Amelia Rules! is a series of comic books written by Jimmy Gownley. It debuted in 2001, and has so far been collected in three graphic novel collections. The comic is what would generally be considered an "alternative comic", since it doesn't fall in the superhero genre. It instead follows the life of an elementary school girl named Amelia, her friends, and her family.
The idea is rather generic, since tales of childhood have been common in comic strips for almost a hundred years, if not quite as common in comic books. And, based on some alternative comics I have read, it could have ended up a pretentious, boring or confusing mess. However, Jimmy Gownley doesn't take writing an alternative comic book as an excuse to not write something entertaining, and the execution of his plots and characters is excellent.
It is now almost a cliche to describe something as easy enough for children, but still interesting for an adult, but Amelia Rules! certainly fits that description. The plots mix slapstick action together with larger scale character development. The plots involve the rivalries and crushes of Amelia and her fellow students, as well as the slightly more subtle rivalries and crushes of her extended family. Some serious issues are brought up, but across the first two volumes, the writing is fairly light hearted. The art is simple, cartoony and bright, and is a good compliment to the action. There are also a few places where Gownley mixes in some art that is a homage to Peanuts and Doonesbury, and the homage almost overcomes the source material.
The particular charm and appeal of the story is not in the concept, but in the execution, so it is hard to describe what exactly makes Amelia Rules! so much better than other alternative comics. I would definitely recommend it to any comic book fan who wants to read an amusing and engaging story.