Margo Maloo is a comic unabashedly aimed at younger readers, but it’s also a comic I think that many adults will enjoy, and this ‘adult’ would be reading it with or without his children!
But the girls love the comic so we’re reading this one as a family. I love sharing my passion for comics and stories with my kids and this is great opportunity to indulge.
The characters and comic concept
Charles is an intense, straight laced little boy. A boy on a mission – to report the truth to children everywhere. But when his family moves from a small town to the big city he encounters something more terrifying than parental oppression; monsters! They’re everywhere, lurking in the forgotten corners of Echo City.
But when you have monster problems there is one kid you can turn to for help, Monster Mediator: Margo Maloo!
My children are fascinated by Margo and have been conjecturing about her back story since she appeared in chapter 1. They’re reasonably certain she’s part monster herself, a view echoed by another boy, Kevin, who lives in Charles’ building and befriends him early on. I suspect Margo will have slightly more mundane origins but we’ll all have to wait and see.
All the characters, Charles & Margo, Kevin, and Charles’ parents (who provide a very nice counterpoint and context to Charles himself) are nicely written and developed with an obvious emphasis on our main characters.
Margo Maloo is a mystery/adventure story with healthy doses of supernatural spookiness thrown in. It’s also a story about moving to somewhere new and strange, and about the learning and adapting that goes with that. It creates a nice dynamic, and an opportunity for exposition, in the comic as Charles reacts and find a place in this strange new world he find himself in.
Each chapter is a ‘case file’ so to speak, with the kids dealing with a different monster related problem. There is an on-going narrative but generally the format is more episodic with each chapter a self-contained story.
Pacing is good, everything moves along quite quickly as you might expect in this style of story but the story still has room to breathe with natural pauses allowing dialogue and character interaction.
There's also quite a bit of contention between the two lead characters. Margo has a shadowy past she doesn't seem keen to share, Charles is a kid with a nose for a story and a stubborn streak. It's a nice little interaction that gets played on within the story.
I think the art of Margo Maloo is gorgeous, reminiscent of Quentin Blake and other children’s book illustrators. I absolutely love the level of detail in some of the panels. They’re not hyper detailed but reward a careful look over with interesting little discoveries. I love pictures of the interior of abandoned buildings and the panels of Charles and Margo creeping through dust covered rooms are delightful.
Likewise the scenes of the city are full of character and life. They’re provide, particularly to a child not from one themselves, an intriguing and vivid portrait of life in a big city.
Author, publishing and timeline
The author of Margo Maloo is Drew Weing. Drews resides in Athens, Georgia, United States.
From what I can gather Drew has previously worked on comics in a ‘part-time’ capacity (e.g. while holding down another non-comic related job) but back in Dec 2014 made the leap of faith into going fulltime as a comic writer.
The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo has been picked up for publishing by First Second and will apparently be available for purchase in September 2016.
Drew mentioned in an interview on GeekDad that the first book will include the first three chapters presently online. He also mentions that he thinks it will “…take at least three books to tell the whole story…”. I thereby calculate six more chapters, with the current three taking one and a half years, giving us approximately another three years. However I would I put emphasis on the “at least” part of that sentence – I think there’s still plenty of story left in Margo Maloo!