The Quarter Bin

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Imaginary Friends

Posted by Sarah LeBoeuf On May - 13 - 2009

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Have you ever had an imaginary friend? You’re not alone. Imaginary Friends delves into the deep, dark world of imaginary companions. Read on to learn more.

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Imaginary Friends
Writer: Jason M. Burns
Artist: Dustin Evans

When I was a kid, my imagination worked overtime. I didn’t have one imaginary friend who followed me around for years at a time, but I could create not just characters, but entire worlds with just a little creative visualization. Not once did I stop to think about why I was doing this, and what the type of situations my imagination put me in said about who I was. Imaginary Friends made me think about all of this, even though I am now in my twenties and have long outgrown playing  make-believe. That is only one of the things I loved about this book.

Imagine, if you will, that all imaginary friends not only exist in an alternative imaginary dimension, but that most of them work for the International Imaginary Persons Bureau (IIPB), an organization that assigns and tracks imaginary friends. Within the IIPB, Rex Montana is an exceptional employee. An explorer who appears to be modeled after Indiana Jones, Rex is usually befriended by children looking
for adventure, which he knows how to deliver. It is because of his abilities that Rex is assigned a special mission, and not alone: a ragtag bunch of misfits will be joining him, and the fate of the real world lies within his imaginary hands.

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The wacky but surprisingly deep characters are another thing that makes Imaginary Friends such a great read. There’s Jojo, a clown who is afraid of clowns and can make anything out of balloons; Veronica, a beauty queen who can conjure any kind of meat out of thin air, is every man’s fantasy; Bones, a skeleton prone to breaking apart who comes with an instruction manual; half-man, half-deer Deer John; and finally, Cindy, an adorably precocious and shockingly powerful friend who refuses to speak. All of them have been brought into existence for very different reasons, but their current goal is the same: to stop rogue figment Shift Valentine, who has found a way to cross  over into the real world. Shift’s diabolical plans will destroy the real world, thus giving the imaginary friends no reason to exist.

Writer Jason M. Burns did a terrific job of making this story come to life. There is plenty of humor within these pages, but there are also plenty of dark and disturbing moments. The artwork of Dustin Evans is a perfect compliment to the tone of the story. Much like the group of imaginary friends themselves, the book is deceptively innocent, but soon gives way to much deeper themes. Evans can handle these subtle distinctions, creating a visual world that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of.

The Imaginary Friends trade paperback hits comic shops in July, and at $7.99 it’s definitely worth picking up.


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