Now if you don’t instantly think something morbid from that title… then you should. At first glance this masterpiece from Simon Max Hill and Shannon Wheeler seems innocent enough, but it’s not. The story is very simple,Grandpa... won’t wake up and his two grandchildren are going to do anything they can think of to try to wake him up. Some of those things include checking to see if he’s peed himself, they bounce him on a trampoline and even lay him naked in the lawn. But alas, nothing will wake Grandpa up.
It’s a fast read so I won’t spoil much of what the kids go through to try to wake their Grandfather up, but there are some gasping moments of unbelief when you see what they’ve chosen to do. Probably the funniest thing about the book is that it just keeps going on and on leaving you to wonder if it will ever end; or if the outcome that is apparent to everyone at the beginning of the book is ever going to come or if you’ll be left with these children exploring the outreaches of their imaginations.
As funny and simple as the story is, it’s really Wheeler's art that makes everything stand out. An example of his execution is the page where the kids lay grandpa out on the lawn naked. The narration reads, “We laid him naked on the lawn, but Grandpa won’t wake up.” Wheeler takes the narration to a new level as he places the Grandpa just above the waist stretched out on the lawn with the kids and everyone else just staring at his naked body only covered by a bird standing on his pecker. Wheeler just amplifies each page with hilariously disturbing images that would make you feel uncomfortable if placed in any other setting. I have a great example of this, but I can’t ruin it for anyone that might read it. It was shocking, disturbing and graphic to say the least and stumbling upon it made it all the funnier. The great thing about the art is that it maintains an innocent flair to it while producing morbid images, these conflicting natures work strangely well together.
The book is made to resemble a children’s book from yesterdays and hell maybe if it wasn’t demented it could have been published by the company that’s being spoofed. As it stands though I will be picking up Grandpa Won’t Wake Up when it’s released by Boom Town and recommend that if you have any interest in Shannon Wheeler’s work, that you do the same. My last bit of thoughts on the book... I'm 50/50 on if you should actual give this to a child... I seriously think they could learn something, but you could also teach them horrible things at the same time.