Roger Langridge has garnered many fans with his accessible work on Thor: The Mighty Avenger and BOOM!’s Muppet Show. Working with the latter publisher’s Kaboom! imprint, New Zealander Langridge again shows what comics can, and should, be – easy on the eyes, easy to understand and most importantly – fun.
There’s an insightful interview with the writer/artist about this new monthly series here, in which he reveals how he’s inspired by the kind of lunacy seen in Monty Python and The Goon Show. Using Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and The Carpenter characters from the 1871 Alice in Wonderland sequel, Through The Looking Glass, and giving them the spotlight certainly is an unusual premise for an ongoing series, but this has great dialogue, zany adventures and a general sense of playfulness on every page.
Wilburforce J. Walrus is arrogant, ignorant of the needs of others and quite full of himself, but Langridge makes him a likeable lead. With his trustworthy and dim offsider, McDunk (The Carpenter, obviously) in tow, the pair head off to the King’s castle, upon learning that he’s just left for a 3 month journey. Pretending to be Princess Scarlett’s ballet teachers, they dance their way in and then form another lie by claiming to be looking for the dreaded creatures known as snarks within the royal walls. While Scarlett, and the baby Prince Rusty follow Walrus and his wild claims of the snarks, he seizes the moment and steals food.
As it’s a #0 issue, it acts like a primer, with fewer story pages ( only 8 ) and more back up pages, including character sketches, a 2 page excerpt from Scarlett’s diary (oddly enough, recounting the events that we’ve just read), The Hunting of the Snark, and the original Walrus and The Carpenter poems by Carroll, plus puzzles and games. It’s only $1, so is a bargain for an entertaining tale that both adults and kids can read, and if it introduces more people to the works of Lewis Carroll, even better.
The art is loose, but not sketchy and the setting, the character designs, body language and timing all add to the comedic charm. The only nitpicks I have are that, in Scarlett’s diary she mentions that her father has been on his voyage for, “three months, twelve days,” and The Walrus and The Carpenter visited her on the same day. However when we see The Walrus reading the newspaper in the main story, it states that the king has just left for an expected three month voyage, so either the newspaper is wrong and he left 3 months ago with another 3 months left, or Scarlett doesn’t know how to use a calendar. Yes, nitpciky, but noticeable. The other odd moment is when The Walrus, while in the castle, notices a golden statue of the king and becomes greedily transfixed by it. On the next page, both he and McDunk are being chased out by soldiers. The implication of course is that The Walrus tries to steal it, but if there was an extra panel of him attempting to stuff the statue into his bag while being watched by angry guards, the transition between panels would work better.
Snarked #0 is released in August and can (and should be) be ordered now, and the series kicks off with the #1 issue in October.
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