By Stefania Rudd. Do you have little ones in your life who are drawn to the world of comics through movies, cartoons, and video games, but you’re not sure what to start them with, or even know what’s appropriate?
We got you! Books for Babes aims to provide info on what books kids will enjoy, but are also entertaining for adults. This week we review ‘DuckTales’ #1 from Disney and IDW Publishing.
This latest comic book incarnation of DuckTales (woo-oo!) is based off the 2017 Disney reboot. Many baby Gen Xers/older millennials will likely remember the days when they rushed home from school to catch a block of Disney themed cartoons, and now that those people are of childbearing years, what better way to connect with their child, younger family members, or friends’ kids than with the comforting familiarity of nostalgia?
When it comes to classic Disney properties, the bar is set pretty high. It can be daunting for anyone to take on these characters, considering their iconography — not to mention our feelings attached to them. Joe Caramagna has been tasked with writing this new series, making it accessible for all-ages as well as bringing to life new stories that are in line with what we see on television. There is no one more better suited for the job; as a long-time letterer, Caramagna has also made his mark on several all-ages books, writing Zootopia for Joe Books, and Avengers Assemble for Marvel. (Caramagna also got his feet wet with issue DuckTales #0.)
In issue #1 we get two stories, which is a very common format for all-age books and similar to other classic Disney comics. Both stories prominently feature Donald Duck and his three nephews Huey, Dewey, and Louie as the center of the action. The first, “The Chilling Secret of the Lighthouse,” has Donald becoming a handyman at an abandoned lighthouse, one that the locals have been trying (and failing) to use as a tourist attraction. As Donald does his best to get it back into shape, his nephews dream of adventure and start exploring the crumbling lighthouse — which ends up causing more issues for their uncle.
In the second story, “The Great Experiment of the Washing Machine,” again we have Donald just trying to do his job (this time, as a tester at an experimental lab), and his nephews finding a way to scratch their exploring itch. In both stories Donald ends up unintentionally saving the day and, in true Donald Duck fashion, his trademark short temper causes some undue stress. Huey, Dewey, and Louie are portrayed as mischievously as you’d remember them, and lighten up the stories with their sense of wonder and humor.
Luca Usai illustrates the first story and Gianfranco Florio provides art on the second. Both artists have illustrated other Disney comics in Europe, and they bring that stylistic flair to this series. Expressive faces, use of sound effects, and choice of body movements give each story a feeling of motion. Although their artwork is similar, it all melds together seamlessly thanks to Giuseppe Fontana’s coloring and Tom B. Long’s lettering. Fontana and Long provide a level of consistency to the book that other all-ages titles sometimes don’t think about.
DuckTales #1 is a great start to this rebooted series, and a terrific way to draw more little ones into the format of comic books with the help of familiar characters. The best part about all this is, the series has only scratched the surface of this particular property. It’s going to be quite fun to discover which other members of the DuckTales world will make an appearance in these adventures.
Written by Joe Caramagna.
Art by Luca Usai and Gianfranco Florio.
Coloring by Giuseppe Fontana.
Lettering by Tom B. Long.
This book contains vocabulary possibly difficult for early/new readers.
Age range: 4-7 and 8-11
That’s it for this week! Has Books For Babes helped you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.