Propaganda walks the dog with Korgi
This is Propaganda, I’m Richard Bruton and this is what I’ve been reading lately…
Korgi Book 1: Sprouting Wings
Molly and I sat down the other day and spent a little time reading some of our favourite comics. Molly’s already reviewed some of them (and delightfully illustrated her review herself too, see here – Joe), but now we have a new book to add to the list: Korgi.
Korgi is another All-Ages book, a fantasy tale about a young girl, Ivy and her adventures along with her Korgi cub, Sprout. Ivy and Sprout live in Korgi Hollow with the woodland folk and the rest of the Korgis. Obviously these aren’t the Corgis that run around Windsor Castle being pampered by the Queen; these dogs are a magical breed who seem to spread happiness wherever they go.
(panels from Christian Slade’s Korgi, published by Top Shelf; unplug your cynicism and let it charm you)
Being adventurous sorts Ivy and Sprout wander away from their village and immediately get in terrible trouble, eventually finding themselves lost and trapped in the world under Korgi Hollow. This world below is ruled by the hideous monster Gallump and populated with all manner of grotesque creatures and menacing spiders. Ivy and Sprout’s flight from Gallump leads to intriguing discoveries about each other and Korgi Hollow itself. In fact, this whole volume brings up lots of interesting questions: what extra powers do the Korgis have, why are there a lot of UFOs in the panels (Molly counted five) either flying or crashed and who is the shadowy figure at the end and why is he so interested in the Korgis? More will be revealed in subsequent volumes I’m sure.
Korgi is very similar to Jeff Smith’s Bone or Andy Runton’s Owly in theme and style if not in content and the fantasy setting feels very much like Tolkien’s Hobbit. What sets it apart from these works is Christian Slade‘s art, all delicate pencil cross-hatching and wonderful detailing that is simply lovely to look at; capturing the essence of the woodland idyll of Korgi Hollow but also capable of being threatening and very dark. In fact, after getting used to the cute style Molly was pleasantly scared by a couple of the darker pages.
(it isn’t all sweetness in Korgi, like any good fairy tale there are darker elements lurking in wait, as in this wonderful two-page spread, (C) Christian Slade and Top Shelf)
But for me, Korgi is a book that satisfies but doesn’t completely work. Firstly, it’s far too short. Even read slowly, with Molly doing a lot of the actions and filling in her own words, it took less than 10 minutes to get through. But Korgi’s main problem, as I’ve already alluded to, is the inevitable comparisons with both Bone and Owly. And sadly it just isn’t as satisfying as either of these books. It lacks a magic that is instantly recognisable in the fantasy of Bone or the childish innocence and wonder of Owly. The sad fact is that the Korgi’s in the tale just aren’t as cute or interesting as the Bones or Owly. This isn’t to say that it’s a bad book, far from it; it’s just not quite as good as what has gone before.
But enough from me, after all what do I know? Molly, you’ll be pleased to know, absolutely loved it. Right now she’s far too busy to be helping me with reviews (the life of an 8 year old is far too full to be doing mundane things like reviewing) but I got these few quotes from her to let you know what she thought:
Brilliant, loved it.
I liked it most because the Korgi’s are very cute and happy all the time and the people are called Mollies and so am I.
My favourite bit of the story was where Sprout breathes fire; that was a big surprise.
(more panels from Korgi, (C) Christian Slade, published Top Shelf)
Some bits were quite scary, especially the monsters but not really scary just a bit surprising.
I liked spotting all of the secret hidden things, the spies, the spaceships and the signs on the walls.
So it’s a thumbs-up from Molly and a wishy-washy sort of liked it from me.