PLAYGROUND – ATTACK OF THE GURGLEBOTS!!!, VOL. 1
Writer: Adam Rose Art: Charles Toefield
Colors & Letters: Shauna Klebesadel
Additional Art, Colors & Letters: David Pentland, Trevor A. Smith, Shauna Klebesadel Publisher: Markosia
WHAT IS IT?
An all-ages graphic novel that spotlights going outside, playing childhood games, and eating your vegetables.
It reads like a wholesome-yet-fun '90s cartoon.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Felix is out trudging around his elementary school's organic garden and stumbles upon a growing stalk of broccoli. Without knowing this broccoli had gained mysterious meteor powers, he eats it and gains playground-related abilities.
He uses these to fight against the school principal, who uses candy powers to control and sedate the children. Felix and his friends must stand up to the principal and his army of Gurglebots (snack- and soda-machines that transform into robots) to free all the kids from his clutches.
As a parent, I love comics my kids can read, especially when they glorify vegetables and getting away from the screen
While at first I questioned Felix fighting the principal, I do think it's important to teach our kids to challenge authority that is corrupt
Many indie comics don't have color, but the bold and bright color inside are perfect for young audiences
Rose & Toefield do well creating an approachable all-ages title that can actually resonate with kids
From the action-packed, low-dialogue story to the age-appropriate subject matter, it really feels like they understand their audience
Robust backmatter includes activity pages for kids, character close-ups, and even a whole other story, called "Hobby Squad"!
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
The upfront section explains the powers, but I wonder if it's too dense and copy-heavy for young readers, especially positioned in the front of the comic before the action starts
I also worry that kids who haven't played these games might lack a frame of reference to grasp the powers' concepts
That being said, as an adult and a parent, I liked seeing the "rules" of the world upfront, and feel like I could easily paraphrase for my kids
"Rude" humor, like a squirrel peeing on a meteor (shown below) may play well with kids, but sensitive parents may not want their kids reading that
It seems like there's a lot of white space on the pages – I'm not sure if this is a style choice or an issue with the digital file, but it takes away from room that could be spent on more comic
A professional letterer could help save some room on the page and cut white space within word balloons
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
"Playground – Attack of the Gurglebots!!!" is a solid comic for a younger audience. Fun, funny and wholesome without coming across as boring or out of touch.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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