The protagonists are both around ten years old, and the book is aimed at this age group. Drawn in a typically Bande Dessinée style, the Argentine author and artist are obviously drawn to this European tradition, rather than the American comic book.
Carlos Trillo, who died in 2011, was a prolific writer, collaborating with many notable artists, and this is one of several efforts with Eduardo Risso (of 100 Bullets fame). Originally published in four editions by SAF Comics, they have now been brought together in an omnibus edition, and should have enough excitement, fantasy and adventure to satisfy most young children.
It is good to see this kind of European comic book on sale in the UK (I bought it from Forbidden Planet, in Shaftesbury Avenue, London) and Risso’s artwork is accomplished, his lines part pen, part brush, he draws the characters expressively, and I cannot fault his drawing, his research, nor his style.
If I did have to find a fault, it would be the colour, which is very ‘photoshopped’, with very flat areas of colour and very precise graduations. To make things worse, it is printed on gloss paper, which seems to emphasise this crudeness.
I also found it clumsy in its ‘story boarding’, and at times it seemed too hurried, and I think it would have been better if it had tarried somewhat at certain points of the story, and if the creators had spent more time acquainting us with the characters. I did not feel much empathy with anyone in the story, as they all seemed rather two-dimensional.
I also found the ending rather unsatisfying, not very believable and a bit of an anti-climax. I know the story is for young children, but they will still respond to engaging and believable characters and situations, as the early Asterix books atest.
Written by Mike Stonelake, illustrator, cartoonist and designer. See www.mikestonelake.com