Monday, September 17, 2012

Cat's Cradle (Book 1): The Golden Twine

Jo Rioux

I'm a big fan of all-ages fantasy in all mediums, but especially in comics.  Jeff Smith's Bone is kind of the gold standard for all-ages fantasy comics, but there have been a slew of great new comics in the past few years:  Thomas Siddel's Gunnerkrigg Court and Scott Chantler's Three Thieves, to name a few.  Well, you can add Jo Rioux's Cat's Cradle to the list.  This fresh new fantasy series stars Suri, an orphaned girl who has been living with a merchant caravan, following them as they move from town to town, despite the owner's attempts to get rid of her.  The rest of the caravan is like a family to her however, and she dreams of one day becoming a monster tamer, as she feels is her destiny.  In this world, monsters drift into our world through a rift in the mountains, where giants keep most of the dangerous monsters away from civilized areas, but some slip through anyway.  One day, a strange man comes to the caravan, boasting that he has a monster for sale, and everything changes for Suri, as her life is upended, and monsters suddenly become a very real threat.  Jo Rioux previously illustrated the Sam & Friend Mysteries, another all-ages series that I thought looked cute when I saw it solicited for publication, but Cat's Cradle is the first work she has both written and drawn.  She has a great cartoony style that lends itself really well to this sort of story, with expressive characters and touches of comedy.  I wish that some of the monsters had more interesting designs, but I do like the mythology that Rioux has created for this first book.  This is a fun adventure with a story that moves very fluidly, that I'm sure will please readers of all ages.  Don't let this one slip under your radar, especially since you can pick up the paperback for a paltry $9.95.

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