This week in The Comic Stop, I’ve got two titles that are about as opposite as you can get. One is for kids, the other a horror comic you wouldn’t want anywhere near your child. What both books have in common, though, is the ability to bring out the best in the comics medium within their respective genres. Read on:
As the father of a toddler, I’m always on the look out for some kid friendly comics. Now, I know she can’t read them yet, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be amassing a solid collection of titles for the time when she’s ready to start flipping through the pages of a series. BOOM! Studios’ kids imprint, kaboom!, has been doing a fantastic job of putting out great looking kid titles that also appeal to adults. The latest addition to their ouevre is Snarked!, written and illustrated by Roger Langridge, who has also delivered critically hailed books based on the Muppet Show. In Snarked!, we’re introduced to a magical world where a very young princess is crowned queen and heads out on a journey with her even younger brother to find their father, who has been missing at sea for six months. They’re helped by a walrus and the Cheshire cat. It’s that kind of story.
Snarked #1 is really a lot of fun. Langridge’s art is refreshingly cartoony, his dialogue quick and clever. He manages to craft a story suitable for kids, but that can engage an adult audience as well. It’s the sort of title that I can enjoy reading now, and that I’ll definitely hold on to for my own princess to look at.
Here is one title that I won’t be showing my toddler anytime this decade. Severed is one of the darkest and creepiest stories I’ve read in a long while. It’s also a fantastic example of how, given the time and space, you can build genuine tension with a comic book without having to throw in all sorts of action sequences, explosions or, in the case of what could be defined as a horror comic, gratuitous violence (all of which have their place in a given title).
Servered is the story of 12-year old Jack, who has run away from home and is searching for his long-lost biological father, musician J.P. Brakeman. Along the way he meets up with Sam, a homeless girl in boys clothing. In the meantime, we’re also introduced to a psychopathic killer who is after Jack as well. In the hands of Snyder and Tuft, Severed #3 is creepy stuff, and it’s all done simply with Kutaki’s moody artwork and strong dialogue. The last half of the issue is something that you’d see in a film, as Jack and Sam are unknowingly making friends with the killer in question. As I was reading the issue, the tension was continually mounting. The execution was unique, the payoff the perfect hook to keep me reading next month.
For fans of slow burn horror, Severed is absolutely essential reading.