The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo
By Drew Weing
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
Drew Weing has a potential hit on his hands here. What if, bear with me for a bit, what if monsters that haunt and scare children weren’t just a figment of their imagination? What if they existed in their own worlds, away from the prying eyes of adults and only revealed themselves (or eat a few) nosey kids? When young Charles startles on the unfortunate truth, It takes mind over matter to join up with the mysterious Margo Maloo to uncover the dark secrets of the underworld of vampires, ghosts, and ogres and trolls, and learn as much as he can – only he can’t tell adults about any of it. The events that shake up Charles’ life is sure to leave a lasting impression of anyone reading The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo.
The story, mostly about moving and change both real and reality-bending, starts with a single step. Charles is moving to the big city, with all of its dangers and perils. Charles’ father, a contractor, has bought an old hotel with more than its fair share of secrets. Enter Charles’ neighbor, who offers to alieve the burden of the monster in his closet by giving him a business card of the mysterious (and well known throughout the monster community) Margo Maloo. Being the curious, budding, intrepid reporter, with his own blog, Charles follows Maloo through the perils and pitfalls of monster society, stumbling across more and more, and getting more and more involved in dealing with the denizens of the dark. It’s quite the adventurous romp, with spacers that act as ‘chapters’ or ‘respites’ only for the reader to absorb the information, before ramping in up a notch, as the story races to its dramatic conclusion.
The artwork is extremely well crafted and plays up the surrealistic landscape Charles finds himself in. Not to realistic, but at the same time, not too cartoony. The art is a perfect fit for the story it tells. There are no shortcomings of lack of detail, and the hybrid style eases the readers’ eyes over the page. Panelation is tight and easily followed, figures are identifiable by both their word choice in balloons, and their depiction on the page. Admiration goes to scenes such as finding an abandoned kitchen, to the collections of a troll’s lair, through to the abduction of Charles by ogres. The artwork enhances, rather than detracts from its word counterpart and the synergy of ‘drawing words and writing pictures’ has not been wasted here. Draftsmanship is readily apparent here, and Weing has delivered in spades.
Overall, if you’re into a quick, light read, with lots of action and a ‘coming of age’ story with a twist, then I direct you no further than The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo. Everyone of all ages can pull something out of this wonderfully written graphic novel. With thrills galore, this will appeal to any reader of fine graphic novels and First Second has delivered yet another laudable title in their catalogue. Drew Weing, as I said, has a potential hit here, and it would be a shame for you to miss it.