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Comics Today's Date:

Comic-Con 2010:
Preview: Scratch 9 #1

written by Rob Worley

art by Jason T. Kruse

UPDATE: Rob, Jason and many other KiZoic creators will be at the APE Entertainment booth at Comic-Con -- Booth #1703!

Kudos to APE Entertainment for making an effort to put out quality kids' comics. By creating the "KiZoic" line, they're trying to create a brand that parents will trust while simultaneously sounding like, um, dinosaurs, I guess.

More kudos when a writer from the pioneer days of online comics journalism gets a good idea and gets to see it to fruition through a company like APE. So it goes for Rob Worley, editor-in-chief of Comics2Film.com. I point it out for the sake of full disclosure; Rob was one of the first online writers I met when starting out with Fanboy Planet. It turned out, however, that besides being a great guy running a cool site, he had talent as a comics writer, forever altering Marvel continuity with Young Ancient One.

Last summer, Rob showed me some sketches for a series idea he had about a cat able to summon forth each of his previous eight lives. The art looked fun; the concept hooked me as being a neat way to combine funny animals with science fiction, and I could easily see my kids watching this on TV.

So now it comes to stores in August (in the June issue of PREVIEWS) under the title Scratch 9, and Rob kindly gave us an advance look at the book. In addition, I've read the complete first issue, and I can honestly say that it's a good fit with the KiZoic line.

For the first few pages (included here), Scratch acts like any normal cartoon cat walking that fine line between having a believable owner/pet relationship and being, well, a cartoon cat. His owner commits two sins: trying to give Scratch a bath and trying to put a collar on him. This sends him out into the wild world where, of course, he ends up in the pound.

Meanwhile, across town, sinister experiments in immortality are going on, and you just know these two forces will collide.

Worley uses the first issue to delineate his cast and the central conflict. He's created some bright and fun characters, though some logic contortions might have to be made to include the rooster believably.

Then again, there is this scientist trying to capture the essence of a soul and put it in a cyborg body, so believability is probably no more stretched than in any other cartoon adventure or SyFy show.

Matching the fun and really making Worley's ideas sing, Jason T. Kruse has a nice rounded style reminiscent of Bill Watterson, though not quite as chaotic. There's also something of the Muppets in there, or maybe I'm just reverse-engineering influences that I like. At any rate, in two key character designs Kruse really gets to show his chops, and Scratch himself is an appealing cat with a lot of personality from panel to panel.

APE will have Scratch 9 #1 available at Comic-Con, or at least that's the plan so far, and I already know that I'm going to have to get a hard copy to pass on to my son.

What really has my curiosity piqued, however, would be what some of Scratch's past lives look like. The first issue touches on the one that seems the most fearsome and, perhaps, obviously fun for the story, but it will be interesting to see how Worley and Kruse play with the evolutionary scale.

Scratch 9 has a dynamite hook and solid, kid-friendly storytelling that still plays decently for adults -- who will be reading it to their kids over and over again.

Again, that's in June PREVIEWS under APE Entertainment, for an August release. Feast your eyes on some more pages below:




Derek McCaw

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