Original comics drive the industry, with some achieving a certain level of success and praise while others (some might say the majority) just miss the mark. Usually, the children’s demographic doesn’t have that problem since so many of them are based on an existing hero, cartoon, video game, or toy. They exploit what kids are already familiar with to improve sales, even though the quality may be lacking. So when I saw Spot On Adventure in my list of things to review this week, it was refreshing to see original characters in a kids book. I was skeptical because it reminded me of a lackluster comic I reviewed recently by a similar creative team.
That skepticism quickly vanished as I became invested in Spot the space adventuring dog and his robot buddy Golly-G as they explore the galaxy and rescue a princess from monsters and bounty hunters in this colorful, funny, and well written story. The trade is broken into two parts. The first introduces us to Spot, the purple spotted pup who could easily be based on Han Solo. He is sent on a job to find the Spirit Star, the spacecraft of legend, and he’s sure to make a fortune on it. Along for the trip is the amazing mechanical Golly-G, whose dream is to become a real boy. The second is much more exciting, as it involves the Daring rescue of the princess of the Cottonian Kingdom from kidnappers! The duo must fight past rock monsters, bounty hunters, angry clouds, an alien gang, plant people, and a ninja with a laser sword to bring the precious cargo home.
I’m not sure exactly what makes this such a good comic, but it’s probably a combination of several different factors. I think the most important thing is the tone and tempo of the story. There is no shortage of action scenes and our heroes always are positive and confident that they can escape whatever danger comes their way. Any jokes that are delivered come very natural, like Spider-Man’s banter ands there are genuinely funny parts. All the characters are diverse and extremely likable, even the villains. Franco really brings this title to life and I feel like he totally understands what kids today would enjoy. The art and color, courtesy of Scoot, is also great. He doesn’t complicate anything with advanced techniques like dimension and shading that would be lost on a younger audience, instead focusing on shapes and contrast. Even the dark scenes seem bright and there is no trouble understanding what the artist is trying to portray.
I know it’s probably strange that I would review this one week after posting a much more critical review of a similar trade, Aw Yeah Comics!, but I think is important to note what makes the difference between an okay comic and a great one. I know kids tend to have short attention spans, but the cohesive linear plot of this comic makes a world of difference, as far as building relationships and seeing the results of actions that occur. Plus, how cool is it that a dog, a robot, and a ninja can have a battle in space and the context makes it seem totally natural. For a completely original kids comic, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Wonderful, 4 out of 5 Stars
SPOT ON ADVENTURE: READY FOR TAKEOFF GN
Artist Name(s): Scoot!
Cover Artist(s): Scoot!