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Mystery

A Herd-Boiled Detective

Wow! Recently we were contacted by Devon McBride-Wilson, creator of Firewake. Here’s what he had to say: “Rabbit Valley continues to expand its equine portfolio as the second issue of Firewake has gone up for preorder. This comic series follows the down-to-earth veteran detective Firewake and his cocky rookie partner Zaffa as they investigate and pursue the unstable criminal mastermind Sable Nox. Issue 2, Questions, sees Zaffa get closer to Firewake’s niece as he confronts mobsters at the restaurant she waitresses at, while Firewake himself meets the mysterious biomancer mare Fancyber, who says she has information for him.” We like what we’ve seen — and we’ll let the creator explain why. “While Firewake is safe for readers 10 and up, its gritty atmosphere, semi-procedural style and fantastic action break new ground for equine stories. Influences from My Little Pony are mixed with elements from CSI and Batman, and if you’re a fan of those, this is definitely worth checking out.” What he said!

image c. 2020 Rabbit Valley

Free from the Zoo to You

If you haven’t heard yet: Free Comic Book Day is on this year — but in a different way. Now it’s Free Comic Book Summer, where the samplers will be passed out in batches over several weeks, rather than all at once, as a way to prevent crowding at comic book stores. And here’s one we found right off the bat… Brett Bean is an illustrator and character designer who is a “frequent face” at comic book convention artist alleys. Well now he’s come out with his own series of full-color graphic novels called Zoo Patrol Squad. “The lion has gone missing? The king cobra has vanished? Sounds like a job for the Zoo Patrol Squad! Timid Fennlock Fox and outgoing Penny the Pig team up for their first adventure as they look for clues to track down the missing animals in their usually peaceful zoo.” The free Zoo Patrol Squad sampler is available now at a comic shop near you (wear a mask and visit safely!) and the first graphic novel in the series, Kingdom Caper, is available for order on line. Oh, and visit Brett’s web site to see more of what he’s worked on too.

image c. 2020 Penguin Workshop

The Good Guy Wears The Mask

Hey, look what we found on Twitter: A new “pixel art” game developed by EggNut and available on Steam. “Backbone: Prologue is the first act of a noir role-playing detective adventure. You are raccoon private eye Howard Lotor, a second-class citizen of a dystopian Vancouver, BC inhabited by animals. Interrogate a diverse cast of characters, collect evidence, and choose which leads to follow.” There’s a better trailer up on YouTube as well.

image c. 2020 EggNut

Murder Most Fluffy

Dunno how we missed this one, but… here’s more dark, distressing oddness from Source Point Press. “Torsobear: Yarns From Toyburg is a collection of 12 grisly crime yarns, written in the style of old film noir and set in a world of toys. In the fluffy-noir world of Toyburg, some toys just don’t play nice… Dismembered teddy bears are being found in the back alleys of this sweet city. It’s up to our hero, rookie detective Ruxby Bear, and his partner, Officer Hazbrow to solve the string of murders, no matter how high and far the clues take them.” No description of who wrote or drew it, but they’re up to Volume 3 of this trade paperback series.

image c. 2019 Source Point Press

Teddies Follow the Clues

Well look what showed up in our news-feed… Animation magazine talking about a new series for young viewers. “Upcoming Netflix Original animated series Treehouse Detectives is ready to introduce itself to worldwide viewers this year. The preschool series will debut June 8 in over 190 countries/territories… Treehouse Detectives is created by Seoul-based animation studio Enpop and co-produced with Saban Brands… Aimed at children ages 3-6, the series follows brother and sister detective team Toby and Teri as they ‘use the clues’ and ‘follow the facts’ to solve everything from backyard mysteries to the bigger puzzles of the natural world.” Looks like another season is already in the works, too.

image c. 2018 Enpop

Mews and Clues

This May, IDW will release a brand new card game for young mystery fans called Purrrlock Holmes — Furriarty’s Trail (created by Stephen Sauer and illustrated by Jacqui Davis). Here’s what they say: “Furriarty is terrorizing London and he must be stopped before he completes his plans and escapes! As a newly inducted Inspector at Scotland Pound, it’s up to you to bust members of Furriarty’s gang in order to get closer to the bewhiskered baddie that’s been bullying all of Baker Street. Get ready detective, this case is officially afoot (or a paw, if you will).” What they’re not saying is: What’s the connection (if any) between this and the Purrlock Holmes series of young-reader mystery novels by Betty Sleep? You’ll know when we do! Here’s more about the game from TGN.

image c. 2017 IDW Publishing

The Detective Sticks His Neck Out

Boy, IDW Comics are jumping in with both feet (or is it all four?) with a new full-color comic called Animal Noir. “Anthropomorphic animals like you’ve never seen them before. It’s Chinatown meets Animal Farm, and just like the George Orwell classic, Lunacek and Juren’s animals are an allegory for today’s world. Private Investigator (and giraffe), Immanuel Diamond – Manny to his friends – has been asked by his uncle – an influential judge — to track down a prey fantasy movie. Adult films in this world are staged hunts where one animal eats another, and the judge’s wife starred in one that has been hidden (until now). Giraffe detectives, hippo mob members, prey-obsessed lions, street fighting elephants, and oppressed zebras are just part of this wild animal kingdom.” Should we mention that several critics noticed that Zootopia reminded them of Chinatown too? Nah, probably not. Created by Nejc Juren and Izar Lunacek, Animal Noir #1 is due on the comic book shelves this coming March.

image c. 2017 IDW Comics

Mysteries for Kids… with Rodents.

Furries have been teaching children to read for generations. Carrying on that tradition is a new series of second-level easy-readers for kids called Hamster Holmes. “Hamster Holmes and his firefly sidekick, Dr. Watt, solve mysteries together in this start to a Level 2 Ready-to-Read series! Hamster Holmes and Dr. Watt are the best sleuths in town! So when their friend Corny O’Squirrel has a mystery he needs help solving, he knows just who to turn to. Every night, Corny is woken up by someone knocking on his door—but when he goes to answer, no one is there! Can Hamster Holmes and Dr. Watt catch the culprit?” The series was created by Albin Sadar, who also co-wrote and produced a video for kids called The Chartreuse Goose. It’s illustrated by Valerio Fabbretti, who has illustrated children books and comic books in the US and in Italy. Hamster Holmes: A Mystery Comes Knocking and other books in the series are published by Simon & Schuster — and of course you can find out more at their web site.

image c. 2015 Simon & Schuster

image c. 2015 Simon & Schuster

Children’s Stories Can Be Deadly

In case you missed it, Paul Jenkin’s Fiction Squad comic book mini-series was a continuation of his Fablewood concept: A place where all fairy tales and bedtime stories live side by side. Now Boom! Studios have collected the entire 6-issue series in a new Fiction Squad trade paperback. “Fablewood is a pretty dangerous place, but no area is more dangerous than the City of Rimes, deep in the heart of the Children’s Realm. After transferring in from the Realm of Mystery, a failed detective from an unfinished prose novel, Frankie Mack, is about to uncover a conspiracy that could unmake storytelling itself. After Humpty Dumpty is pushed to crack and Jack (of Jack and Jill) goes AWOL, Frankie and his partner, Simple Simon, are put on the case.” With full color illustrations by Ramon Bachs, the book is 160 pages and it’s coming very soon. Take a look over at the Boom! web site. Anthropomorphic animals (and many other things!) abound.

image c. 2015 Boom! Studios

image c. 2015 Boom! Studios