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A Not So Special Valentine's With Napoleon Dynamite

Published on

Napoleon Dynamite Valentine's Day Special

Writer: Megan Brown

Art & Colors: Christine Larsen

Design and Letters: Christa Miesner

Published by IDW

I was in high school when Napoleon Dynamite came out and the movie really spoke to me. Napoleon is a character I relate to very strongly. I too was a tall, lanky, and awkward kid with curly hair and glasses. I had obscure interests and was a bit of an oddball. Plus the movie taught me that Hilary Duff had a hot older sister, who miraculously did not look like a Muppet. For awhile now I've been aware that IDW was publishing Napoleon Dynamite comics, but never had the chance to pick one up. So I was excited when I had a chance to review this Valentine's Day Special. As a fan of the movie, it pains me to say that I really didn't enjoy this comic.

The plot of this Valentine's Day Special is a really fun concept. Pedro wants to ask a girl out for Valentine's Day. Napoleon doesn't think Pedro is cool enough to secure a yes from his crush. So they spend the week before the holiday trying to come up with the coolest possible way for Pedro to ask out the girl he likes. There are quite a few sight gags and funny lines, but most of the time the dialogue feels really clunky. Much of the dialogue just doesn't read like the movie characters' style of speech. Writer Megan Brown comes closest with Napoleon, but Pedro and Deb's dialogue lack the quirky charm that makes their characters so memorable. Each are written with very generic styles of speech. One redeeming factor of this Valentine's Day Special is that Brown delivers an incredibly cute ending.

The artwork in this issue has some high points, but overall the negatives outweigh the positives. Artist Christine Larsen draws each character so that they bare a strong resemblance to their movie counterpart. The art also has a textured appearance that gives each panel an interesting look. From an art perspective, the page layouts were my favorite part. Using splashes, Brown and Larsen work together to fit many story elements on single pages. Unfortunately, other aspects of the artwork are not well executed. Pedro's mustache seems appears and disappear from one panel to the next. Unless his mouth is open, Pedro's mustache blends in with the line of his upper chin, making it look like his mouth is in a cartoon frowny face. Larsen's color palette is also too muted. Everything in the movie, from the clothing to the scenery is bright. Yet all the colors are dark and subdued, giving the entire issue a muddy appearance.

The Napoleon Dynamite Valentine's Day Special isn't all bad. Unfortunately, the negatives outweigh the positives. It's fun to see the characters from the movie appear in a comic book, but both the story and the artwork leave a lot to be desired. There are funny moments, which come more from visual gags and less from the dialogue. Yet on the whole, the artwork suffers from odd color choices and mismatched levels of detail. If you are in the mood for a cute Valentine's Day story, then you might find something to like about this comic. Fans of the movie however, may want to skip this holiday special.

STORY: 2 / 5

ART: 1 / 5