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Write On Ottawa: Don’t pick your nose!

By Alejandro Bustos on October 6, 2015

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Boogers are not something that one mentions in polite company. Even among close friends or family, this is not a topic that draws a lot of cheers.

So what can one say about Thomas Jardine’s unusual comic The Boogerball, which describes how a little girl fights off a monster made of, you guessed it, boogers?

Beautifully illustrated by Ljubomir Babic, (bet you never thought you’d see the word “beautiful” in a booger-related story), this comic book is a truly mischievous read. As I flipped through the story, I couldn’t help but think of the Garbage Pail Kids — remember them? — who were a sensation among children in the 1980s, but didn’t really draw rave review from parents.

So given this slightly subversive subject matter, how have readers reacted to The Boogerball?

“I normally sell the books at a table with a big Boogerball poster in front of it,” says Jardine, who was raised in Ottawa. “Most of the time I see people walk by, squint at the poster, look disturbed and then start laughing. People have a really good sense of humour. And Ljubomir did such a great job with the art that it really draws people in.”

As one would expect, however, the reaction from parents has been mixed.

“Marketing is tough,” admits Jardine, who has also written a science fiction movie, as well as popular cultural analysis videos. “But I’ve heard from a couple parents that the Boogerball is their kids favorite book.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybaxYygWBFE[/youtube]

Not surprisingly, a comic book about boogers tends to appeal more to boys than girls. Nevertheless, there are a lot of girls who have enjoyed the comic.

For Jardine, meanwhile, it’s a story that contains fond memories.

“It was a story my dad told me every night before we went to bed as kids, and we used to beg him to tell us again and again,” he tells me in an email interview. “Of course there are obvious parallels to the 1950s Blob movie. It’s got that safe kind of horror that kids gravitate to, like Scooby Doo. Kids love monsters, and with the Boogerball they know it’s for fun. The gross out factor is just good marketing.”

Tom Jardine

Thomas Jardine

Normally Apartment613 doesn’t write reviews about works that are more than 18 months old. In this case, however, I decided to make an exception.

While originally published in 2012, I came across this unusual book this past summer. Caught off guard by the content, and really impressed by the illustrations, I immediately sought out to interview Jardine, who currently works full-time making videos.

As what one can expect in the future, Boogerball fans could be in for a few more gooey tales.

“Down the road I’d love to produce a Boogerball movie,” says Jardine. “But my darling project is a Shakespeare TV Wrestling mashup.”
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