You would have to be a cranky curmudgeon if a smile does not form and connect from one ear to the other when seeing Art Baltazar and Franco’s comics. Well, this dynamic duo is back with Aw Yeah Comics: Action Cat & Adventure Bug! Get ready to be entertained with this lighthearted, new four-issue miniseries from Dark Horse Comics that follows another duo, Action Cat and Adventure Bug.
Aw Yeah Comics is a trifecta of comic book stores, and the Skokie, Illinois, location was founded Art Baltazar, Franco Aureliani, and Marc Hammond. Their mission is to provide fun comics that are appropriate for the young and no so young. This latest series targets the all-ages market, but don’t let that stop you from picking up and enjoying this issue, or all four!
In the first issue, there are six vignettes that can be grouped into two overarching stories. First, “The Lizard Within” is split into two parts, “Adventure Lizard” and “Lizard Bear,” and follows Action Cat and Adventure Bug as they foil Evil Cat’s efforts to convert all the citizens of Skokie into lizards with his lizard gun, while “Spot vs. Marquaid” and “Meteor Mite” tell the story of a rock crystal that just about everyone in the universe is trying to get their hands or claws on since it represents ultimate power to the person or creature that holds it.
Baltazar and Franco share writing duties (except for “Meteor Mite” which Baltazar did completely solo); however, there are guest artists, colorists, and letterers. I’m partial to Action Cat, so the mini stories that focused on the lizard storyline were more amusing. I thought the four stories dovetailed nicely and created a more fully developed story overall. While Spot and Mikey were playful, they were lighter fare and hence not as developed.
As a longtime follower of Baltazar and Franco, their illustrative style is filled with round and bubbly characters that are adorable. For example, mild-mannered Cornelius and Alowicious (Action Cat and Adventure Bug, respectively) are cute toting their designer coffees, wearing black rimmed glasses and Aw Yeah Comics vests. The color palette is bright and fun: the purples, reds, blues, and greens are cool and inviting, and together with the opposing warm oranges and yellows, the choices of colors just pop off the pages.
Between the rascally stories and cheerful visuals, younger readers will likely enjoy every tale immensely in this first issue of Aw Yeah Comics: Action Cat and Adventure Bug! And, for the young-at-heart readers, they will enjoy the positive and sweet stories that will provide a refreshing break from hustle and bustle of everyday life.