Publisher: Mad Cave Studios
Creative Team: Mark London (writer/creator), Andy King (penciller/inker), Alejandro Giraldo (colorist)
Intended Age Group: Teen+
Other titles to recommend: If you like Lord of the Rings and cats, look no further!
This Florida-based publisher got its start in 2014 and currently features three titles: Battlecats, Midnight Task Force, and Knights of the Golden Sun. Battlecats is an excellent title to start with, especially for those who like epic fantasy stories. The studio’s website describes Battlecats as “an original, medieval fantasy comic…set in Valderia, a majestic world shaped by its rich history and diverse cultures.” Creator/writer Mark London has built a world inhabited by cat characters who are warriors, magicians, bards, dragons, and legends for readers to immerse themselves and become enchanted by, with the turn of each page. There is some violence, humor, and honor among the warrior cats that this series follows.
The Fuzzy Princess Series (Volume 1 and 2)
Creative Team: Charles Brubaker (creator/writer/illustrator)
Intended Age Group: Pre-teen+
Other titles to recommend: If you like animal comics with gentle life lesson stories featuring cats, then volume 1 and 2 of The Fuzzy Princess series is the way to go.
In the first volume, readers were introduced to Katrina, the feline princess of St. Paws who becomes stranded in our world. Accompanied by her guardians, Chiro the bat and the haiku-loving Kuma, they befriend a human named Jackson, his older sister, and their friends. Kat, Chiro, and Kuma learn human customs (such as birthday parties), go on adventures, learn the value of friendships, and much more. The second volume picks right up and continues with new stories to delight young readers and put smiles on adults, too. Both books provide opportunities for kids and parents to discuss life lessons, but know that the stories are done with a gentle touch and fun humor.
Bonus book: Pick up Ask a Cat!
Rush: Where’s Geddy, Alex, and Neil?
Creative Team: David Calcano (creator/illustrator)
Intended Age Group: All-ages
Other titles to recommend: If you like Where’s Waldo? and/or the band, Rush, this is your book!
While younger readers might not know of the band, Rush, creator/illustrator David Calcano includes a key in the opening pages of what band members Geddy, Alex, and Neil look like for each album featured in this oversized book. Calcano has created a Where’s Waldo-themed, two-page spread of each Rush album from Rush (the first album) through Hold Your Fire with lots of band/song references. Anyone can enjoy the lush album spreads, and looking for the trio has never been so much fun. For the Rush fan, this is a must-have; it is an officially licensed Rush publication!
White Ash (Chapters 1 and 2)
Creative Team: Charlie Stickney, writer; Conor Hughes, artist; Fin Cramb, colorist
Intended Age Group: Teen+
Genre: Fantasy; Horror
Other titles to recommend: A modern-day version of Lord of the Rings with late teen/early adult heroes or William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
White Ash is a small, picturesque town in rural Pennsylvania. It’s a town that has folks on both sides of the tracks, but instead of money dividing the citizens, it’s ….. well, I cannot really say, because that would spoil the surprise at the end of chapter one. Part romance and part fantasy/horror, this crowdfunded series packs phenomenal storytelling and stunning visuals that at once match up with the quaint small town but also lulls readers into a bit of a façade of what’s really going on below the surface, figuratively and literally. This is a must-have, not-to-missed series; Stickney, Hughes, and Cramb are a creative dynamic trio!
Have you read any good independent publisher titles that other parents and kids should check out? Definitely leave a comment and a link for Geeky Parent Guide readers and fans!