(David Lapham / Lee Loughridge; Dark Horse Comics)
I know I'm a little behind on this story, but the idea that David Lapham is writing an all-ages comic kinda bends my mind. I mean, this is Stray Bullets David Lapham, right? The same guy who was artist on Warriors of Plasm? Is this really the kind of guy you want creating comics for kids?
Apparently, the answer to this question is YES, because Juice Squeezers #1 is all kinds of family fun awesome.
As an all-ages comic, the premise behind this book is straight up nutso. There's this town, Weeville, California, and it's been invaded by “legions of giant bugs” who are threatening to overrun the town. The only thing standing between staid, small-town American Life and arthropod Armageddon is a “covert group comprised of scrawny tweens, the Squeezers,” who “are the only ones who can fit into the cramped subterranean battlefield and fight the insects on the frontlines!”
Having student-taught at a middle school for a semester, I can understand why those little suckers are the perfect insecticide. Seriously.
Anyway, this book hits the all-ages idea right on target. As much as there is here for the kids, Lapham throws in enough to keep the adults on board. And he draws one hell of a nasty looking giant dung beetle. Yeeesh.
The dialogue is quick, breezy, and believable, even as his characters perform some pretty outlandish feats both physical and intellectual. Lapham's not talking down to anyone in this book, as he seems to have perfectly captured the cadences and nuances of high level middle-school banter. There are layers of plot that go large, pushing some interesting thematic boundaries, as well as small moments between the kids that keep the whole thing grounded (or, maybe in this case, under-grounded).
There's also some pretty funny stuff in here. I dare you not to laugh when you read the line, “I Love Nuts!”
Lapham's art is detailed without being overwhelming, and his choice of getting Lee Loughridge to color this book was perfect. Loughridge has got the all ages color palette down to a magical science, and his work helps complete the tone of this book.
Soooooooooo … if you're looking for something new to share with your family, you might not have to look too much further than David Lapham's Juice Squeezers #1.