Bob Hayes — a friend of mine from college days, (mumble mumble) years ago — has posted a very kind review of “Hereville” on “Blogger News Network.”
This is not a Marvel comic book filled with iron-jawed superheroes, though Mirka yearns for heroics – dreaming of dragonslaying as she tends her younger brother, knits with her stepmother, and prepares the Shabbat meal with her family. “Hereville” explores themes more adult than its protagonist might wish for in a comic book – primarily, coming of age, the role of women in traditional societies, a subtle exploration of how communities on the margins of a larger society nonetheless view themselves as the center, with their own set of outcasts and marginal figures, and the struggle faced by an independent, somewhat nonconformist young girl faced with a social role not of her choice or to her liking.
The story of Mirka begins with a friendly argument, and climaxes in a debate whose outcome could mean death to Mirka – or could, if we didn’t presume from the title that our heroine would prevail in the end. In between, Mirka saves an outcast woman (a “witch”, according to the local boys) from a beating, and is offered a reward for her service – a reward that takes the form of a quest to retrieve a sword from the local troll. But before Mirka can battle the troll, she must keep her brother from ratting out her plans to their ever-protective parents, celebrate the Shabbat, and find a way to get out of the house at night without being detected. These obstacles and travails are drawn with wit and warmth, and the reader is drawn into the oddball world of “Hereville” without a backwards glance. (A world of trolls, witches, electric lights and vacuum cleaners? Don’t ask questions – just enjoy it!)
There’s more to the review, including some mild criticism and mild spoilers, at BNN.