HarperCollins Publishers and Webtoon brings you an awe-inspiring fantasy comedy webcomic about the twin sibling black magicians with their never-ending fun adventure in Hooky on its first volume.
(THIS COMIC REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS, IF YOU DIDN’T READ HOOKY ON WEBTOON, DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW.)
Time for Spooky Season again. Now this time I’m taking myself a break from the many violent comics on Image Comics, and I’m going back to review one of my favorite Webtoon titles, Hooky. It never stops, the same way fantasy genres are a thing right now, I keep finding these comics and games just dancing into my subconscious. The same way the creators have to keep making more dark fantasy stories based on Berserk or Castlevania, the other world fantasy genres (Isekai as you call it), or Disney movies, I’m cursed to keep writing comic reviews and constantly mentioning Hooky when it comes to magic and witchcraft. And I talked about it all the time. So what the hell, let me just get it all out, this is going to be a big Hooky marathon, reviewing the first and the latest volume, with my own perspective. This is Hooky how I remember it.
It was before the webcomic age and before Clip Studio Paint became a thing, I was sitting on a subway train to go to Queens College in 2016, the year when I discovered the Webtoon app for the first time from my old Samsung smartphone, there are so many comics that goes in a strange format of reading, there I found the only two best Webtoon series that got me hooked, one of them is Space Boy by Stephen McCrannie and the other one is Hooky, both stories are really addicting for the readers right now and back then, because the way that they made the webcomic in a vertical scroll, the art is very fun to see how the characters interact with each other, and the story is too good to be true because it gets way more interesting when you get to the next episode. Both of them are heartfelt stories which are something that I got into later on when I started planning to create my webcomic in 2020 and published it in 2021. I was 23 or 24 back then in 2016 reading those Webtoons before I got this comic review job from a friend of mine. I popped this Hocus Pocus sunnovabitch into my phone to read and here’s Hooky.
The Original Webtoon series was published digitally in 2015 and ended in 2020, and it was created by Miriam Bonastre Tur. She’s a Spanish comic artist who lives in Barcelona, and when she was still living there she found that it was impossible to specify when she started to draw, she was just a child because she doodled on any smooth surface before she even started to learn how to walk. She was a student of Escola Joso Art School studying comics and apparently, she had drawn so many comics that were all in Spanish if I would know what comics she made so I can read them for myself, now she works as a character designer in the animation field. And not too long ago, the Hooky series became the best New York Times seller.
However, when I met her for the first time at a panel at this year’s NYCC, I heard that when she has a lot of fans when she was in Spain, even when they found out that she was Spanish. But when she got there in New York at the Barnes and Noble signing, a lot of Hispanics from around here were amazed by her, and some of the Hispanics are comic creators too with the way that they draw in anime/manga style, as I am. Even though this was her first time going to the United States, most New Yorkers are amazed by reading Hooky and meeting her face to face.
The front cover of the first volume shows beautiful concept art of the twins using magic while Dani Wytte is riding a broom. Even though this is the first volume of her first graphic novel, this cover art became very cute in a brighter way because from the very beginning when I started reading on Webtoon, this webcomic has given me more material to talk about in a matter of time. There are a lot of things that you can add from the background, there are white roses, some potions, the cauldron, a crystal ball, a cat, and a frog with wings that turned out to be a dragon-frog hybrid if it is a frog that is. And looking at Dorian and Dani reminds me of myself and my sister as kids. Even when I read it for the first time in 2016, I felt somewhat nostalgic.
Well I can’t say where to start, but her art style is based on when any other artist is drawing in an anime style, from what I see there are many other artists who started drawing in an anime style which is more popular in America right now when they got excited from watching a Japanese anime, should I even call this a manga or a comic book? And I’m not saying that it’s bad, but this art style is cute and way more understandable for the readers to follow the story. Also what does Dorian Wytte is reading? I’m guessing he’s interpreting a spell that came from Alucard from Castlevania which I imagine one sacrifices a chicken, divines the location of the book he wants from the intestines. Maybe Ms. Miriam has a crystal ball somewhere in this world unless the witches are foretelling the future after they dump the chicken legs into the cauldron then they’re going to have some wonderful experiences during their adventure. I fully expect to find family cats mummified in the Wytte household. Unless the Wytte’s ancestors preferred to eat them? However this story holds the darkest secret between the two twins as I recall it, the two witches are evil incarnate. Don’t ask me why, because I’m just getting started, and I’m prepared to talk about the most cryptic aspects and easter eggs of the series.
