HEROCATS OF STELLAR CITY #1
Writer: Kyle Puttkammer
Artist Name: Marcus Williams
Cover Artist: Marcus Williams
Action Lab Entertainment
Herocats 1 is a delightful child-friendly comic book, the likes of which are too rare in this day and age. The premise is simple and charming – it follows the adventures of a group of cats, who act as the unofficial guardians of Stellar City.
Each character garners their own single page introduction. The feline characters all fufill archetypes of different sorts.
There’s Midnight, the paws of justice, an animal equivalent to Batman. Belle is a mindreader who claims to be essentially self-serving even while she protects people from swindlers (think of her as Emma Frost.) Rocket is a paranoid genius who secretly believes himself to be an alien from out of space. Rocco is the tough guy – I mean, cat – with a fluffy exterior and a heart of gold. The leader of the Herocats is Ace, a military patriot, a kind of animal Captain America, who watches over his owners.
The protagonist Cassiopeia warrants a longer introduction and links us to the main human characters in the book.
The book is deftly managed – there’s a self-aware humor to it that will bring a smile to even the most hardened reader. The various heroic archetypes are both celebrated and gently mocked.
For example, Midnight’s introduction is written in a Frank Milleresque hard-boiled monologue. This contrasts well with the image of a cat taking on criminals and the end result is both deliberately absurd and delightful.
There’s a lovely play on secret identities – Cassiopeia’s family is unaware of the Herocats’ exploits and in turn, the Herocats are unaware that these humans are in fact superheros themselves.
The art is clean-cut, simple but consistent and a visual pleasure. Free from over-cluttering, each panel is well-laid out and easy to absorb. I was reminded of the early Bruce Timm artwork. The color palette is bright and appealing, fitting the innocent larger-than-life feel of the work.
Like the artwork, the writing style is easy to follow. The story follows a mostly linear path. Perhaps deliberately the writing follows the style of a children’s story book. It’s entirely appropriate for this type of comic and fits well with the colorful artwork.
The writer is smart enough to tell the story visually at times and makes effective use of silent panels as well as dialogue. The dialogue is well-written and believable. Character interactions are surprisingly immersive – you find yourself being drawn into the tale via the characters.
Overall, Herocats #1 is a gem – despite its apparent simplicity, it’s extremely well-executed and has enough charm to lend a simple tale and premise unexpected weight. This comic aches to be animated. I’d love to see this gem of a tale brought to life through high quality animation.