Batpig: When Pigs Fly

Batpig: When Pigs Fly
Rob Harrell
Walker Books

Look skywards and what do you see? It’s porcine hero Batpig hurtling by. Back in the day he was Gary Yorkshire – just a borin’ old pink pig living with his parents in an apartment in Big City, USA who spent his time chomping through tasty sandwiches, reading comics, playing video games and playing cards with his pals. Brooklyn the bat and Carl the fish.

Having been accidentally bitten on the snout by Brooklyn, Gary develops super hunger, super sight, and strength, and the ability to float. Unbeknown to Gary, his friend the bat was radioactive at the time, something he only fesses up to when questioned by the pig. That night comes a revelation, with his superhero powers Gary is now Batpig. Gary tells Brooklyn of this development but keeps it from Carl who soon gets the feeling that his friends are hiding something.

Gary meanwhile is receiving flying lessons from Brooklyn who remains firmly on the ground.

Although Carl realises the current situation could well be on account of his inability to keep a secret, understandably his hurt feelings develop into anger and he decides to become the super-villain of the saga. Will he prove to be the instrument of Batpig’s undoing as the superhero goes about apprehending litter scatterers and preventing robberies? Or maybe Carl and Brooklyn could agree to work together and save the day for our superhero and that includes finding a means of covering up the ‘pimple’ on Gary’s rear end. All this is revealed through a superb blend of narration with puns aplenty, dialogue, illustrations, comic asides, and flash-backs – that’s the rocket part.

In the second episode the friends face off against a heinous human foe, the Butcher, a woman who is determined to use the power of the world’s meat for her own ends and has a robotic dough-dispensing machine that makes pigs in blankets.

Yes this might all seem totally silly but there are themes of the importance of maintaining your own identity, friendship and the issues of three-way camaraderie; and all three characters are relatable to human readers. If you know readers who enjoy graphic novels such as The Investigators, they’ll love this, as will all those who prefer stories with the emphasis on the visual.

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