Published on August 14th, 2021 | by Chris O'Connor
Choose Your Own Adventure: Eighth Grade Witch Review
Summary: Choose Your Own Adventure gains new life in graphic novel form.
If you grew up in the 80’s there’s a very good chance you are familiar with Choose Your Own Adventure books. That thrill of reading up to a certain page… then having to decide which page to turn to in order to continue the adventure in the way you want (and probably keeping a finger in the page you were on, in case you decide you actually really meant to choose the other option). Now, thanks to Oni Press, you can relive that fun but in graphic novel form! Inspired by the original by C.E. Simpson, Eighth Grade Witch is the first title to be given the make over.
I think it’s probably a good idea to have gone back into the catalogue of books for a title to update rather than start with a completely fresh story. There’s a fan base who will already be familiar with this particular story and want to see how it translates to graphic novel format and others who may not know this particular story but know the franchise and are keen to see how it plays out. Updating the story with some modern elements (text messages instantly brings the story to a more contemporary setting) makes the experience more accessible for a current audience. Importantly that key element is still there, reading along till you come to a decision point and fretting over which option you want to take (possibly jotting down which path you took so you don’t repeat it and can find a new option next time) and it’s still just as fun.
This is obviously the big difference here. The original books certainly had pictures but no where near as many as we have here. A nice touch is having a number of the pictures depicted in a first person perspective. Seeing “your” arms stretching into the scene from the edges of the frame is a fun way of feeling more “in” the adventure. The line work is nice and clean and often quite bold, there’s not much chance of getting lost in messy panels here which is great. The colours are also lovely and vibrant giving a lot of life to each page.
When I saw there was a chance to have a look at a Choose Your Own Adventure book I jumped at the chance… when I learnt it was a graphic novel version I was intrigued. I’m happy to say that this new presentation is a lot of fun. The heart of the series is here beating as strong as ever. The visual style adds a nice fresh twist on the old classic. The two things I would note are: One, this particular story has some fairly gruesome scenes (it is a horror after all). Two, I read this in digital format and it’s just not the same as being able to keep a finger in a page to check your option and then come back to the stork fork… maybe different digital readers work better but I would say if I had the choice between digital or physical copy… I would absolutely choose physical.
An easy title to recommend, grab it and have some fun.
Publisher: Oni Press
Writer: Andrew E.C. Gaska, (original C.E. Simpson)
Artist: Valerio Chiola, Leandro Casca
Colourist: Thiago Ribeiro
Genre: Teen Fiction, Horror, Action/Adventure
Format: 144pgs, FC, TPB
Release Date: 24th August, 2021