By J. Marc Schmidt
64 pages, black and white
Published by Slave Labor Graphics
There are a lot of “coming of age” stories being told, in all types of media and in all shapes and forms. It’s a story that everyone’s familiar with, having had to live some part of it one’s self as time goes by. That’s certainly what J. Marc Schmidt tapped into for his new graphic novel—but unlike most stories of this nature, Schmidt took a slightly different tactic. His story is about a group of eggs.
Feather, Five Spot, Cloud, Bumply, Shelly, and Connor are six eggs all together in a carton that was purchased at the grocery store. When they discover the fate awaiting them at the end of their long journey that began on a farm, they decide it’s time to make a break for freedom. The only thing is that it’s a very dangerous world in which to be an egg. That’s why Feather’s ready for something different. He wants to be a ninja.
Part of the fun of Egg Story is that Schmidt starts his story off in a simple manner, with it seemingly nothing more than eggs moving from being laid towards eventually eaten (or worse). It’s around the time that the eggs parachute off the fridge with the aid of tissues, though, that you realize not everything is normal in the world of Egg Story. There’s a level of unpredictability infused throughout Egg Story, with plot twists and surprises galore that have serious ramifications for all of Schmidt’s egg characters. As Egg Story moves towards its conclusion, perhaps the biggest surprise is how much you’ll come to care for these little eggs as they try to survive in a world really not suited for them. Schmidt takes their struggles seriously and as he presents each new obstacle in their path, you desperately want them to succeed. Now that’s good writing.
Schmidt’s art is a pretty simplistic style, one that when illustrating the lives of eggs is a pretty good fit. He’s able to give his little egg characters determined expressions on their faces, and watching them move through the world is visually amusing thanks to Schmidt. He’s not quite as adept with drawing people—they just don’t seem rendered quite right, although it’s hard to place exactly why—but they’re such a small part of Egg Story that it’s not really a problem. The best bits are when Schmidt has his eggs doing things like exercising, or putting on makeup, or dancing to music; he’s able to give them human motivation just like any other character in a comic.
Egg Story is goofy in some places and deadly serious in others. From start to finish, though, it’s thoroughly enjoyable. A rare book where its unpredictability actually comes from the story itself rather than the author making things erratic for the hell of it, Egg Story has an internal logic that holds everything together and gives its audience a worthwhile reading experience. This is a lot of fun.