Saturday, July 25, 2015

Mermin Book One: Out of Water

Out of Water is a whole lot of things at once. It's a monster story about a young critter than looks a lot like the Creature from the Black Lagoon encountering some children. It's a tale of fitting in at school, with a look at classroom and classmate dynamics. It's an action story about a lost prince and the elite squad sent to retrieve him. And it's also sort of a superhero slugfest. Also, there are a whole bunch of humorous bits, mostly verbal and situational ones like this one here:
Mermin is an amusing and enigmatic character. He is running from something and shares almost nothing about his background. Also, he is hiding the fact that he has an amazing array of abilities, including super strength and the ability to communicate telepathically with sea life. After saving them from a shark, he ingratiates himself into a trio of children, one of whom actually gets his family to shelter the little green guy. Mermin settles in and even goes to school with his new friend Pete, pretending to be his cousin. There, they all find themselves in the interesting and insightful world of elementary students like so:
I don't want to spoil too much, but there is a whole lot of backstory that Mermin does not tell but the reader finds out little by little. He is a merman from the land of Mer, and he seems to be a figure of some importance, but something happened that made him want to abandon his underwater life. I felt that the story was compelling enough, and even though there is much left unresolved at the end of this book (it literally ends with questions) there are two more volumes (with a fourth soon to be published) for those who want to follow his adventures. I know I felt a little disappointed that there was not more resolution in this book, but knowing there are more books that follow is good news for Mermin fans.

This book is the creation of Joey Weiser, a cartoonist who has published a few other books and mini-comics, including Tales of Unusual Circumstance, Cavemen in Space, and The Ride Home. He speaks more about his work on this book in this interview.

The reviews I have read about this book range from positive to lukewarm. Diamond Bookshelf wrote,"The art is appropriately bold and cartoony, but also vibrant and easy to follow, and the coloring is very bright and eye catching." Publishers Weekly summed up, "The slapstick comedy, climactic battle scenes, and in-your-face cartooning add up to a story with the feel of an animated cartoon series, if not an especially ground-breaking one." Kirkus Reviews was not too enthusiastic about the book and suggested that "readers looking for a funny, bubble-gum comic with art vibrant as a Saturday-morning cartoon and action to match will find that this suffices."

Mermin Book One was published by Oni Press. You can purchase it online here. Weiser provides a preview of it here.

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