When I started opening the book, it instantly started the story without including what chapters are on the list, I mean does anyone ever heard of Table of Contents? Do you people even organize? It’s no wonder how readers can get lost in the part where they left off. Even though without a table of contents or a guide you might have to get a bookmark to leave one of the pages to read it later or go read at Webtoon itself for free, with some limited daily passes for each episode that literally takes up to 10 PM. And this first book covers Episodes 1 through 70, and I only do this because I’m rereading Hooky again and I want to share my thoughts. So once you’ll understand how to catch up by reading this graphic novel version or the Webtoon version, just wait and see. The second thing I’d like to know is, who the heck is the editor for publishing this book? All these first pages without a table of contents, someone needs to organize this.
The story starts with one of the most cliched pilot moments in comic book history, the kids are catching the bus to magic school, and the bus turns out to be your ordinary American school bus. I’M DEAD SERIOUS because I’m looking at a regular American school bus that turns out to be A MAGIC SCHOOL BUS ON HOOKY. So the Wytte twins are catching up on the school bus while Dani started flying her broom, but Dorian yanks her broom and they lost the chance to catch the bus, now they missed the bus and don’t know where the school is. So this is one of the aspects that I’m here to talk about, from the moment when you started reading the physical version, you’ll discover that she redrew the pages from the Webtoon version to the graphic novel version, that is logically explaining how comic artists are looking for mistakes and has a choice to redraw the page or not. But she had no choice but to redraw the pages because she lost the original files when her old computer broke as she said in her post on Instagram. Who would imagine if this is a change of pace or not? Because there are going to be a lot of changes just by looking at the Webtoon version and the graphic novel version, because YOU ARE reading the updated version of Hooky, you can correct me if I’m wrong…. come on, I’m waiting.
Then after a smaller few pages turned, it instantly starts with Chapter 2 where the twins paid a visit to Aunt Hilde’s mansion. What’s the point? Shouldn’t the next chapter start after reading up to 20 to 30 pages? Why does chapter 2 start in a short time? And again it keeps showing the chapters on the top left of the page without having a guide. More importantly, why would you need to put it there? Is it really necessary? So anyway, the kids asked her to be her tutor, but instead of teaching them magic, they gave them some household chores, like cleaning the library, escorting a prisoner to the witches’ palace, or helping a hunter to have him steal Snow White’s heart. Ok, there’s this part that is never mentioned in this book, when the kids finished cleaning the library, they eavesdrop on Aunt Hilde talking to some hunter for a task to steal Snow White’s heart. They followed that man and recommended he make him look gorgeous by giving him a haircut, cleaning his hygiene and all, and then went to Snow White’s house with the seven dwarves. And finally, the twins came back to her house to report about him and Snow White. That is much as I recall from reading the Webtoon version which is pretty messed up, because of copyrights, well Disney for example. You’d be stupid enough to believe that Ms. Miriam took that out.
But not too long ago, Dorian stole a dragon’s egg which is burning or something, and flew far away from the palace, until they got into a train to a small quiet town. There they met Nico, the troublemaker who threw a ball at them, and he looks like the pirate version of Isidro from Berserk all that’s left is a fairy as his conscience. So apparently some wizard in that town is looking for them. The wizard seemed to be a nice person until he notices who they truly are in the later chapters. So they started training under him for days, until they started to get along together, then later Dani meets Mark at the cafe, who look like Enrique Iglesias in an apron if it that too much for you, from the part where Nico’s plane was being held on that place. Don’t ask me why I brought this up, I’m just reminiscing about the past.
Let’s see. . . Ok, here’s the next part that takes place in some castle where it introduces Princess Monica, who looks exactly like Ms. Miriam herself because her image looks a lot like her, well like a princess I mean. How the Hook do I know that?? The first time I met her at NYCC, I had a strange feeling that Monica and Ms. Miriam look alike, lovely, beautiful, and actually really quirkier as Monica, but they’re both insane in case you haven’t noticed, I’m sorry that was very rude of me. So when she learned that her fiance Prince William is kidnapped, she embarked on her journey with her bodyguards to find her prince. Also, there’s another part where Monica started with her “I’ve never taken a train before” cliché, and then looking back at Webtoon, it only has 8 panels of the train scene, while the graphic novel just took out everything, and redrew it like your everyday New York subway train with full of people and tourists. I much prefer the scene on the Webtoon version because what Ms. Miriam changed in the scene just didn’t make sense.
So after meeting up with the wizard Pendragon, Monica decides to stay with them to live at that town because he saw the future and advised her to stay for the time being, and then the next day Nico just turned small from Dani’s black magic by accident because he was angry at Dorian. There’s this scene that makes you think the nightmare is really made of, Pendragon has an important task for the twins which is an evil witch in the forest who is missing or something. So they took small Nico with them, but as they found out on the inside, the witch has a darker secret. Dani went down to the basement and saw the small children dead, and claimed that the witch has been eating children. The same reaction and scene where Shinobu Sensui from Yu Yu Hakusho saw how terrifying humans can be for killing demons are very sadistic and enjoyable to them. And then some townspeople came to the house to hunt a witch who killed the children, but they only found Dani because she’s a witch, and then they took her back to town to burn her down. The next part is something that I really have a thing against it, the townspeople really hated her not because she’s a witch, it’s because she’s just a child who’s learning magic, Monica came by to rescue her by getting rid of the fire using water, and Mark punched the old man in the face saying “You’re gonna pay for this!”
