Andi Watson

Grace Gibson is moving to a new town, where her father is to be the headteacher of her primary school. The town is called Catastrophe, and it certainly lives up to its name: with its volcano and giant robots roaming the town, this is hardly the welcoming party Grace was expecting. After some unfortunate experimenting including an old chemistry set and bubble gum, she finds herself with a very pink and very brave alter-ego, Gum Girl. Soon enough Grace/Gum Girl gets to practice her new powers to protect her school and town from the Evil Geniuses and their malicious plans.

After the wonderful Glister (see my reviews of The Haunted Teapot and The House Hunt), Andi Watson is back with a brand, and very different, new comic series. Gum Girl follows the great comic tradition of the superhero and offers a brand new heroine who will be a hit with young comic fans. Its bubble gum, pop and happy (nearly manga-esque) atmosphere will make it particularly attractive to girls. After all, Grace is a girl herself, facing many school-related issues (fitting in, friendship, wearing the right clothes and having the right hair) and young female readers will relate to that, and will also appreciate seeing a brave girl character, who, despite her own difficulties with fitting in, chooses to stay and face them so she can help others. But my nine year-old son loved Gum Girl too (and he loved Glister when he was a bit younger too). 

There is plenty of humour in the three individual stories that make up this volume, for example the evil chef being called Oliver Ramsay. It is really upbeat and colourful, and has great appeal for its targeted audience. It will also serves as a great first introduction to superhero comics. There can be a bit of violence in that genre, and Gum Girl offers a a more placid, safer alternative to start young readers off.

Gum Girl: Catastrophe Calling is a bright and fun comic for children.
Andi Watson is such a talented comic artist who can pitch his work perfectly for his targeted audience. Another jewel in the crown of British comics for young audiences. More, please!

All illustrations © Andi Watson

Source: review copy from publisher