Writer/Illustrator Dustin Hansen makes his graphic novel debut with My Video Game Ate My Homework for DC Comics. The comic tells the story of Dewey Jenkins, a 13-year old kid who is in danger of flunking out of his science class. Dewey’s spent the last three weeks building a volcano that’s sure to get him the A+ he needs to pass. But when a virtual reality game called The Infinity Lens zaps his science project, things go from bad to worse. To save his grade, Dewey, his sister Beatrice, and their friends Kat and Ferg journey into the game for the ultimate adventure.
My Video Game Ate My Homework is a triumph. It’s a fun, relatable tale that takes the reader on a high-stakes journey while shining a light on common social issues. It touches on teamwork, feeling comfortable in your own skin, responsibility, and even sexuality. One of the biggest topics it talks about, though, is dyslexia. It’s incredible to see more and more stories bring subject matter like this to the forefront and highlight it in such a positive and inspiring manner.
The dialogue is pretty straightforward and the pacing is right where it needs to be as well. In terms of the book as a whole, it’s very entertaining and feels perfectly balanced all around. It’s like a cross between Jumanji, The Goonies, Scott Pilgrim, and The Magic School Bus. In terms of the characters themselves, everyone seems pretty authentic and filled with depth.
Hansen does an amazing job of combining his video game experience with his illustrations. Characters have avatars, each person has their own attributes, and when the characters stomp on enemies, they get points. Everything is laid out very well and is so easy to follow.
The cartoonish style he uses fits the story well — think Cyberchase meets Doug. Besides that, Hansen’s use of panel counts is both inventive and drives the story forward page by page. And his splash pages are fantastic.
My Video Game Ate My Homework is one of the best new graphic novels you can pick up right now. Its life lessons on the importance of friendship, asking for help, and not being afraid of who you are are just what the youth of America need to read. If you love video games and comics, and I’m sure most people reading this do, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of this book.
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