So there’s another aspect coming from this scene between the Webtoon version and the graphic novel version. When Mark punched him in the face, he just finished his sentence with “idiot”. But on Webtoon, Ms. Miriam dropped the F-bomb at the scene and ended the sentence idiot, in other words, “F***** Idiot”, how about you get Mark to say “You’re gonna pay for this, old man!” because that would sound really cool and manly enough for the readers if you take my advice, and that is coming from a male Hispanic comic creator and reviewer like me. Well, I’m not the only one who curses, and I don’t even swear a lot on this review, I only do that to Image Comics, but for me instead of swearing the whole review, I use the word “Hook” since the title of the Webtoon is called “Hooky” because it’s a children’s and young teens’ book, and I just thought that it would be funny. But I have never even seen a Spanish creator who actually uses a curse word in her series, not only that scene, Aunt Hilde also dropped the BS word when the witches told her that her nephews stole the egg. Come on, this isn’t Image Comics, have some class, Ms. Miriam.
So jumping through some pages with their adventures and all that drama and jazz about magic, love potions, and stuff, Dorian plans to go out to see the meteor shower where the witches’ palace is, with Dani, Monica, and Nico, they began wandering at the forest where they can set camp, the group split up and there were some unfortunate events for them. Monica climbed the castle using Rapunzel’s hair and turned out to be a doll after she reached the top until Dorian rescued her at night, Dani almost got caught by some witches who declared the twins traitors, and she managed to run away from them. And after that, they finally saw the meteor shower together.
Speaking of traitors, when the twins got back home to their Wytte household, their parents got taken away and marked the house as traitors, meanwhile, Pendragon warned Monica and Nico how dangerous the Wytte family’s power holds, which almost makes you think that the Belmonts has so much power and trouble for gathering sources to hunt Dracula and the locals declared them as evil, the Wyttes has all the power they could gather to start a war against the humans, even the fortune teller foretold that the Wyttes would rule the world. But do you think the Wyttes would have such power to rule everything, however, there are some differences between the family, Dani and Dorian are just innocent kids who barely use magic and then they embarked on a bigger adventure after missing the school bus from the beginning, their parents are more strict to the children to know how dangerous regular humans are and see the witches as a threat, and somehow, they have another brother which is Damien Wytte, who actually disowned his family and lived as a guard to Monica’s father.
And the volume ends when Monica invites her friends to her castle for the ball, and later the witches invaded the castle, Damien turned the king into a frog and he declared the king of witches by painting the crown black. And Dani started to attack violently with her black magic after she saw her friend stabbed by a guard, and Nico feared that she would be the Queen of witches. Why does this scene turn out to be so dark? Don’t you think that’s really Hooked up? Is this actually for kids? Then again it’s Spooky Season in October, what do you expect?
I can’t praise enough the epic story of Hooky, I just got addicted by reading Hooky many times until I stopped reading Hooky on Webtoon right after the Wytte twins grew up. I think it was episode 150 or something that I stopped reading when I was 25 and I was out venturing around South America. I admit I haven’t finished reading the whole series, but now it’s my second chance to read her graphic novels instead of Webtoon. The graphic novel is very clean and gave so much format that normal comics should have from the beginning, but there are some missing scenes around the series. Of course, I’m reading Hooky again on a graphic novel because I want to see it through to the end and I’m learning how can I improve my webcomic series on Canvas. Just because I’m rereading a good comic book series that totally got me hooked, doesn’t mean that I’m going around criticizing people against their work.
However looking back to the Webtoon version and the graphic novel version, I learned something, Ms. Miriam worked so hard on redrawing the pages from the Webtoon version to the book itself, that later she found out interesting and a fun exercise, because her current art style is more aligned to who she is today, and I stated that all that hard work came from her own heart to make Hooky. To be honest, I never thought that someone could try to gamble everything to redraw the pages of Hooky and turned into a graphic novel. Ms. Miriam, you’re the first one who ever got me beyond my expectations as a comic creator and really got my blood boiling after discovering this tactic. I probably should do that as well if my comic would be published by Image Comics someday. Even though I’m writing this review, this is actually a love letter to her for reading her series, not just as an actual fan, but as a human being. However, this review is not over because I’m going for Volume two next.