Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo

Charles' family has moved to Echo City, and he is not happy about it. Not only is he removed from his friends, he has to live in a dilapidated, old house while his dad renovates it. When he starts hearing noises come from his closet, he is creeped out. When his belongings start disappearing he is disturbed. When he comes face to face with a giant, bug-eyed creature, he is terrified.
Then, a neighbor kid gives him a strange business card to contact Margo Maloo. Once he does his life is transformed and he becomes aware of a parallel world to our own, populated by ghosts, goblins, trolls, and ogres. And although all of this is exciting, it is also horrifying, because some of those creatures have it in for humans. Also, Charles, who is an avid blogger/kid journalist, cannot divulge any of those secrets, which is somewhat maddening.

The combination of youthful hi-jinks coupled with monsters and supernatural intrigue is a delight. I very much enjoyed the characters, the situations, and, perhaps most importantly, the creatures in this book. There is much to recommend it to upper elementary and middle school readers, or anyone who likes monster stories tinged with humor (like me). If it were in a classroom library, I would expect it to be in constant circulation.

Drew Weing is the artist/writer who created this wonderful book. He won a 2016 National Cartoonists Society award for long-form on-line comic for his work on Margo Maloo and has also published a prior graphic novel Set to Sea.  He speaks more about his work and this book in this interview.

All of the reviews I have read about this book have been glowing. Publishers Weekly gave it a starred review, calling it "a beautifully conceived and executed trio of stories." In another starred review, Kirkus Reviews concluded that "A tough, ambitious, and courageous heroine is always welcome, and Margo and Charles are an odd couple kids will enjoy rooting for." Jessica Greenlee cited numerous strengths, including "humor in odd places" and how it "stresses the power of negotiation."

The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo was published by First Second, and they have a preview and much more available here. The webcomic is ongoing, so if you want to follow in further adventures check it out here.

Weing also has a Patreon page where a person can sponsor him and get some exclusive sneak peeks and additional content for a nominal monthly fee.

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