Books for Babes provides info on the sort of comics that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. This week we recommend ‘Rainbow Brite’ #1, out now from Dynamite Entertainment.
by Stefania Rudd. As a child of the 80s I was no stranger to the heavy-handed character conglomeration being marketed to me at every turn. It was not uncommon to be watching a cartoon featuring specific characters (with ads for toys of the show during commercial breaks) while wearing jammies with their face on them, polishing off a bowl of cereal tied into their universe. Oh, 1980-something, you were a glorious time!
Now those children of the 80s are all grown up (sort of), full of nostalgia and possibly raising children of their own. But they still have an opportunity to relive some of that Saturday morning magic through new versions of their favorite shows or new mediums like comic books. Our next trip down memory lane is with a colorful gal that is no stranger to rebooting, Rainbow Brite.
Dynamite Entertainment revives the classic Hallmark-created character with an all-ages monthly series which delves into Rainbow’s origin story—and what I’m sure will be many spreading-color adventures beyond that. In the first issue we meet Willow and Wisp, two imaginative best friends who spend their free time writing and LARPping their days away to escape the doldrums of suburban living. We learn that Wisp is a latchkey kid (how 80s!) while her hard-working mom is off doing the best she can to keep a stable home for her, and before long Wisp finds herself in danger. But a sprite named Twinkle soon appears and helps her, which sets the stage for all the magical things to come.
Jeremy Whitley (My Little Pony, Unstoppable Wasp) has taken on the task of writing this series. He is no stranger to properties aimed at kids; in fact, he’s quite a boon for Rainbow Brite, as he’s a creator who strives to write strong female leads no matter the material. In this debut issue Whitley establishes the premise and keeps the dialogue simple, and thanks to Taylor Esposito’s lettering the story is always clear, even for younger readers. And while this issue’s focus is more on the realities of Wisp’s life, there’s still plenty to look forward to in the issues to come: What awaits us in Rainbow Land? How will Rainbow Brite’s ultimate transformation occur in this new series? Why was Wisp chosen to become Rainbow Brite—and how will this affect her relationship with Willow?
This is the beauty of today’s comics: Brand tie-in comics have long been under-par exercises in quick cash-grabs, but nowadays these sort of things are handled with far more care, and these stories are told far more robustly. Rainbow Brite #1 is emblematic of how great things are for today’s young readers.
Artist Brittney Williams (Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat!, Goldie Vance) brings her recognizable and soft cartoonish style to the proceedings, and Valentina Pinto’s colors are exactly what you would hope to see in a book titled Rainbow Brite—they’re stimulating, they’re bold, and they’re absolutely wonderful. Overall the artwork easily wraps you up in the story. I can’t wait to see how Rainbow Land is portrayed in future issues under this creative team, and things look especially great for the other characters in this beloved story, as well. (Specifically, for the Color Kids and the Sprites!)
Rainbow Brite #1 is a captivating start to what is clearly a strong all-ages series. Whether this is a trip down memory lane or your first time meeting Wisp/Rainbow Brite, this revitalization of Hallmark’s iconic character should add some color to your life.
Written by Jeremy Whitley.
Art by Brittney Williams.
Coloring by Valentina Pinto.
Letters by Taylor Esposito.
This book contains lessons of friendship and monsters.
Age range: 7 and up