Graphic Novel Review – 7″ Kara Volume 1
7” Kara is an ongoing children’s comic independently published and printed by Becca Hillburn. Hillburn holds a Master’s degree in Sequential Art. Volume 1 holds the first four chapters of the narrative, and includes a short side story for an anthology, as well as production notes.
Kara and her family are Lilliputians, small human-like creatures who live off of the land and under human structures. The two early chapters follow the drama of her family deciding whether or not they should flee to a different location once they get news of a new human family moving in close to them. Her parents’ share different views on both human-Lilliputian relations and how to raise their headstrong daughter. After talking with her mother about the existence of humans, something that had been mythologized for her beforehand, the sheltered Kara ventures out to meet one.
The entire comic is done in pencils and lovely watercolors. The characters have a body and facial styling reminiscent of many shoujo manga, though Hillburn takes advantage of her choice of medium and adds far more detail to the skin complexion of characters. Both Kara and her father have freckled skin, and the lead human character has a dark complexion and dominant mole. Since the story takes place from the perspective of a tiny character, small objects are rendered in detail.
Hillburn also includes production notes and an extra story after the first four chapters. The most interesting additions are the early drafts of the comic which featured a more traditional manga style which was kept in grayscale and featured a lot of inking, rather than the colorful and light direction the comic eventually took. Character concept sketches and maps are also included, which I can assure you from personal experience, are like fuel for creative young children to see in the back of their books. Hillburn appears to be invested in making comics as welcoming an environment as possible for young girls, and showing them a bit of the work involved in creating them is an important contribution.
The story presented in the first four chapters makes me curious about how the Lilliputians live and cohabitate with the human world around them, and how they do things like fish when they themselves don’t grow over a foot. The subject will have to be brought up in the future, so it’s something to look forward to. I’ll be waiting for the subsequent releases, and will likely be donating this volume to my local library so that the intended audience can get their hands on it.