Friday, 8 June 2018

ReadItDaddy's Comic of the Week - Week Ending 8th June 2018: "Melowy Volume 1: The Test of Magic" by Cortney Faye Powell and Ryan Jampole (Papercutz)

I just knew C would demand that this became one of our "Comic of the Week" winners the moment she laid eyes on it...
I had to try and describe "Melowy: The Test of Magic" by Cortney Faye Powell and Ryan Jampole to her in a way she could relate to. She's a picky little madam when it comes to comics but definitely liked what she heard.

The obvious first point of comparison was with "My Little Pony" - and though C has progressed past the 'pink and fluffy' phase, I went on to talk about how Melowy is a fantastic piece of fantasy work in its own right, drawing on influences as diverse as Thor, Harry Potter and even middle grade fiction influences (Mallory Towers and Dork Diaries spring to mind, and those are series she loves to bits).

So I handed over the Kindle (we were supplied with a digital copy for the purposes of review, thanks Papercutz!) and in she went.

I wasn't quite prepared for the level of enthusiasm - I should point out that at this point I'd just glanced through myself so wanted to capture C's thoughts on this. Honestly, as amazing as comics featuring a Unicorn magical academy sound, they're a bit lost on a grizzled old dude who prefers comics with mechs ripping each other to bits.

"Melowy" is set on the magical world of Aura, a planet governed by four distinctly different realms each with their own characteristics (a lot like the 'houses' in Harry Potter if you want a frame of reference).

At the age of 14, young Melowies - the unicorn creatures that live on Aura - all come together at the amazing floating Castle of Destiny to begin their magical training. Each Melowy has a special power of their own, and magical symbols on their wings giving them individuality and character (and endless merchandising opportunities!)

Life at the castle may seem idyllic, but it's just like any other school. There are all the weird social interactions to get to grips with. There are nerdy melowies, cool melowies and of course ultra-mean melowies and a ton of school work (I was beginning to fully understand why C loved this from the get-go, she could instantly identify with the underlying themes of friendship, school and social weirdness going on throughout the story).

Be prepared to meet Xeni, a Melowy who doesn't quite believe she's good enough for life at the Castle of Destiny, but might just have an amazing secret power she doesn't even fully understand herself.

Meet Nora and Eris, mean Melowies whose self-confidence and vanity marks them out amongst the popular crowd, determined to be top Unicorns at all costs.

Then there's Paris, wise and kind - and Circe, Kate and Leda. With so many different characters all with their own powers and traits, kids are bound to find a firm favourite once they start getting into the story proper.

"Melowy Volume 1: The Test of Magic" opens up the first volume of a story arc that's absolutely perfect for kids who want to clip-clop into their first fantasy adventure in comic form. The characters and interactions are beautifully observed, so even though the action takes place in a mythical real with mythical creatures there are important threads about bullying, popularity, friendships and of course the pressure of school that kids C's age will instantly nod along to.

"Melowy Volume 1: The Test of Magic" by Cortney Faye Powell and Ryan Jampole is out on 12th June in digital and printed formats, published by Papercutz (kindly supplied for review in digital form).