Comic Review: Explorer - The Mystery Boxes / Writer: Various / Illustrator: Various / Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc / Release Date: Out Now
An anthology of seven stories aimed at the young adult audience each revolving around a mystery box. Curiosity and morality are explored through dark, funny, magical and entertaining ways. A simple look at the enquiring minds of the young that are all very different in appearance but all beautifully drawn.
Under the Floorboards by Emily Carroll looks at responsibility with a dark tale about a wax doll that lives under a young girl’s bed. Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier spin an amusing yarn of wizards and magic in Spring Cleaning. The Keepers Treasure focuses on the power of imagination set in a world of dinosaurs and mystical beasts. The Soldier’s Daughter explains the reality of war and the dangers of revenge.
The highlight of the comic is The Butter Thief about a naughty little imp named Melphador who steals butter from a nearby household. An extremely funny tale about inquisitiveness from the imaginative mind of Rad Secrhist who is a storyboard artist at Dreamworks. Other highlights include Whatzit focusing on work politics and set in an intergalactic warehouse by Johane Matte who also worked on the wonderful How to Train Your Dragon. The editor of the anthology, Kazu Kibuishi paints a tale about earth’s resources and the fragility of human life that is particularly striking in appearance.
All the stories are accessible without being patronising, and I would highly recommend it to the youth audience it is aiming at.