The Mighty Onion

The Mighty Onion
Age Range
Release Date
April 02, 2024
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Eliot Quigly is sure of one thing and one thing only: He is sitting on the greatest superhero comic idea of all time. Combine radioactive onion rings with a run-of-the-mill kid and you get the Mighty Onion, a crime-fighting superhero who gains extraordinary powers whenever he eats onions. It’s genius!
Eliot can’t wait to get his brilliant idea out into the world, but there’s only one problem: he’s terrible at drawing. Eliot is about to throw in the towel when he lucks upon the perfect illustrator—classmate Pamela Jones, who begrudgingly agrees to help.  
With his ambition and her artistic talent, there’s no stopping this dynamic comic-creating duo. But partnership is a tricky road, and creative differences arise quickly. Will Eliot and Pam stick together long enough to make this vision a reality? 
Using a mix of comic pages, journal entries, handwritten letters, and more, author-illustrator Mark Crilley explores the triumphs and tribulations of the creative process—and teamwork—in a series opener that’s unlike any you’ve seen before!

Editor review

1 review
Creative conflicts
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What worked:
The story goes through the creative process of writing/drawing a comic book. The book is formatted to share the steps Eliot goes through from generating ideas to the “published” final product. The artwork depicts different types of paper as his concepts get more serious. The pictures show he begins writing on a notepad, then notebook paper, until he is finally able to purchase some quality drawing paper. Eliot realizes his weakness is drawing so he enlists the help of a classmate, Pam. Their interactions are shown on torn pieces of paper as they pass notes during class. Each completed episode of The Mighty Onion is presented as a comic strip spread over multiple pages.
The majority of the conflict takes place within Eliot’s character as he strives to make his comic about the Mighty Onion a smash hit. His character lacks humility and he thinks all of his ideas are the best. He ignores any criticism and is infuriated when Pam tries to change a couple of things without telling him. Pam’s artwork is a huge step up from Eliot’s attempts at drawing but he never shares a compliment or a thank you to her. Pam is well aware of this fact and Eliot’s inability to notice social cues makes the problem even larger.
The plot includes a touch of humor which must be expected in a story about a Mighty Onion. How many scientists would take radioactive onions and toss them out the window? Eliot’s warped sense of reality will have readers shaking their heads as he makes the situation with Pam worse and worse. The creative process in his mind will show that he has even poorer ideas about the Mighty Onion than the ideas that make it into the comic. The Mighty Onion is eventually paired with Guinea Pig Girl as she flies around in her Guinea Copter. The light-hearted narrative will keep readers amused and entertained.
What didn’t work as well:
The strangeness of The Mighty Onion may not excite some readers but the real story centers on the relationship between Eliot and Pam. The varied format of the narrative through notes, comics, and journals is not normal in most novels but this book presents it in an interesting way.
The final verdict:
I was not immediately eager to read a book about a radioactive onion but Eliot’s transformation into a more compassionate person is quite interesting. The unique presentation adds an innovative twist to story-telling and should appeal to most middle-grade readers. Overall, this book is a pleasure to read and I recommend you give it a shot.
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