The Amazing World of Gumball #1
by Frank Gibson and Tyson Hesse
Kaboom! has another Cartoon Network TV series to add to its lineup of monthly comics. Writer Frank Gibson and artist Tyson Hesse are the creative team to debut The Amazing World of Gumball #1. The series features a few different visual art styles, mimicking the show’s mixed-media presentation. The different visual forms never take center stage, as Hesse manages to infuse them without letting it become distracting. Hesse has a strong sense of visual comedy and it is paired well with Gibson’s script to make for a rather well done first issue.
As the book opens, the main cast bursts from the doors of Elmore Junior High at the end of the school day. Their excitement leads them to begin daydreaming about the pleasures of the remainder of their day to be spent to as little as possible. The planning is cut short when Tobias interrupts them to make sure everyone takes notice as he has something cool to show them. Gibson, just as in his few bits of imagination about the lazy afternoon, has a great sense of youthful humor as the children try to predict just what it might be that Tobias has to show them. The sequence doesn’t overstay its welcome but balances the humor and timing just right.
As it would turn out, Tobias makes it appear as though he is driving a car, using his dad to work the pedals and instantly Gumball is sent down a path to outdo this act. Certainly Gumball can find someway to outdo Tobias, be cooler, and gain back the attention he so desperately desires. Gumball and Darwin head home to ask permission to borrow the family car, to which they receive little resistance. Mr. Watterson continues his streak of laziness and irresponsibility well-documented in the show, by simply attaching training wheels to the car and placing trash cans on the heads of the boys to act as helmets. The entire sequence, meant to mirror that of a parent sending a child on their first bike ride, is truly funny. Gibson’s sense of comedy and character voices are largely what makes this first issue so successful. Fans of the show will be quite pleased with how well put together this first issue is. For others, Gibson’s arc on display in this first issue feels like a classic Saturday-Morning-Cartoon misadventure and in that way, its recognizable structure will bypass and unfamiliarity with the television series.
In addition to the well crafted script, Tyson Hesse does a fantastic job in capturing the visual aesthetics of the show. The characters and the general world of Gumball are translated very well to the print comic. Additionally, Hesse is great with the physical gags and visual humor necessary to depict the script such that the entire package works. Put together, The Amazing World of Gumball is a very funny and well made first issue.