And it was a great read!
For Christmas, my wife managed to snag the collected works of this early 2000’s comic created by a couple of Brits, Robin and Lawerence Etherington. I can’t remember when I first ran into their work. Possibly it was from a posting on some online artist forum. Probably here. Not that it really mattters. All I remember was boing totally blown away at the care and detail that went into their work.
Fast forward a few years later. After helping someone self-publish a book on LuLu.com, I went browsing and found the Malcolm Magic, The Big Kahuna Collection on the site. And at a very reasonable price considering the page count (over 300 pages). So on my Christmas list it went. And Kimmy, in all her amazingness, broke her rule about not wanting to order gifts online, and got it for me.
So firstly, I feel I have to review the book manufacture itself. LuLu.com is a print on demand publisher. You buy a book, they print the one book, and ship it to you. Unlike a traditionally mass produced book, where there are hundreds or even thousands of books warehoused somewhere. So the economics are a little different between the two types of book manufacturing models. So, the book is ENTIRELY black and white. No colour. While a colour book printed on demand is not too badly priced compared what it might take to print just a very few colour books in the massed produced way, it is still a touch bit too expensive to expect people to sell out that kind of cash for a commercial venture. And the image quality is not quite the same as a traditionally printed book. Knowing what I’ve seen of The Etherington Brother’s work online over the years, what I saw reproduced in the book was a little substandard. But that could have also been my older eyes. Younger eyes may not have the same problem.
Now, onto the story.
It was awesome! I was a big fan of things like Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew when I was a kid, and as a somewhat older kid, I watched Chip and Dale‘s Rescue Rangers, Tailspin, and Darkwing Duck, so I’m all there when it comes to anthropomorphized animals. I’m not too certain what age category they were shooting for. I hesitate to say it’s for all ages. There might be a few situations in the book where a parent might not be too happy about a young child reading about, but I’d say (and not being a parent myself) anyone 12 and up would enjoy reading this book without upsetting the parental units. A really great fantasy/adventure comedy with lots and lots of pop cultural references older readers will appreciate. And the writer has a very interesting way of seamless interweaving multiple story lines into a single narrative (think Lost, but only better… seriously). And it takes a certain kind of writer to use the term, “Googalymoogaly” in a story and not have it seem out of place. I won’t say anymore so as to not introduce any spoilers.
My only complaint about the story was it’s ending. It seemed pretty clear to me that there should be at least a few more adventures for Malcolm and his friends. Especially the way it ended. And they did hint at a few details regarding Malcolm’s origins that I think need explaining. Hopefully, one day, the authors will help me out on that one and release a follow up.
Malcolm Magic is not their only tale. It seems they have quite a little collection going. They have a blog over here, that I am going to have to investigate further. I think Baggage might be the next story I pick up next. Though, that will probably be a while from now, as I have quite a backlog of reading to do.
Now if I can just get my mitts on Paper Biscuit…