The comic book industry faces a challenge. How does he introduce young readers to characters who have decades of convoluted stories and canon? Well a book like The Mystery Meanest Teacher: A Graphic Novel by Johnny Constantine, by Ryan North and Derek Charm, is a good place to start.
On the one hand, he successfully manages to take a traditionally darker character like Constantine and bring it to audiences of all ages, without diluting or shortening what he’s talking about. Of course, there are still demons, magic and scary situations, but it looks more like Goose bumps than Event horizon here.
Most important, The Mystery Meanest Teacher: A Graphic Novel by Johnny Constantine does not speak to its audience. He understands when to be fun and when to be serious, as he explores the theme of friendship, revealing that the lonely mentality is often a facade for a deeper, hidden issue. Plus, keep your eyes peeled as a few recognizable members of Justice League Dark appear here.
But none of this would succeed if the art was mediocre or rushed. Fortunately, it is the opposite here. The panels are vividly illustrated and beautifully colored, never giving the impression that they are a filler job while the artist waits for the next big Batman or Superman mission. You can feel the synergy of passion between art and writing here, as it all comes together in exciting ways across all the pages.
What I found particularly attractive The Mystery Meanest Teacher: A Graphic Novel by Johnny Constantine is the fact that he wasn’t trying to put together a whole bunch of other crossovers or big events. It’s a standalone story that can end here or continue if it wants to, but you can pick it up and enjoy it without any further commitments. It’s welcome in a time when every comic book story has more tangents than a story told by a drunkard at the bar.
As the Big Two try to find a way to attract young readers to their comics, they should look to The Mystery Meanest Teacher: A Graphic Novel by Johnny Constantine for tips on how to do it right. Even if you are just an occasional Constantine fan, you will be sucked into the story and leave a smile on your face at the end of it.