I had written a much longer, and far less charitable review of this graphic novel. I thought I was being perhaps overly-harsh, so I scrapped it and started again. Because I have a heart, somewhere, tucked away in the back there.
“B.B. Wolf and the 3L.P.s” is a solid enough story. It’s not particularly clever, there aren’t any shocking twists in the plot that you don’t really foresee but it is solid. The story pits wolves against pigs, in a “lite”-Animal Farm style, (the Orwell classic, not the shall we say rustic adult movie of the same name). The wolves are basically your’ oppressed demographic, only recently even allowed to own land. While the pigs are the wealthy land-owning, (and therefore power-having) upper class. A loophole exists in the law of the land whereby wolves are required to proclaim their holdings every few years/generation/something. Since this has not been done the Pigs are re-possessing B.B.s family farm.
The repossession is halted but ultimately B.B. loses much more than his farm. Which turns it into a revenge story, sort of. Honestly I didn’t really enjoy this book. Mainly because other than the Orwell-esque selection of wolves vs. pigs, (which clearly may simply have been because in the childrens nursery rhyme of similar nomenclature it’s wolves vs. pigs), there’s nothing particularly insightful or inspired about this story. It’s tight, it’s coherent, it makes sense, but it’s also not terribly original. It’s a poor, and outdated metaphor for racism which is very obviously what J.D. Arnold is going for. Racism is still alive and well in the world, but the way it’s presented in this tale is completely one-dimensional and a massive over-simplification of the whole mess. And nobody can tell me that’s not what Arnold is going for here, I mean the pigs actually burn wooden “p”s in the wolves garden at one stage.
The art is solid. More than solid, Rich Koslowski has done an admirable job putting Arnolds characters on the page. There’s a wonderful use of light and shade throughout the book conveying the mood at different points in the story. There’s also a nice contrast between some of the quieter scenes, like B.B. Playing the blues, and some of the more violent scenes, of which there are several. Still, for my tastes this book is too derivative. I’ve said the story is solid, and it is, but it’s too much of an over-simplification. Plus I’m fairly certain I’ve read this, or a similar story probably dozens of times over the years, that the characters are wolves and pigs in this instance doesn’t make up for the tired nature of the material.
This might be a good read for kids, if you have any.