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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Comics: Mouse Guard

Explaining my love for David Petersen's Mouse Guard requires a bit of background into why I picked it up in the first place. I had seen Mice Templar on the shelves and it had awakened a need in me for Medieval small creatures. I'd read a lot of Redwall books as a child, and it seemed like Mice Templar could be a good time, but when I got to the store, there were only a handful of issues on the shelf. I very much dislike reading comics out-of-order [they are termed "serial" for a reason]; so I decided to put it off until the trade. Disappointed, I wandered in the store and eventually ended up in the Children's section; not a section I frequent.

There on the shelf was this book called Mouse Guard, and I picked it up, intrigued and amused by the fact that there was another Small Creature Medieval Epic comic available. I was astonished to discover in reading that the book was not only beautifully illustrated [so beautifully that I'm seriously considering an art purchase] but also written with a clear and precise voice which was neither childish or cliche. Instead of comparing this book to the Redwall series, it is more closely akin to the literary classic Watership Down.

Mouse Guard is the tale of a network of mouse towns in a forest. The Guard consists of special cadre of mice who escort mice who must travel the wilds between the safety of their fortified towns. The themes are solemn and at heart, it is a story of survival. The Guard must protect against not only natural foes like predators, but also internal strive such as betrayal, mistrust and politics. The tale begins in Fall, before the mean season of Winter, and there are hard times ahead for all the mice involved.

In reading, I think I respond mostly to their strong will to do what they must to survive. I enjoy survival tales, which is probably why I enjoy zombie movies. Of course, Mouse Guard, while not being light-hearted, at least has the promise of Spring ahead; Nature remains neutral in the mouses' struggle. I enjoy the comic so much that I've even been reading it out-of-order. I'm still missing issue #3 [or #4] of Winter. I even will buy the trade even though I've purchased the issues individually.

{And this has nothing to do with anything, but David Petersen and I use the same Blogger template. We have good taste.}


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