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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Avril Lavigne

Cover of 'Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes'I have a confession to make: I really know very little about Avril Lavigne. Don't get me wrong, it's hard to not know that she exists, but the only song of hers I could instantly recognize from the radio is "Complicated" and that's thanks to all the ads for that horrible Uptown Girls movie with Brittany Murphy and Dakota Fanning. Sure, I know she had a hit with the unfortunate name of "Sk8er Boi" and that she's a really big star. But in the great Avril Lavigne vs. Michelle Branch war, it was Branch who was my everything, and I always thought Kelly Clarkson could kick both of their butts.

With all that in mind, I was perhaps not the target audience for Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes, a new graphic novel by Joshua Dysart and Camilla d'Errico. Generally speaking, comics starring a celebrity are something for true fans only, with shoddily written plots that dumbfound even the best of us. I doubt there are many people who look back fondly on All My Children's Walt Willey appearances in The Second Life of Doctor Mirage where assassins are after the mystical tattoo on Willey's hand (I am not making this up), or perhaps the issue of Shadowman where the evil Master Darque steals Aerosmith's souls. (Who knew they weren't already traded away decades ago?)

But then a funny thing happened. I took my car in for its 15,000 mile tune-up and what was supposed to take half an hour stretched into two hours, and I had nothing else to read but a review copy of Make 5 Wishes, and that's when it happened. I didn't care how long it was taking for the incompetent dealership to work on my poor Matrix. (No relation to Lavigne's old songwriting and producing team of the same name.) Because, and I'm almost mortified to admit this... I really liked it.

The plot in many ways is pretty familiar. A young girl named Hana feels like an outcast throughout her entire life, unable to relate to friends or family. Instead she adopts different identities on the internet, and has fantasies about her best friend being Avril Lavigne. Then one day she discovers Make5Wishes.com, a website that promises for a fee to make anyone's five wishes come true. Faced with her parents on the verge of a divorce and school becoming harder than ever to deal with, Hana decides to give it a try and is sent a five-horned demon that promises to grant whatever she asks for. And that's when things begin to get really bad.

Make 5 Wishes owes a lot to stories like The Monkey's Paw with the idea of being careful what you wish for. The fact that Hana's wishes are going to go badly is in many ways obvious, because it would be an awfully boring story otherwise. What makes it interesting is how Dysart and d'Errico (who co-plotted the book with Dysart scripting) followed through with the actual execution of the idea. It's a creepy, slightly sinister book; Hana's wishing demon Romeo isn't content to merely grant Hana's wishes (triggered by her breaking off one of his five horns), but affects the world around Hana as well, dismantling all of her carefully constructed fictions and destroying anything that gives her comfort. With Hana's wishes rapidly dwindling, one can't help but wonder how it will all end, and if there's really a truly "happy" ending even possible.

The use of Avril Lavigne in the book works well, perhaps because she's only a hallucination on the part of Hana. In many ways she's Hana's conscience, telling her the things she needs to hear even as she doesn't listen. As the book progresses, the shift in what happens to Hana's imaginings of her "best friend" becomes all the more interesting, adding an extra layer of dread to the story. Add in d'Errico's beautiful art, with its loose, styled pencils that seem to flow across the page, and you've got a real winner. I've only seen a little bit of d'Errico's art in the past, but I'm quite impressed here, especially with her ability to make Romeo look both cuddly and sinister at the same time. Now that's not an easy feat.

So, I admit it. Avril Lavigne, can you ever forgive me? I love this book that you agreed to lend your name and likeness to. My friend Julie says I next need to listen to her new single "Girlfriend" and I'm so excited about this book I might just do that. The conclusion is being published in June and I am absolutely dying to find out what happens. Above all else, Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes is a book that should be held up to the industry with the important message: this is how you create a book starring someone real. Dysart, d'Errico, Lavigne, and Del Rey Manga? I take my proverbial hat off to you. Well done, well done, well done.

(Can your next project star Matt Damon, Aidan Quinn, or Famke Janssen? Please? Let's talk.)

Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. Funny thing is that I picked this up too. And to tell the truth me like! Its in color and it’s a nice long American manga that does not suck. The fact that a singer was able to pull this one off even shocked me. This could be something new if more people like our girl over here does it right. I hear they will make more of this Manga, I’ll be looking for the rest!

Posted at 4:22PM on May 14th 2007 by xcommunistdreamx

2. Thanks for the kind words and for giving the book a chance.

Posted at 11:11PM on May 15th 2007 by Joshua Dysart

3. Basically, what online website isn't going to relate to this plot? Spends hours of time browsing the net? Of course any website out there will give this comic good reviews!

Posted at 8:37AM on May 23rd 2007 by Alexx

4. No offence, but this manga is just going to bomb. I've read a LOT of manga in my time and I only know one by an american artist that did "OK". Other clebs have tried this besides Avril Lavigne and they have not done well at all. So good luck, their gonna need it.

