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‘Cereal’ TPB (review)

Written by Mark Russell 
Art by Peter Snejbjerg
Published by Ahoy Comics

This book is one for the ages.

It is so inventive and enjoyable that I loved just reading it and soaking it in. The concept is basically about the breakfast cereal monsters having all kind of weird sorts of short stories happen to them. It may sound silly, but the results are truly inspired and hilarious.

These tales were originally serialized in Ahoy’s Edgar Allan Poe series of books, but now they have been collected for the first time with some new stories to boot!

What could possibly be better than that?

One of the best characters here is the Marquis de Cocoa (based on the cereal character Count Chocula, of course). The Marquis has recently been transformed into a vampire and he is trying to make his way in the world.

But it is hard to be a vampire for sure.

He is trying to keep it a secret from the townsfolk. That is a bit hard for him to do as he is renown for his incredible breakfast parties. He has to find a way to host them still, otherwise the townspeople might begin to suspect that something is amiss!

It is a little hard to do because the parties have to occur in daylight, the worst part of the day for the vampire Marquis!

This is a theme that appears in a lot of the short stories here featuring the Marquis: he doesn’t want people to know that he is now a vampire. There is a lot of craziness that happens as a result. We get to see the Marquis scramble for a lot of the stories as he tries to keep his secret safe. What is cool, however, is that even though these are short stories, writer Mark Russell actually includes a lot of character development. It is an impressive feat considering the subject matter and the inherent goofiness of all of the different stories.

While all of this is going on for the Marquis, there are other abominations trying to make life difficult for him. They throw some obstacles his way. It is rather hilarious and sad to watch the Marquis stuck in his circumstances that the stories present him with. He tries to struggle back but he isn’t always successful. The creative team is so talented that you start to really root for the Marquis. You start to care for him, even though his daily plight is just so incredibly tragic. It really grounds the book for the reader pretty perfectly.

We also get to see some other silly cereal characters as well here.

We get to see the Quaker, Beau Berry, and the Brute. The Brute in particular made me laugh out loud the loudest, as it is based of course on the cereal Fruit Brute. It is funny to watch all of these cereal characters play off of each other in a way you never expected. Russell develops all of their personalities perfectly in ways you never expected.

The only thing is that I wish the book didn’t have short stories as its means of delivering the story. You can make sense of it all fairly easily. This may be the case because of the way the stories were originally released that it makes it tough to really change it at this point. It makes it a little harder for the average reader because there is a lot of stop and go happening as you read. It is a minor complaint but I did feel it as a I read.

The story by Mark Russell is wonderfully written. It is funny and smart and just wonderfully new. There are very few comics that are just a blast of fun and that is exactly what this comic is. There is nothing grim or gritty about it. In fact, it is more thoughtful than the concept might suggest. The artwork by Peter Snejbjerg is fantastic too. The design work is probably the hardest thing to do in a project like this, yet he manages to pull it all off with a straight face. It is commendable work. The creative team did a great job creating this book for sure.

I hope that one day they find a way to make it back to this little pocket universe that they created.


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