“The Bully’s Bully” is a unique webcomic, and book, on the subject of bullying. It tackles the issue with a lot of grit. I don’t recommend this for the youngest of readers simply because of it’s spirited, and intense, depiction of violence. We can discuss that. Overall, it’s a solid work in comics. But, be warned, this gets the equivalent of a PG-13 rating. Story and art by Courtney Huddleston and James Taylor, this is an impressive production. The look and feel would do proud any animation house or comics publisher. I would describe it as a clean and polished house style. And, as the title implies, this is a book about bullies. Or, more precisely, a girl with a lot of guts, who is out there to defend, and encourage, victims of bullies. She is going to do her best to set things straight.
You’ll find here a collection of stories that follow our heroine on her quest to stop bullying. The comics are wordless throughout. We don’t have a name for our main character other than Bully’s Bully, or B.B., for short. There are a wide spectrum of scenarios to be found here ranging from a hunting story to a story set in the inner city. The feature story finds B.B. locking horns with one of the most diabolical villains, under 18, you’re likely to find. He looks a bit like Pugsley from the Addams Family.
“The Bully’s Bully” is a webcomic and, when this B.B. vs. Pugsley story first ran, it caused quite a commotion regarding the violence. So, what exactly is the deal here? Well, this Pugsley boy has no qualms about punching B.B. right in the gut, starting at page 26, and repeatedly attempts to smack her around and worse. He also has no problem with slamming a puppy into a tree, which is shown in one panel. Is this too much? Yes, without a doubt. If it walks and talks like a duck, it’s a duck. So, emphatically, I tell you this is one very disturbed duck. If there’s another spin to it, I’d say that these disturbing scenes certainly do evoke the terror a bully can inflict. However, that could have been achieved differently. As it is, you lose the younger readers.
Well, that’s what can happen when you choose to turn up the volume to eleven. Unfortunately, everything is thrown out of balance with such an extreme shift in tone. Oh, I know, I know, you may wonder if I’m overreacting. But, no, I’m not. I think it’s better to speak to these issues than simply go along to get along. You can find plenty of reviews like that already. And I’m not against this book. I am concerned about the fact that younger readers will be attracted to it and could get sucker punched by the content. That said, in the real world, kids can and do get hurt. So, sure, it’s a tricky situation. With all this in mind, if you have a notion of getting this book for a young reader or pointing him or her to the website, try the book or webcomic out and see for yourself beforehand.
You can buy your copy of The Bully’s Bully 152-page trade paperback on Amazon right here.
3 responses to “Review: THE BULLY’S BULLY”
Reblogged this on Confessions of a Geek Queen.
I agree the artistry is very good – clean, clear, appealing to the target audience. And it’s good to see a female lead character taking responsibility and positive action in dealing with bullying. But I do have reservations if the target audience is younger than 16 or so. Bullying can be physical, of course it can, but the examples here seem very extreme. And much more common is the verbal, the excluding of the victim from social groups and of course online. I was a school teacher of under twelves for 36 years and so I’ve seen many examples of bullies and the bullied. My impression that in real life it’s an altogether more subtle affair than portrayed in this comic.
Yes, I totally agree. A bully, in general, is someone who threatens but is too cowardly to actually follow through. Thank you for sharing your insight.