Amelia Rules!
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About the Series

A Brief History

When I began Amelia Rules! in 2001, foremost in my mind was the desire to create my own personal “ultimate comic book.” I wanted something that seemed warm and familiar, but at the same time fresh and innovative — and at times even radical.

There is a continuum of “kid strips” in American cartooning that goes all the way back to its very beginnings with the “Yellow Kid” and continues on through John Stanley, Charles Schulz, Bill Watterson and . . .

There it seemed to end.

It was in this tradition that I wanted to work, but to be worthy of a place along side those names. I knew my book needed to be different.

~ Amelia would not be about childhood; it would be about growing up. To me, this gave the strip a dynamic tension that was not present in other kid comics. The friction between the adult and kid worlds provided many story ideas and made Amelia unique. Amelia Rules! is not about being something; it’s about becoming something, which is really the heart of all great storytelling.

~ Amelia would narrate her life story. I’ve always been a fan of movies like Annie Hall and Ferris Bueller, which manage to break the 4th wall, while maintaining the reality of the world and integrity of the characters. In addition to giving the series a distinctive voice, it also allows for many fantastic elements to e introduced as we are not seeing what really happened, but what Amelia is telling us happened.

After making these decisions, I set out to fill Amelia with all the things that make life fun: comic books, superheroes & ninjas, friendship, first loves, autumn nights, and egg creams. Amelia’s world is a lot of fun, and I feel lucky to get to spend so much time there.

But enough about me. . . . Let’s meet the gang.


Why Should I Read It, Anyway?

In many ways, I believe that Amelia is subversively aspirational. many of the letters I receive from kids seem to confirm this. The work is designed so that it seems naturalistic and familiar, but how many kids live with retired rock ‘n’ roll stars, have secret identities, or engage in the type of dialog Amelia and her friends rattle off?

When young readers write to me, as they often do, and express how Amelia and her friends remind them of themselves, I think it’s only half true. On the other hand, they are responding to a depiction of growing up that resonates with their own experiences. But the other half of that is that Amelia Rules! shows life the way many kids would like it to be, full of fun, adventure, and laughs.

Also, one of the secret themes of Amelia, which is never stated out loud, but which informs every page, is this:

Aspiring to be a superhero isn’t stupid.
It’s the most noble goal you can have.

Kids know that instinctively, but adults can’t allow themselves to see it. That theme is explored in more depth in Amelia Rules! Vol 3: Superheroes, which won a Cybil Award for Best Graphic Novel.

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