Kudos to APE Entertainment for making an effort to put
out quality kids' comics. By creating the "KiZoic"
line, they're trying to create a brand that parents will
trust while simultaneously sounding like, um, dinosaurs,
More kudos when a writer from the pioneer days of online
comics journalism gets a good idea and gets to see it to
fruition through a company like APE. So it goes for Rob
Worley, editor-in-chief of Comics2Film.com.
I point it out for the sake of full disclosure; Rob was
one of the first online writers I met when starting out
with Fanboy Planet. It turned out, however, that besides
being a great guy running a cool site, he had talent as
a comics writer, forever altering Marvel continuity with
Young Ancient One.
Last summer, Rob showed me some sketches for a series idea
he had about a cat able to summon forth each of his previous
eight lives. The art looked fun; the concept hooked me as
being a neat way to combine funny animals with science fiction,
and I could easily see my kids watching this on TV.
So now it comes to stores in August (in the June issue
of PREVIEWS) under the title Scratch 9, and Rob
kindly gave us an advance look at the book. In addition,
I've read the complete first issue, and I can honestly say
that it's a good fit with the KiZoic line.
For the first few pages (included here), Scratch acts like
any normal cartoon cat walking that fine line between having
a believable owner/pet relationship and being, well, a cartoon
cat. His owner commits two sins: trying to give Scratch
a bath and trying to put a collar on him. This sends him
out into the wild world where, of course, he ends up in
Meanwhile, across town, sinister experiments in immortality
are going on, and you just know these two forces will collide.
Worley uses the first issue to delineate his cast and the
central conflict. He's created some bright and fun characters,
though some logic contortions might have to be made to include
the rooster believably.
Then again, there is this scientist trying to capture the
essence of a soul and put it in a cyborg body, so believability
is probably no more stretched than in any other cartoon
adventure or SyFy show.
Matching the fun and really making Worley's ideas sing,
Jason T. Kruse has a nice rounded style reminiscent of Bill
Watterson, though not quite as chaotic. There's also something
of the Muppets in there, or maybe I'm just reverse-engineering
influences that I like. At any rate, in two key
character designs Kruse really gets to show his chops, and
Scratch himself is an appealing cat with a lot of personality
from panel to panel.