Confession: most of the tv-shows I watch are cartoons. I get as much of a kick from funny animated characters as I do when Sherlock makes a brilliant deduction. Last year I discovered Steven Universe and it’s honestly the best thing I’ve watched in 2016. To me it transcends being a kid’s show. It’s not just the first show created by a woman on Cartoon Network, it’s also a wonderfully diverse story that breaks down stereotypes. In the end Steven Universe teaches anyone that watches that you don’t have to be what others expect of you. The molds and stigmas don’t apply. The main character is one of the cutest characters and a boy that wears pink all the time. It must also be one of the first cartoons that made no doubt about characters not being straight. The message of breaking stereotypes shows in all the episodes, but one in particulair.
Now that episode has been made into a picture book. There’s new art by two incredible artist and the story isn’t made up of dialogue, but it’s fiction. It’s got Sugar’s own creative style all over it. Just like her show, her writing is not conventional. I called this book a picturebook, but it’s sort of inbetween that and a graphic novel. The story however is the same in the episode. And what a beautiful tribute to the show this is. There’s not a lot of pages and while I wish there had been more, it’s a nice book to allow yourself a little breather.
I wouldn’t say the story is missing something without all the dialogue, animation and music. It still stands and remains interesting. However it was more suitable for, and enjoyable in, the tv-show. The pages of the book feel a little cluttered. On some of them there’s a lot of text, so it has to be written in a font that’s easy to read. This is a good decision, but it’s not as aesthetically pleasing. The font is probably Times New Roman, which is really overused. The drawings themselves are beautiful, but don’t get enough space to shine. Only in a few occasions they take up the whole page. This is due to the characters Ruby and Sapphire taking up the top and bottom part with their commentary on the story. I’ve never liked it when manga’s did that and I don’t like it here either. This book reads like those version of movies where the actors comment on what happens. It’s unnecessary and takes you out of the story. Sapphire even tells you there’s only 5 more pages to go, which it wasn’t, but it does highlight the fact that this is a very short book.
The Answer is a tribute to a wonderful episode. I wanted it to feel more like its own product and not just a little extra. While I enjoyed it and the story remains wonderful, I did expect more. I wish they spend more time on making it feel complete, like a fusion. I like the story and I like the drawings, but spending more time on choosing the font and placing the drawings would have made it better in my opinion. Having said that I hope the message of the story is as clear as it is in the show: you can be whatever you choose.
The Answer is a picture book written by Rebecca Sugar. Art by Elle Michalka and Tiffany Ford.