Review: The Altered History of Willow Sparks

Originally posted on Irish Comic News (8/Mar/2018)

Written and illustrated by Tara O’Connor.
Lettered by Crank!.
Cover colour art by Katy Farina.

Most people at some point in their life will imagine how their life would be that much better if they could make that one change to it. For Willow, it’s not something left to the imagination after she discovers a book with her name on it while covering the evening-shift at the library. On further examination, she realises that it documents her life. It even documents her reading the book as she is actually reading it. After noticing a pen that is attached to the book marked, “for emergencies only”, Willow takes the book home with her. She then tries to re-write details of her life by adding notes to her book. But as Willow soon finds out, destiny has ways of protecting itself from those that seek to resist its plans.

The artwork really captures the range of emotions from the cast, be it the cruelty of the bullies or awkwardness of a secret crush. Which is important to this type of story because it’s the relationships of the characters that will keep the reader turning the pages. The interior is line art with grey tones used to give it a bit more depth. I must say that I did like how the grey tones were used. Some panels had a lot of grey tones going on with a white area within it that drew the readers eyes to the item of importance in that particular panel.

The lettering keeps with the spirit of the comic. The dialogue is easy to read with a clear flow through the pages. There were two things I did really like with the sound effects. One was how a ‘sigh’ as Willow drifts off to sleep, it had a tiring quality to it. The other was when groups were laughing at Willow. The ‘panels were filled with ‘ha ha’ repeated over and over. It reminded me of when your a teen where a humiliation happens and it seems as if laughter is all that exists in the world.

The Altered History of Willow Sparks examines the possibility of what can happen should you have the ability to re-write your life to what you think it should be. Part of the risk is finding out that the best story you could have is the one you had all along before too much damage has been done.

The Altered History of Willow Sparks is a wonderfully drawn comic that reminds us to be careful about what we wish for.

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