Owly: Volume Two, Just a Little Blue by Andy Runton

Comic: Owly: Volume Two, Just a little Blue
Release date: 2005 (original), I have the third reprint from 2009
Writer: Andy Runton
Artist: Andy Runton
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
Cover: full color
Interior: black on white paper
Synopsis: Owly is a kind-hearted little owl who knows what it means to be human. 
The second graphic novel in the breakout, all-ages series follows Owly as he learns that sometimes you have to make sacrifices for things that are important, especially friendship.
Relying on a mixture of symbols and expressions, Andy Ruton's animated and heartwarming style makes Owly a perfect read for everyone.

The Deal

I was in York, United Kingdom in September 2014 and went into a very nice comic store called Traveling Man. I found this comic in the sales section where it had been marked down from from 7,50GBP to 3,00GBP. Now I don't know if I'd have bought it at the original price, but 3,00 GBP seemed very fair and the first impression was great so I had to take it back home with me... i.e. it followed me to the cash register. I later checked the publisher 'Top Shelf' and I think it's just on the edge of what I'd call small press (probably a bit over in my feeling, but the book is so damn cute I just had to write a review).

The Feel

The whole comic is made out of recycled paper and is bound together with perfect binding. There are 128 pages in total. I have one page (p. 65) that's been printed askew making the bottom right pane fall off the page slightly. The problem wasn't on page 67 so hopefully it was just my copy. I have the third printing from January 2009. The book is 13,5 x 19 cm's.

The Story

Owly is a very friendly and kind-hearted owl that doesn't seem to do a lot of flying. Though you can read it at any age, I can imagine children taking a leap with it because there are no words, just signs and the pictures, which makes it great for children with imagination who can make up their own words. It's a simple story, but with with enough bends in it to keep it interesting. I like how plans don't always work out for Owly, but he doesn't give up, even when his friends tell him to. I suggest this story for all ages, no violence though there is the occasional shouting. The story is sweet, sad, happy and has a positive message and a happy ending for everyone. 

The Look

My copy came from the discount section and I'm sure a lot of people before me have opened it up, but you wouldn't know it to look at the binding, still in perfect condition.I've seen multiple versions of the cover, I like mine (3rd printing 2009) best because the whole cover is a picture where earlier versions have a sort of picture frame cover. The inside is made up of black pen drawings. Usually there are about five or six panes a page, but sometimes he switches to one pane per page (taking up about one-third). I thought it would get me to read those pages quicker but I found I really took the time to look at them and take them all in. There's so much to see that it's good that he gave some pictures the space they needed. 
The characters are attractive in a friendly simple kind of way. But that's just Runton making it look easy. Owly can be seen feeling a multitude of feelings and they all come through on the pages. He's never awkward or not quite right. 
I had a look on the Top Shelf Productions website and found that there are quite a few books made of Owly. I'd really like to see them in full color or perhaps just one highlight color. I think that's the only bad thing I can say about it.

The Conclusion

I think if you're looking for a nice and friendly story or if you're looking for a story for your or someone else's child (remember this one can be read in any language because it has no words) that you can read together or your child can tell you what's going on so you can trigger his/her imagination, then you can't go wrong with this one. It's 128 pages long so you/your child won't grow tired of it any time soon. You could even get your child to color in Owly on each page (use pencils, not markers), I know you're not supposed to draw in comics, but this one lends itself to that so beautifully and it will add an extra dimension to living trough the story.

How to get a copy?

If you can't find it at your local comic book store then have a look on the Top Shelf website. When I made this review, in September 2014, you could get this exact book in a hardcover version for only $5,00 plus shipping from the Top Shelf Comix website. Otherwise you might get it through Ebay or online bookstores.
The Owly franchise is still very much alive and Andy Runton even takes on commissions (noticed a beautiful one on Twitter). You can find him on his website.
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