Mark Russell does what he does best: mix goofy puns with some real pathos. And this time, it’s for breakfast cereal monsters in Ahoy Comics‘ new collected edition of Cereal, with art by Peter Snejbjerg.
We reviewed the book on the Stack podcast. But in the interest of highlighting more about the title, here’s a summary of the conversation with our thoughts. And if you prefer the longer audio version, that’s below as well!
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What if Count Chocula, Frankenberry, and all the other cereal characters were in a Universal Monsters-type setting? That’s the essential concept behind Cereal, which collects previously published stories and adds a new, three-chapter conclusion.
Host Alex Zalben kicked things off saying the book is presented, “in classic Mark Russell style, treated very emotionally and very seriously, while packing so many puns per page.”
Zalben felt the first story, which finds the book’s version of Count Chocula throwing a breakfast party while facing down his arch-enemy, was “perfect. An absolutely perfect mix of ridiculous cereal jokes, and giving Count Chocula a real, emotional backstory at the same time.”
Standout characters include the book’s version of Lucky the Leprechaun, and “the most insane Quaker Oats guy you’ve ever seen in your life,”. Added Zalben, “I really love the rest of the book. But… the book is worth picking up just for that first issue in the collection alone.”
“If you’re not having fun in that first bit, you should walk away, because that’s what it is,” added Pete LePage. “I love the art style, it has this old-school feel to it… Such a fun mix-up of ideas… A blast on many levels. You get your money’s worth, for sure.”
Zalben also noted Snejbjerg’s art, saying that in a similar way to how “Steve Pugh perfectly knows how to create comedy art in a lot of the DC books… Peter Snejbjerg does it the same way. He adds this real pathos to these monsters. Which is the sort of thing that you get in the Universal Monster movies.”
Continuing on that note, Zalben said, “Snejbjerg channels that really well, but doesn’t forget that it should be funny at the same time. And that’s a tough line to walk. Not just with the writing but also with the art; but they both walk it perfectly… Another perfect Halloween book to pick up right now from Ahoy Comics.”
Cereal Official Synopsis:
“What We Do In the Shadows” meets “Monster Squad” in this dark, distinctly adult—and lovingly funny—take on an earlier generation’s beloved monsters. The Marquis de Cocoa, recently transformed into a vampire, braves the agony of sunrise to throw his famous breakfast parties… Where he plays his deadly games with such oddly familiar characters as the Quaker, Beau Berrie, and The Brute. Featuring lush, evocative art by Peter Snejbjerg (Starman), this volume collects every chapter from AHOY’s Edgar Allan Poe anthologies, plus an all-new three-part conclusion.