Owly is one of the best all ages comics to come along in ages. First published in 2004 Owly is Andy Runton’s wonderful series about a gentle, loveable Owl and his little forest world. To me, Owly is the perfect example of what amazing all ages comics can be; it’s use of visual language, the world building, the gorgeous art, the warmth and tenderness. The first thing one notices about Owly, after the art, is the fact that it’s virtually wordless. The story moves along entirely with pictures. Speech balloons contain images rather than words. I find this makes the world even more immersive. To quote Andy Runton’s website “It may seem that a student could read a wordless comic quickly (and without much effort). One soon realizes, however, that he or she must apply further evaluation and observation skills to be able to follow the story line” So much of the story relies on facial expressions and actions. Which isn’t to say it’s hard to read. In fact every page is a joy.
One of Mr. Runton’s greatest strengths is his capacity to create wonderfully simple characters. It’s not exactly minimalist, but everything is very simple. It’s also very rich art. The natural world is portrayed with loving detail. It's a friendly world, even the dense black shadows are friendly.
The stories are about Owly, and his kindness toward other creatures. He is always trying to do the right thing. The stories are hopeful and uplifting, Owly’s tenderness balance it out with a note of sadness.
A definite must have for your all ages shelf. It goes well beside Winnie The Pooh and Beatrix Potter.