Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson (First Second)


Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula

Written and Illustrated by
Andi Watson

Published by First Second

How could we possibly resist the lure of a comic that has dark undertones, yet is still child friendly. A comic that addresses our love of gothic fairy tales, love stories and...baking.

Yes, let's not forget cakes because in "Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula" you'll meet a vampire with a difference! He's got a sweet tooth (well, that's not quite right actually, he has hardly any teeth left!) and can bake up a veritable storm when let loose in the kitchen.

Count Spatula comes into the employ of grumpy old King Wulfrun, a crotchety and rather disagreeable monarch who rules over his kingdom from the comfort of his bed. But of course the real power behind the throne is the King's wilful daughter Princess Decomposia who is utterly wonderful in every way, just our cup of tea when it comes to strong female comic characters.

You see, while the king fusses about the consistency of his breakfast kipper, or whether his pillows are plumped up enough, Princess Decomposia is busy dealing with affairs of state, ensuring that the palace's employees are happy, and basically is holding the whole kingdom together because Dad's a bit of a chump to be fair.

After several unsuccessful attempts to employ a new head chef, The Princess meets Count Spatula and instantly takes a shine to the utterly charming fellow. Clad in black though he may be, he really is polite and seems to have a knack for dealing with the king's unreasonable dietary demands (that's what you get for reading silly fitness magazines, you silly old fool!)

Like most harmonious relationships, The Princess and the Count must overcome the usual fatherly disapproval and hope that true love (and the odd cupcake or two) can win the day.

Moving from the bubblegum pink and dazzling world of Andi Watson's sublime Gum Girl to the dark and monochrome world of "Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula" might be too much of an ask for some readers, but this is a truly delectable tale that had us uttering a huge "Awwwwwwwww!" at the end. Fine and fantastic work from one of the UK's most talented comic creators. We truly hope there'll be more from this duo soon!

Charlotte's best bit: Princess Decomposia's unflappable way of coping with difficult staff at the castle.

Daddy's Favourite bit: A wonderful and original vampiric gothic love story that actually works OK for kids as well as adults, a departure from Andi's last body of work but a brilliant comic creation nonetheless! More soon please!

(Kindly sent to us for review by First Second)

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Gum Girl by Andi Watson (Walker Books)

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