Review: Cardboard

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel
Paperback, 288 pages

It’s Cam’s birthday, but he and his father are strapped for money; with the economy, there aren’t any jobs for carpenters. With his last $0.78, Cam’s father buys him a cardboard box, which could very well be the worst birthday present in the history of birthday presents. But what if whatever was created with the cardboard came alive? Wouldn’t that be awesome?

This is my third TenNapel graphic novel, the first two being Ghostopolis (which feels a little bit like The Wizard of Oz) and Bad Island.  It seems to me that TenNapel writes a lot about father/son issues. In this case, the dynamic between a father who cannot provide for his son and their relationship, and a son who feels like he cannot live up to his father’s expectations.  The real journey in this graphic novel was not Cam’s as much as it was Marcus’s (he’s the kid who bullied Cam and almost “killed” Cam’s first cardboard person), which I think is an interesting adjustment to the hero journey. Marcus’s change happened too fast for me, as a reader, but it is 288 pages, and told mostly in images, so…

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