Disney may be the “big guy” on the block when it comes to adventures involving cute, cuddly, and furry casts of characters, but never fear, fans of the underdog, for this has not deterred creator James Cartwright from adding his own tale to the mix. Cartwright’s Hamsters #1 may be a little too quick and short (as hamsters often are) for my normal tastes, but the comic is still full of a number of laughs and a decent dose of heart.
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
Hamsters #1, written by Cartwright, also features the talents of Mike Ratliff (pencils and inks) and M.D. Shane (colors). I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Bruce Shultz (Layout Designer), given the excellent layout and professional look of the issue. The plot of Hamsters #1 is simple, yet entertaining. Focusing on two hamsters, Scrabble and Checkers are the beloved pets of Meredith, a pre-tween girl who loves her animals just a bit too much (the kind of love/horseplay that can end, accidentally, in a hamster in a shoe box being buried in the back yard.) While Checkers is new to the cage, Scrabble has seen this all before. Like Woody and Buzz escaping the psychotic Sid in Toy Story, Scrabble and Checkers spend the rest of the issue making a mad dash for freedom and, more often than not, jumping from the frying pan into the fire.
Cartwright’s script is brief, but features some great dialogue and humor. Ratliff’s artwork is cartoony and full of emotion, helping Cartwright’s script reach its full potential. The lettering, coloring, and layout all follow suit, delivering a clean, entertaining, and good-looking book that could easily be enjoyed by both kids or adults.
My major, and really only, criticism of Hamsters #1 is the brief, simplistic, and slightly predictable nature of the comic. I don’t want to hit this too hard, because a first issue is supposed to be easy to digest. Given the potentially young audience for the book, it helps to have a really well-done, simplistic story to sink the hook before things get complicated. That said, Hamsters #1 very much feels like it’s got “calling card” written on the front of the cover. While it is marked as a first issue, its final pages doesn’t necessarily feel like Cartwright intends to continue the story. The contact page for the talent at the end of the book is very smart when it comes to the creative team scoring their next gig, but it also screams from the rooftops that this book has been constructed to serve an audience of industry professionals first and the average reader second. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on the goals of Cartwright and his creative team, but if I gave this book to a friend, it would feel more akin to giving them the “industry screener” of the film as opposed to the “commercial DVD.”
FINAL SCORE: 3 Fugitive Hamsters out of 5
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers! Be nice to your hamsters!
’Till the end of the world,
Bryant the Comic Book Slayer