Back earlier this summer I rhapsodized about the kids graphic novel Growing Up Enchanted, written by Jack Briglio and drawn by Alex Serra. Our mutual friend Murd from Comic Geek Speak introduced us at last year’s FanExpo, and that is when I scored my cherished copy of Volume One. Now at this past FanExpo, Volume Two is finally in my possession. And to my delight, Briglio and I sat down for a short conversation, all amidst the hustle and bustle of the geek humanity around us.
We started with Briglio telling me about what to expect in this newest adventure of Olianna, our favourite little witch, and Anto, her rambunctious little brother, who with their friends tend to cause chaos. Usually while chasing or playing with Dragons! The focus in this tome is a bit different, with less of Oli’s school life and more of her family life. All while getting involved in another adventure with another dragon, and seeing a whole lot more of this medieval magical time.
“Volume two is a more straight forward action adventure, I wanted to expand the world a bit more, and I wanted to get a little more comfortable in the world” Briglio explained. One concept from earlier that plays out again here is the mixing in of serious issues, with this time we go from bullying to the eternal slumber. “Olianna has for the first time has to deal with the concept of death” stated Briglio.
This is one of the fundamentals from Volume One that I adored, the blending of the factual with the fanciful. We would transition from first day school jitters to Anto gloriously not being potty trained. And this is very intentional on Briglio’s part. “I gravitate in my scripts to always have a little bit of levity no matter the themes that may involve” he said. “For me personally the stories that hit home for me are the ones that tackle serious issues and have drama but their is also a fun component to it” Briglio continued.
At this point I mentioned to Briglio of how, while reading Harry Potter this summer, I was struck by how Growing Up Enchanted feels like a junior level version of J.K. Rowling’s creation. Briglio explained that like Harry Potter, this story will be a multi volume epic, with four more trades planned. “Their is a bigger story behind the adventures” he promised.
With the knowledge of these future stories of Oli on our horizon, I asked him what other things we can look forward to from him. Every week new toon segments are premiered at Saturday Morning Webtoons, and he also is working on strips about a girl stuck in a vacuum, and another with a boy possessing word powers. A bit more mature work is a crime action adventure book coming out from Markosia publishing, and he has several more projects on the go which are secret.
Many of these stories will be, just like Growing Up Enchanted, digital first properties. This recent concept is the idea of releasing chapters for the online readers first, then collecting everything in print after. Briglio is a big proponent of this model, especially for emerging ideas publishers want to try. “It is good for properties that maybe they aren’t sure of” Briglio explained. “In the long run, it is going to help” he thinks.
And thanks to this digital model, we can now all enjoy Oli and Anto and company in Growing Up Enchanted, either on or off line. More stories featuring dragons a lurking out in the woods. More silliness mixed with seriousness. More greatness.