On the surface, The Adventures of Drippy the Newsboy has the look of a lighthearted children’s story. Rest assured, the story in Julian Lawrence’s debut graphic novel is anything but childish. Lawrence, who adapts this story from Stephen Crane’s George’s Mama, succeeds in making this story fresh and enjoyable.
In Drippy’s Mama, readers are given a tale that will make you think twice about drinking, and even more about how we can overlook our mothers.
Drippy is a compassionate and friendly newsboy who hopes to gain the affections of his attractive neighbour, Dripette. However, in the city of Drippytown, the last surviving of five sons works hard to support his widowed mother. He dedicates little time to himself, and is not accepted by those in his community.
This all changes one day when Drippy reconnects with an old acquaintance named Harry, a man with a thirst for whiskey and not much else. Harry acquaints the naive newsboy to the world of alcohol, and before long he becomes addicted to the newfound lifestyle. Living life with reckless abandon, Drippy’s life begins to spiral out of control, affecting his job, and worse, his relationship with his mother.
Julian Lawrence packs the story with a remarkable amount of emotion. Every page is packed with resonant moments that readers can connect with. Drippy’s Mama is a vivid mirror to the follies of youth; to those of us whom have shared in the same youthful exuberance as young Drippy, it can be at times hard to read.
The character is one audiences can connect with almost immediately. His caring nature makes him admirable from the moment he is introduced. It makes it even harder for readers when he begins his dark descent into the world of alcoholism, and even harder when you see him turn harshly against his frail, loving mother. These moments amidst many others will leave readers with a heavy heart.
The world of Drippytown is drawn in a way that is cartoon-esque yet packed with insurmountable maturity. The artwork reflects the immaturity of its protagonist and his glorified vision of the world of drinking and partying. Drippy’s supporting cast is a host of diverse characters ranging from an inebriated sock puppet to a hard drinking goat in a business jacket. These contribute to the rich world of Drippytown and provide a subtle commentary to just some of the people we can come across in the real world.
Drippy’s Mama is a smartly written coming-of-age tale, with an accessibility that spans every age group. It’s a poignant story that plays on the heart strings of readers young and old alike.
Above all, Drippy the Newsboy is a story that allows readers to reflect more deeply on how crusades toward self-realization can leave us to mistreat the people who have our best interest in mind.