Snarked! Issues 7 and 8

Written and Illustrated by Roger Langridge
Boom! Studios

Wilburforce J. Walrus finds himself out of the soup and right on to a skewer, as he continues his somewhat reluctant journey with Queen Scarlett and Price Rusty (along with faithful if dense companion Clyde McDunk) as they face danger after danger to rescue the missing Red King.  A shipwreck on an Isle of Plenty might find the band on the menu, and if they can manage to survive that, there's danger on the high seas from the twin threats of the Gryphon and his pet the Bandersnatch.  It's all in these incredible issues of Snarked!, Roger Langridge's all-ages comic based loosely in the world of Lewis Carroll.

I absolutely love this series, which I continue to think may be the best work of Langridge's career.  Each issue opens with a brief and witty recap from Wilburforce and the opening pages feature short rhyming poetry that sets up the action and often gives a clue to the events of the story.  Snarked! also reads very well as a single-issue comic, as each set of twenty-four pages is self-contained.  My only problem with this is that it feels like our band wins the day a little too often, especially at the end of issue seven, which brings back their boat without a solid reason and rescues them from the hungry animals that have captured them.  Issue eight's resolution is a lot stronger, as it not only keeps the ship safe, we also see some strong character progression for Wilburforce, who manages to save the day, whether he knows it or not.

As in previous issues, Langridge's dialog is perfect for an all ages title, as the story is geared towards younger readers but has a lot of lines that also work well for an adult audience.  They're delivered alongside artwork that, like Sergio Aragones, is both detailed and cartoonish at the same time.  Langridge is a master at making just about any character be as expressive as they need to be, and his placement of figures tells the reader so much.  (A good example is the cover to issue 8 which accompanies this paragraph.)  He's not afraid to bend perspective a bit, and his designs for the creatures that Queen Scarlett and the rest must face are both imaginative and a bit scary, all at the same time.  Anyone who's read Langridge's Fin Fang Foom stories for Marvel will know what I'm talking about.

The best part of reading an issue of Snarked! is looking for the Easter Eggs.  I wasn't able to find one in issue 8--yet--but in issue seven, we get Langridge's take on a classic Warner Brothers character, who is part of the natives on the island.  Little touches like that (or drawing the Cheshire Cat as though he was Mozart's best friend) are part of the fun of reading Snarked!.  Combined with a strong story, it makes for a whole that gets better the more times you read it.

These two issues close up the second arc of Snarked!, and if anything, the series is getting better as it moves along.  Langridge is really finding his stride in this series, as it moves further away from something that could have been adapted for the Muppets and into a story that is uniquely his.  Snarked! has been an absolute delight and I can't wait to read more as it moves on to issue 9, which is out this week.

Bonus note:  You can meet Snarked! creator Roger Langridge at the Heroes Convention in Charlotte, NC this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, June 22-24th!