An underdog finds confidence and the courage to share his love of filmmaking with his community.
As a middle child and junior high school student, Mark battles insecurities about his height and weight. His siblings (younger and older) outperform him in sports. Bullies push him around and call him “Tattoo,” an uncomfortable (and likely mystifying) reference to the television series Fantasy Island. Deriving little comfort from his mother’s favorite saying, “Big things come in small packages,” Mark dreams of bulking up on summer vacation so his crush, Lisa Gorman, will finally notice him. However, when a new movie set in a galaxy far, far away inspires Mark to embark on his own filmmaking project, he discovers another way to build his confidence. In this graphic memoir, Tatulli reflects on his own struggles with body image and the beginnings of his passion for creating art. The comic-book format invites readers to participate in Mark’s creative process as he develops his Star Bores spoof. Full spreads show his storyboarding and each of his hacks for designing costumes and props without a budget. An animated art style contributes to the lighthearted liveliness of the conflict. Panels depict the author, his family, and Lisa as white; his classmates are diverse, including pal Kevin, who is black. Overall, Tatulli’s story shares a positive message about dedication and overcoming obstacles through imagination and creativity.
A story with easy appeal for fans of coming-of-age adventures and Star Wars. (Graphic memoir. 8-12)