Toby and The Magic Pencil #1 Review: The Adventure Starts

Toby and the Magic Pencil #1 reviewed by Jerome


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I’ve read a lot of adventures before, especially classics from well before my time. Lewis Carroll is a favourite, together with Neil Gaiman, L. Frank Baum, and Jonathan Swift. Whimsical adventures are interesting up to a certain degree.

Toby and the Magic Pencil #1 try to evoke these tales’ whimsy, which is successful up to a point. It’s not perfect storywise, but it has a unique flavour to it that is more of an acquired taste.

The Story and Writing of Toby #1: Too Much Power, Not Enough Responsibility

Toby and the Magic Pencil by Gary Dellar and Dillon Naylor, and published by Reverie Comics. The story follows the titular character, Toby, bequeathed by his artist father. A natural artist at heart, Toby makes fair use of the pencil until an untoward event propels him into an untimely adventure.

The story of Toby and the Magic Pencil #1 is one for the ages. It’s everything that a reader would want in a comic, whatever age bracket they may be. The trajectory of the story follows a nice, linear path that follows quite the traditional hero’s journey.

Toby is the epitome of a flawed character. He is smart, independent, and unbelievably brash. Whilst he has great command of his powers, it seems that he does not know yet the ramifications of how he acts with the pencil.

The writing style is a classic, with several periods of rising and falling plot to create a sense of action and adversity. So far, the call to adventure is quite tragic, much of it coming from Toby’s inexperienced reading of the situation. The writing is stellar, but the narrative has a few problems that needs to be addressed.

I question the value of giving a magic pencil to a child with zero training on it for starters. The idea of a child-bearing a reality-warping pencil can be an issue, especially if there are people ready to nab it from a fence away.

There’s also the part where Toby is, almost literally, responsible for the death of at least half a dozen sentient beings. He’s thrust upon a situation where he had many options, only to pick the bad ones at that. This gives him the ability to learn on the go.

Gareth also seems to be much more sensible and responsible of the two as well. If not for the former being younger and a little envious, he would’ve been a better hero too, but that’s besides the point.

The story is solid, with only a couple of unaddressed inconsistencies. It’s not perfect, but it’s as good as it gets when it comes to writing these types of first issues. I’m looking towards some character development for Toby. 

Sure, it’s an Alice in Wonderland-esque story, but it’s not weird to wish for growth. Apart from that, the writing style is mature and treats the audience as adults, and I love it.

The Art of Toby and The Magic Pencil: Professionals At Work

The art of Toby and the Magic Pencil #1 is quite unique. I’ve never seen anything like it before. It reminds me of a modernised version of Mort Walker’s Beetle Bailey and Herge’s TinTin. It’s clean and well-proportioned, with a little extra touch of angularity.

The pencil work and inking look like they come from consummate professionals, with a wide array of colours used for that mildly muted, pastel feel. The colouring may need a little extra saturation, but it works great for its intended purpose.

The art design is fantastic too, and the depiction of some panels is moving to an extent. All panels feel alive and entertaining. There’s always something happening - a purpose to every page. The pacing of the action is also some of the best I've seen in a while.

Should You Read Toby and The Magic Pencil #1?

Should you read Toby and the Magic Pencil #1? Yes! It’s a fantastic coming of age story with lots of potential. I’m looking forward to learning what will happen to both Toby and Gareth.







Rating: 4.1/5

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Jerome is the nerd you're looking for - loves comic books, video games, and all things tech. He writes and does digital marketing on the side, apart from being a full-time dog dad of two hyperactive pooches.

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