Books for Babes provides info on the sort of comics that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. This week we recommend ‘Encounter’ and ‘Wrapped Up’, two all-ages titles from Lion Forge’s CubHouse imprint.
By Stefania Rudd. In an industry that was once supported by children and their pocket money for many decades, it often seems this demographic has become an afterthought for many publishers. However, there are some that have taken time and resources to focus on younger audiences, and one such publisher is Lion Forge Comics and their imprint, CubHouse. Intended for children ages 12 and under, CubHouse stories are frequently great fun for older kids (and even adults) to read; they showcase original graphic novels, monthly series, and picture books that allow their creators to really highlight their talents. Two such monthly titles are Encounter and Wrapped Up, both great books worth introducing to the small humans in your life, and yes, to enjoy yourself.
For Encounter, the iconic creative team of Art Baltazar and Franco (Tiny Titans, Itty Bitty Hellboy) join creative forces with Chris Giarrusso (G-Man, Mini Marvels) to bring us an original concept in the shape-shifting, polka-dotted alien form of Encounter and his trusty sidekick dog, Barko. Each exciting issue pits the duo against a menacing villain set out to disrupt and destroy; through Encounter and Barko’s wits and teamwork, they end up saving the day. In issue #4 (which is available in stores now), Encounter and Barko are looking for a little relaxation on a camping trip when they’re interrupted by intergalactic bounty hunters who believe them to be threatening outlaws. The writing for this book is simple for kids to read and understand, and it also has a great sense of humor—silly at times without coming across as goofy. Giarrusso’s distinctive artwork and his use of bright and inviting colors help make this book a visually pleasing one to enjoy.
Wrapped Up is a series I have thoroughly delighted in reading due to its endearing lead character, Milo, an average twelve-year-old mummy boy who, clearly, is anything but average! Writer Dave Scheidt (Trolls, Adventure Time) has created a relatable and honest character in Milo; children who pick up this book will easily see themselves in the other characters in this story, as well. Issue #8 finds Milo’s bestie, Wiz, stuck in Wizard Prison, where he immediately calls his most loyal and trusted friend Milo to break him out. Milo then enlists Jill, who (much to Milo’s chagrin) calls upon her friend, Eleanor, to combine their talents in order to get Wiz out. Scheidt’s stories are fun and engaging and, similar to Encounter, the writing is easy to read and understand. Artist Scoot McMahon (Sami the Samurai Squirrel) and colorist Sean Dove (Brobots) make the story come to life with vivid details and humorous sight gags, all of them enhanced by a vibrant color palette.
Both Encounter and Wrapped Up are wonderfully charming series aimed for younger readers, and I encourage parents to use them to teach reading and comprehension to their children. CubHouse has invested in creators who have found their niche in all-ages comics, and have found great success in doing so. With a little hope, their investment will in turn allow more publishers to find the value in developing stories intended for a broader range of audiences, not just those who have since moved on from their formative years.
Story by Art Baltazar, Franco, and Chris Giarrusso.
Art and lettering by Chris Giarrusso.
Colors by Stephen Mayer.
Wrapped Up #8
Written by Dave Scheidt.
Art by Scoot McMahon.
Colors by Sean Dove and Andrea Bell.
Suggested age range for both books 4-12.