s life until three idiotic knights show up seeking her father’s aid in hunting down some vicious, terrible, awful, no-good dragons who plague the lands. Reluctantly, he agrees, and Oli and Anto get all excited for this grand and exciting adventure of Dragon Hunting! Yeah right, like that was gonna happen! Instead the parental units ship Oli off to her first day at school, leaving Anto without his favourite playmate. Life can be so cruel sometimes.
School proves problematic for Oli, what with dealing with a bully, trying to make friends, and remembering the golden rule of Not Using Magic! The frustration of all these silly rules finally make Oli do the unthinkable and head off from school in order to hunt for dragons herself, and if some newfound friends tag along, all the better.
So at this point, the dragon hunt has grown much more complicated. One party, led by her father and accompanied by those three moronic knights is in an unknown competition with the other party, led by Oli and her fun loving school chums. And Anto being Anto, is muddled up in this quest as well. When this convergence of chaos creates commotion at the conclusion, did you expect any less from our friend Oli? Whew, say that five times fast.
This lovely Eisner nominated story was released digitally first two years ago, then shortly thereafter as a print trade. The second volume of Oli’s magical adventures is already out online and offline, and I hope to score a copy at this year’s FanExpo.
Growing Up Enchanted was brought to my awareness at the 2011 FanExpo by Comic Geek Speaks own Adam “Murd” Murdough, and for that I am eternally grateful. Oli and Anto and friends will provide charm and whimsy and thought to your life. Oh, and plenty of tips on how to hunt Dragons. That is also abundantly important!
P.S. Growing Up Enchanted is copyright 2012 to Jack Briglio, Alexander Serra, and Markosia Enterprises Ltd. It is published by AAM/Markosia.