Sometimes, especially for younger readers, it’s easier for writers to tell an important story about family, friendship, frailty, difficult decisions and survival when the main characters are anthropomorphic animals rather than human beings.
The story becomes more accessible that way.
To get a better understanding of World War II and the experiences of a Jewish Holocaust survivor, the graphic novel Maus by Art Spiegelman makes for a very good and very accessible, start. For differing viewpoints on the idea of freedom amidst the backdrop of the Iraqi War, Pride of Baghdad by Brian K. Vaughan and Nico Henrichon is required reading. There are many other exmaples, of course, and not all in comic book or graphic novel form. I’m thinking specifically about Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, Watership Down, The Wind in the Willows and, of course, Animal Farm.
Still, it’s nice to see a work of fiction in comic book form, fully realized by the author/artist for readers of all ages.
That brings us to today’s release of Scurry, a first-time, 328-page compilation in trade paperback form, of a long-running and beloved webcomic series.
Both written and illustrated by acclaimed creator, Mac Smith, and published by the Skybound Entertainment imprint of Image Comics, Scurry is a wholly engrossing story that features a cast of animal characters, all bent on survival in a post-apocalyptic land.
In a bleak world of ruined cities, abandoned suburbs and desolate rural landscapes, humans have altogether disappeared. This new and altogether frightening paradigm has allowed some animals, like wolves, to wander into places they would otherwise never tread while other, smaller creatures like mice, desperately scout for food and shelter while providing for their faltering colony, beset by starvation, illness and competing factions for leadership. The brave, red-furred mouse, Wix, who also happens to be the self-described best and fastest scout in the mouse colony, sets off on a perilous mission to find food for his famished and wilting colleagues. On that adventure across the unknown wilds of forests and rivers and roads full of foes, he uncovers threats, treachery, death and even strange friendships with other animals who share a common goal: peaceful life beyond the hardships of the apocalypse.
Scurry is a beautiful story full of wonder and adventure. Mac Smith’s detailed and evocative artwork revels in both place and emotion, setting passionate characters into a wholly believable setting. It thrills booklovers with hero’s journey action and provokes thoughtful philosophical conundrums, making difficult life choices and experiences more accessible to readers.
Perhaps the most important, most interesting aspect of Scurry is that, although adults would love the story, it’s perfectly suited for younger readers of 8-12 years of age. Included with this new paperback edition is a two-page reader’s guide as well as a link to a teacher’s guide so that the important ideas expressed in a singular reading of the graphic novel can even be discussed amongst peers in a larger classroom setting.
Make the run to your local comic book shop or bookstore today and pick up the wonderful Scurry for yourself or a younger version of yourself!