By Rodney Turner
Today I want to talk about a project that I have been following for some years. Mathilda: The Forces of Evil Vs. The Third Grade is an independent comic from New Orleans based artist Tedd Walley.
Mathilda tells the story of the daughter of the Devil, highly skilled in combat and leader of Hell’s army. She defects from the forces of darkness, but renouncing one’s heritage isn’t enough to enter Heaven. Mathilda must discover what it means to be human by living as a human. God in Walley’s universe must be a bit of a jokester since, in order to fulfill her obligation, Mathilda must experience an entire human life.
Although forced to exist in the body of a child, our anti-heroine is still possessed of her mind, a good potion of her powers, and her weaponry. Useful things to retain since Mathilda’s siblings are scrambling to deliver the traitor back to her father.
Book One finds Mathilda forced to ally with a vampire hunter against Astaroth and a seemingly endless army of demons. Meanwhile, one of Mathilda’s classmates is pursued through the school by her “favorite” toy, Bella, a stuffed panda housing a murderous spirit.
Walley’s panel layout varies with situation. More mundane activities such as Mathilda preparing for school use more traditional panels while the massive action sequence uses a more chaotic, but fluid layout that blends perfectly with the striking black and white artwork and the events unfolding on the page.
Dialog is loose, playful, and loaded with examples of Walley’s wit and insight into the human condition.
Mathilda: The Forces of Evil Vs. The Third Grade is an enjoyable romp through a fun house world. I eagerly await the release of Book Two.
Tedd was kind enough to join us on Microphones of Madness for a discussion of the book.