Book Review: Calamity Jack

Calamity Jack is the sequel to Rapunzel’s Revenge. While it is not entirely necessary to read Rapunzel’s Revenge to enjoy Calamity Jack, I would heartily recommend that you do, since there are a few references to Rapunzel’s Revenge in Calamity Jack.

In this Wild-West-graphic-novel retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, Jack is a born schemer living in the city of Shyport whose plans don’t always work out for the best. His mother runs a modest bakery, and she bakes the giant Blunderboar’s bread. One day Jack is fed up with the way Blunderboar treats his mother and decides to put a scheme into action that will hopefully take Blunderboar out and earn his mother a fortune in the bargain.

Unfortunately, Jack fails, and leaves Shyport to avoid Blunderboar’s wrath. Now, years later, he’s returned with his best friend Rapunzel and her trusty braids to set things right.  But Blunderboar has been busy in Jack’s absence, and has taken over Shyport just as surely as Rapunzel’s old nemesis Gothel took over the Wild West, and taken Jack’s mother hostage to boot!  Add to that legions of giant ants that are attacking Shyport, and an old friend of Jack’s who’s a wee bit upset that he abandoned her without a warning, and you’ve got a mess of trouble that our heroes may not be able to extricate themselves from.  How can Jack save his mother and Shyport when he can’t even save himself?

Calamity Jack is another fabulous graphic novel from the pens of the Hales. Spouses Shannon and Dean Hale have written a witty, dramatic story, and Nathan Hale (unrelated) created illustrations that add layers of meanings to the story.  While it is true that I liked Rapunzel’s Revenge better than Calamity Jack, this book is still a superb addition to the fairy-tale-with-a-twist genre.


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