Posted at 8:38AM on May 23rd 2007 by Kate

5. I have a feeling that this book is going to make it big. Either that, or it is going to be a total dud, like Taylor Hicks' CD that was supposedly to be successful last November(maybe it didn't happen. hmm...). It's a 50/50 chance. I mean, if it were the old Avril(from 2002), it would definetely be a hit.

Posted at 10:06AM on May 23rd 2007 by Ray

6. Wow. Well. I haven't bought the manga,But I guess no one knows that AnimeNetwork has been airing it lately. xD But they didn't even show the name of the book or anything. lol. If it weren't for aol landing me to the website I probably would still wonder if I was the only one spazzing about this great story. Its really nice. Sometimes,I think anyone who has ever been hooked on the net can relate to Hana. This is an awesome story! Good Job! ^_^

Posted at 11:12AM on May 23rd 2007 by DigiChan

7. My Cousin Got me the Book For my B-day and i like Avril lavign and i like Manga so i thought it was like the Best gift i got. but what surprised me was how good the story was written. its like the story kinda pulls everyone in by how easy it makes it to relate to Hanna's feelings. theres alot of symbolic metaphors and none of them sound cliche. everything feels fresh and new. also i was afraid this Story was gonna Suck cause its suppose to be Avril lavigns book i thought it was all gonna be subliminal Garbage to get people to buy her album. but the Story really isnt about Avril which is cool. its about hanna and imaginary friend how takes the form of Avril. The Art is Amazing too. if you havent Read it. you really should

Posted at 11:44AM on May 23rd 2007 by Jmoss81

8. I haven't yet read the book, Avril Lavigne Makes Five Wishes. I think that comic books are really fun to read!! I think that the book Avril Lavigne Makes Five Wishes will be awesome, but that's only my opinion. It'll probably end up being a big hit. I'm not writing this comment because I have nothing else to do right now and I'm bored. I'm a big fan of Avril and LOVE her song Girlfriend!!!!!!!!! I think it's the best song I've ever heard!! The music video is the funniest thing on Earth. Well, I have to go but, Hey hey, you you, I don't like your girlfriend. Now way, no way, I think ya need a new one. LOL!

Posted at 3:23PM on May 23rd 2007 by Sydney

9. Wow. Well, I might look at it to see how it is, but it's true - American manga generally flops. The few I've read, out of the hundreds of mangas I've read/own, really aren't very good at all.. But who knows. Shouldn't judge until you know, right?

Posted at 3:23PM on May 23rd 2007 by Momo

10. I watched this because I've been a fan for all my life. They were really good. It told a great story that really tells viewers a lot. If you haven't already, check out Avril Lavigne's Make 5 Wishes

Posted at 4:46PM on May 23rd 2007 by Jenn

11. Avril is so sexy.

Posted at 5:17PM on May 23rd 2007 by edownes8

12. Yah know, I'm a big manga reader and a use to be die hard Avril fan till I saw the way she looked on Nick while babysitting one night and heard her "Girlfriend" song and I felt like she totally had lost it, not to mention it was a song that got stuck in my head, dispite all my attempts to forget it. The song was pop-like and nothing like the last two albums and she dyed her hair blonde. I refused to buy her "The Best Damn Thing" Album and acted like a stubborn kid about it and when I went into Books A Million and saw that manga, I got even more mad. However, a friend told me that not all of her songs were like Girlfriend, made me reconsider and now after reading this, I feel like maybe I show give it all another chance. Thanks

Posted at 8:53PM on May 23rd 2007 by Sy

13. in response to Sy, if you were a die heart fan, you'd stick with her through what you consider bad and what you consider good. I've also wanted to read the manga, can't wait till my birthday to get! oh, and if you dont like the song girlfriend listen to it in other languages, for example Japanese [it sounds effin awesome]

Posted at 9:12PM on May 23rd 2007 by Julian[girl xD]

14. Avril Lavigne sucks and her book is a disgrace to manga, all american manga is. I bought all the copies just so I could burn them in front of her brainwashed fans. Get a clue america! You can't make good manga! Stop trying!

Posted at 9:57PM on May 29th 2007 by Alice Fening

15. err, I mean all the copies that borders had

Posted at 9:59PM on May 29th 2007 by Alice Fening

16. I think that Avril Lavigne would win against Michelle Branch Kelly Clarkson because Avril is so better at sining then both of them put together!! I love Avril's new cd!(i got it the day it came out!!!!) All me and my friends talk about is Avril Lavigne! She is the best singer that wlked the earth!! I LOVE YOU AVRIL FOR EVER!!!!! I LOVE ALL OF YOUR CDS I HAVE THEM ALL!!!! Her best song that she'd ever writting is Girlfriend, someday that song will be #1 and every one will love her!!!

Posted at 7:45PM on Jun 27th 2007 by Reese

17. Wow ! what a great site I have gone through your site really very good site here in your website the
information about many interesting topics and some other book reviews such as Hell blazer and etc.. are very use foll to all the novik lovers.And i got the more information from your website.Recently i have visited one website which is smiler to your web page that may be use full to you and your visitors .If you want to know more info here is a link...... best book rewies

Posted at 7:53AM on Jul 4th 2007 by jesica

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