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The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—When Charles and his parents move to Echo City, their new home is a mostly abandoned apartment building where the family can live for free while doing repairs. The boy is less than thrilled about his rundown surroundings but completely undone by the monster he sees in his room at night. A new friend puts him in touch with Margo Maloo, a young "monster mediator" who introduces him to the troll—Marcus—who lives in his basement, and Charles's opinion of life in Echo City skyrockets. Other stories in the volume involve a lonely, mischievous ghost and a kidnapped baby ogre whose mother thinks Charles is responsible for her child going missing. Throughout, tough, mysterious, motorbike-riding Margo tolerates Charles's bumbling, enthusiastic presence, eventually agreeing to take him on as her assistant, a move that promises future adventures for lucky readers. Weing's colorful drawings reward extended examination; Echo City is rife with monster life, and creepy crawlies turn up in the most unexpected places, but domestic scenes and the city streets also show the artist's keen eye for details. VERDICT This charming graphic novel is ideal for fans of Luke Pearson and Noelle Stevenson.—Stephanie Klose, School Library Journal
Included in Kirkus's "Best of 2016" list.
"You're going to lie awake at night thinking about how fun this book is." –Adam Rex, author of The True Meaning of Smekday
"Margo Maloo is fantastic fun!" –Tom Angleberger, author of the Origami Yoda series
"Drew Weing’s Creepy Casefiles, with its quirky kids, sympathetic beasties and hand-rendered coloring, reads like a classic children’s title from decades past…if not for the astute, subtle observations on cultural dynamics within cities and the ripple effects of gentrification." ―Paste Magazine
"Clever dialogue enhances this intriguing and multilayered story set in a fully realized world of monster and human coexistence."―Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"It’s a beautifully conceived and executed trio of stories, and readers will hope that more installments are on the way."― Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"The banter is brisk and witty, and humans and monsters alike boast a refreshing ordinariness unusual in fantasy/horror/hero comics."―BCCB
"With a saturated color palette, noirish dialogue, and a thought-provoking message about gentrification, this first in a series (originally published as a webcomic) is packed with warm laughs and smart, spooky mystery."―Booklist
"Weing’s colorful drawings reward extended examination; Echo City is rife with monster life, and creepy crawlies turn up in the most unexpected places, but domestic scenes and the city streets also show the artist’s keen eye for details."―SLJ
Top customer reviews
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Drew Weing has a potential hit on his hands here. What if, bear with me for a bit, what if monsters that haunt and scare children weren’t just a figment of their imagination? What if they existed in their own worlds, away from the prying eyes of adults and only revealed themselves (or eat a few) nosey kids? When young Charles startles on the unfortunate truth, It takes mind over matter to join up with the mysterious Margo Maloo to uncover the dark secrets of the underworld of vampires, ghosts, and ogres and trolls, and learn as much as he can – only he can’t tell adults about any of it. The events that shake up Charles’ life is sure to leave a lasting impression of anyone reading The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo.
The story, mostly about moving and change both real and reality-bending, starts with a single step. Charles is moving to the big city, with all of its dangers and perils. Charles’ father, a contractor, has bought an old hotel with more than its fair share of secrets. Enter Charles’ neighbor, who offers to alieve the burden of the monster in his closet by giving him a business card of the mysterious (and well known throughout the monster community) Margo Maloo. Being the curious, budding, intrepid reporter, with his own blog, Charles follows Maloo through the perils and pitfalls of monster society, stumbling across more and more, and getting more and more involved in dealing with the denizens of the dark. It’s quite the adventurous romp, with spacers that act as ‘chapters’ or ‘respites’ only for the reader to absorb the information, before ramping in up a notch, as the story races to its dramatic conclusion.
The artwork is extremely well crafted and plays up the surrealistic landscape Charles finds himself in. Not to realistic, but at the same time, not too cartoony. The art is a perfect fit for the story it tells. There are no shortcomings of lack of detail, and the hybrid style eases the readers’ eyes over the page. Panelation is tight and easily followed, figures are identifiable by both their word choice in balloons, and their depiction on the page. Admiration goes to scenes such as finding an abandoned kitchen, to the collections of a troll’s lair, through to the abduction of Charles by ogres. The artwork enhances, rather than detracts from its word counterpart and the synergy of ‘drawing words and writing pictures’ has not been wasted here. Draftsmanship is readily apparent here, and Weing has delivered in spades.
Overall, if you’re into a quick, light read, with lots of action and a ‘coming of age’ story with a twist, then I direct you no further than The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo. Everyone of all ages can pull something out of this wonderfully written graphic novel. With thrills galore, this will appeal to any reader of fine graphic novels and First Second has delivered yet another laudable title in their catalogue. Drew Weing, as I said, has a potential hit here, and it would be a shame for you to miss it.
*OBS would like to thank the publisher for supplying a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review*
I just loved the characters so much! Charles was a fun little guy to follow throughout the story since he's not too happy about the idea of moving to a new place and isn't any more excited when he learns there's a troll hiding in his closet. His journalistic habits cause him to snoop around to figure out what else is going on in his apartment building which leads him to meeting the infamous Margo Maloo, the girl monster mediator that all monsters are afraid of. She helps Charles with his monster problem and allows Charles to tag along on two more cases so long as he doesn't get eaten by an ogre or something. I loved Margo and thought she was very much of a professional when it came to dealing with monsters and was very mature for her age. Nothing fazed her and she was a problem solver.
I love the illustrations in this book as well as all the colors used and it's totally one of my favorite graphic novels art wise. The storytelling was great and funny, witty and adventurous while still being fun and relaxing to read. It's a great start to this graphic novel series and I'm very much interested to see what happens next in the story of Margo Maloo.
Overall, this was a very fun read and I can't wait for the next book already. If you want something quick and entertaining to read then I suggest picking this one up since it's both of those things and so much more!
Weing’s graphic novel tosses readers into a new world that is strongly based in our own. With Margo as an expert guide, this book is much less about battling monsters. It is more about how monsters can get along and live alongside humans in a urban setting. Weing has created a complete monster society and ensures with his stories that the monsters are not the bad guys, just easily misunderstood. The writing is clever, the dialogue solid and the pacing is fast.
The art of the graphic novel is modern and filled with plenty of action. The city and characters are filled with diversity that includes humans and monsters in different skin tones. Weing uses the real estate of his panels in smart ways, lengthening them to share more scenic detail, focusing the scope closely when necessary and broadening them for large buildings.
Just the right book for Halloween, expect this and future books to be popular thanks to a wise mix of humor and shivers. Appropriate for ages 8-11.