First of all, I’d like to apologize for the fact that it’s been so long since I’ve blogged. Working full time, doing NaNoWriMo, and raising a kid has pretty much kept me from reading and reviewing comics this month.
But ever since we picked it up from the comic book store in October, I’ve been excited to review Sketch Monsters: Escape of the Scribbles. This book spoke to me on a couple levels. First as the parent of a 2-year-old daughter, and second as someone who didn’t express sadness or pain very well as a child.
Sketch Monsters: A Comic That’s Great for Little Kids
The main character in Sketch Monsters is eight-year-old Mandy. She plays basketball, hangs out with her friends, and behaves like your average eight year old, except for the fact that she has a hard time expressing emotions.
When Mandy’s sister goes away to college she gives Mandy a sketch book so that she can draw all the feelings that she can’t express. Mandy does just that–she draws fear, anger, sadness, silliness, and love in the form of monsters.
One night, the monsters come alive and escape from her sketch book. Mandy has to find all the monsters and express the emotion they represent in order to trap them back in her sketchbook.
While the story is simple, the drawings are really fun, especially for kids, and the plot is creative and interesting. Mandy is a little girl who has an interesting personality: she’s not a Disney princess nor a tomboy, and, as many people do, she struggles with her emotions.
When women and girls are still so often portrayed as overly-emotional, hormonal beasts with little control over their feelings, seeing a girl who represses her emotions and struggles to free them is refreshing.
Now, it would be cool to see this done with a male character, too. Imagine Superman having to cry to defeat his enemy? I’d be into it.
Now, some autobiographical musings on why I liked the story. When I was six years old I was in a pretty bad car accident and when the doctors were sewing up my head I refused to cry. I gritted my teeth and withstood the pain, just so I could seem tough.
Also, just like Mandy, my sister went off to college when I was eight. She and I had shared a room, and while I don’t remember that time very clearly, I knew it was quite a shock to see her go.
And finally, when my grandfather died when I was twelve, it was the same situation as the car accident. I couldn’t let anyone see my emotions.
Maybe my personal relationship to the book won’t sell you on it, but overall I think it’s a great comic book for girls of any age. The monsters aren’t scary, the story is easy to follow, and the art is engaging. My two year old loves it, and I imagine older kids would love it too.
I look forward to reading Book Two when it comes out.