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A whimsical fantasy adventure with a VERY silly Disney message or two.
on July 31, 2014
(Some spoilers ahead.)
Gloriously illustrated and beautifully colored in a very dark style where cartoon-like characters look perpetually worried or terrified out of their wits, it is a rather bittersweet story where a down-on-luck young carpenter wants to give his little boy a nice birthday present, so he buys some alien-tainted cardboard from a creepy-looking salesman who warns him not to ask for more and also to return the scraps (I love how he's concerned about the welfare of the humanity while peddling that stuff to begin with!) But the doting father and his kid use their imagination and clever dexterity to create a living boxer out of the magical cardboard, which is a very brilliant and extremely original concept, too.
Marcus, a spoiled rich Gothic kid gets jealous of the cardboard magic happening next door, so he steals it to make BIG trouble - because he doesn't want to be "alone" anymore (Hello? He ALREADY has a loving, supportive family and loyal friends, BTW!) Then EPIC things start happening and the starring male characters find themselves in major Indiana Jones-style action to save their homes and families, too.
There is also a painfully contrived "romantic" angle installed in the story where a VERY desperate young woman living next door blatantly INSISTS on cooking and cleaning for the lonely single dad WITHOUT his permission and she also looks like she would BLOW all her gaskets if he doesn't willingly MATE with her SOON. Gosh, the lady's biological clock must be thrumming HARD enough to be heard all the way down the block or two! But the grieving widower deeply misses his dearly departed wifesy-aww, who looks like a Bratz-faced Barbie doll brought back to life by cardboard witchcraft to ruthlessly goad him into FORGETTING her forever so he could get it on with the shrill, demanding shrew ALREADY! Sorry to say this, but that's NOT how you get a new partner, especially when your beloved spouse is currently pushing up daisies! So give the poor, bereaved man a break and let him DECIDE whether to let some disturbed, fire-breathing hellcat into his home to MAYBE hurl anti-male insults and other abuse at him and his innocent child or NOT!!!!!
I understand how Doug TenNapel (the famous creator of Earthworm Jim, FYI) is finally living out his middle years in domestic bliss with his oh so wonderful family in some sunny suburbs, but I'm not exactly enamored with the rather Disneyfied message that you can only be happy in a idyllic 1950s nuclear family with a fearless, square-jawed breadwinner, a devoted puff-baking housewife, and sweet, angelic kids. :P
Oh, and simple water would have solved the whole deranged mess in the first place, but then again, we wouldn't be seeing fantastic weapons that actually work, gigantic underground cities, and fairyland forests all made out of cardboard, would we?