Friday, July 24, 2009

Mini-Comic Review: Maria and Oscar's Adventures in Sibling Rivalry and Ennui

Full disclosure: This 54-page mini-comic comes from my friend Cayetano Valenzuela (who is expecting a baby girl any day now, so order a bunch of copies for you and your friends. Trust me-- diapers aren't cheap).

In the three-act mini-comic Maria and Oscar's Adventures in Sibling Rivalry and Ennui, the title characters are amazed when they come across a falling star. They both have different ideas in terms of what to do with the start, yet both Maria and Oscar's ideas involve punching one another. The results of punching one another are metaphysical and allow the characters to achieve their goals for the fallen star.

The rivalry between the two ultimately lands them in a rather uncomfortable situation for the brother and sister. The fact that the two apologize to one another only after they wind up in their potential fatal situation is reflective of real-life sibling rivalries in which the parties are only sorry once they are caught. Valenzuela also offers an alternative ending to the tale, which is certainly a serum for the siblings' ennui.

Valenzuela's illustrations are superb; his line work appears simple at first, but the more you look at it, the more intricate it becomes. The characters' facial expressions, postures and gestures add a depth of humor to this clever story. At one panel per page, the pacing of the story (and the size of the comic) allows it to be read like a slow flip book. The only thing that could have made this mini-comic better is if it was bound with something other than a rubber band (sewn-bound would have worked nicely).

Maria and Oscar's Adventures in Sibling Rivalry and Ennui is 54-pages, 1/3-sized (4.25" wide X 3.6 with a line over it" high) and costs $5 from the Hat Factory Books Etsy page.

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