Today’s Birthday Book fills me with nostalgia, not just for the book itself but for the work of Paul Smith in general. His run on Uncanny X-Men (collected here) remains one of my favorites in super-hero comics, packed with watershed moments made even better by his terrific pencils. In fact, I’d go so far as to say it was the title’s last great huzzah.
But today’s title is actually an independent work Smith did with James Robinson for Image: Leave it to Chance. It ran for a mere thirteen issues, but it was really terrific while it lasted. I like the Publishers Weekly description on the book’s Amazon listing so much that I’ll just crib from it:
“Like the Nancy Drew mysteries that inspired it, Robinson’s newest work is a paean to the resourcefulness and spirit of a curious tomboyish type who’s addicted to adventure. Chance Falconer is a 14-year-old only child born into a family of municipal sorcerers that has protected the city of Devil’s Echo for centuries. Chance can’t wait to start training in the family business, but her father decides he doesn’t want a girl joining the family’s dangerous profession… This is a girl power comic written with a younger audience in mind. The smartest cops are female, the violence is G-rated and the story is fast-paced, brightly colored and as wholesome as it gets.”
I’d be reluctant to use the word “wholesome,” just because nobody could possibly take that as a compliment, but the rest is spot-on. I’m horrified by my suspicion that it’s out of print, because I would have pegged this as an absolute perennial. Surely someone should have an omnibus edition in the offing, shouldn’t they?