Scary stuff, kids!

Upside Down: A Vampire Tale by Jess Smart Smiley. Top Shelf, 2012. 978160309889.

Harold and his parents are vampires. They live (in bat form) inside Professor Adams’ piano. Candy-loving Harold’s visit to the dentist ends with him having his teeth pulled and waiting for a replacement set. He’s too ashamed to go home without vampire teeth and ends up hanging out with a pair of regular bats named Randy and John. A witch named Vermillion wants to steal an immortality potion from Professor Adams after accidentally killing all of the other witches. Harold, Randy, and John end up being pawns in her scheme before a heroic escape involving her pet frog.

This is a great kid comic. The story is easy to follow, the dialogue is funny, and apart from the magic spells and immortality potions the story is mostly about relationships between family and friends. The illustrations are loose and fairly simple, and the characters wonderfully expressive. I particularly liked Vermillion’s various cool outfits. For a traditional-looking green witch with a pointy hat, she’s very fashionable!

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