Sure, there’s only half an issue of story in Snarked #0 (plus a ton of amazing extras, which we’ll get to in a second), but I’m calling this right now: Roger Langridge has created another comic book classic. Bold words, sure, but the amount of joy Langridge infuses every scant page of the issue with nearly jumps out of the panels. It’s that much fun.
So… What’s it about, you superlative loving reviewer? Well, Langridge has set up a world that references, while not entirely taking place within Wonderland – Lewis Carroll’s creation most famously depicted in Alice in Wonderland, and Through the Looking Glass. Instead, we get characters that are familiar from the books, and little touches here and there – but clearly a story of Langridge’s own creation.
We start by following two con men in the mold of Laurel and Hardy, modeled on the Walrus and The Carpenter, as they swindle their way into the royal palace in order to get a decent hot meal. Once their, they encounter Scarlett – who will later become The Red Queen – who sends them on a hunt for the mythical, and terrifying Snark. Meanwhile, The Red King, Scarlett’s father, is missing and presumed dead.
That’s the short version, but each of the pages is jam packed with brilliant details, wry character work, and pitch perfect comic pacing. Scarlett’s first appearance recalls some of the best of Winsor McCay; it looks like it was cribbed right out of Little Nemo in Slumberland, and I mean that in a good way. And The Walrus in particular is an inspired comic creation, completely familiar, pleasingly comic, yet also ultimately terrifying and sort of evil in a way that con men haven’t been in movies or TV for decades.
There’s a lot of dark comedy in here that fits right into the tone and worlds Carroll created… But just like those books have been read for generations without kids going out and, I don’t know, chasing rabbits to their death or something, this comic is a great read for parents and children. Older readers will love the in jokes and black humor, as well as – hopefully – getting more o the context. Younger readers will just love the classic designs, fun wordplay, and the fact that they’re reading a comic book that makes them feel smart. Like the best all ages books, Snarked truly is for all ages.
That isn’t even getting into the back-up material, which makes this #0 zero issue one of the better kick-offs to a series I’ve read in recent memory. The story is great, but then you get just as much material fleshing out the world, from the requisite sketches, to games and mazes, to even reprints of Lewis Carroll’s The Hunting of the Snark, and The Walrus and the Carpenter. The stories provide much more context for the comic, but are also excellent in their own right.
In summation friends: you remember how you didn’t pick up Langridge’s Thor the Mighty Avenger until you heard there was all this fuss, after it was cancelled? Don’t make that mistake again. Pick up Snarked #0, and get in on the next great comic on the ground floor. You won’t be sorry – particularly because you get all this for one dollar. Now that’s a deal even the Walrus and The Carpenter wouldn’t turn down (though they’d steal the dollar back after they were done).