“Aesop’s Ark” #1 from writer J. Torres and artist Jennifer L. Meyer, is rare and free — not monetarily, but metaphorically — which is really tricky to properly accomplish with a digital comic. The first image of this new venture from Monkeybrain Comics is presented in soft sepia tones and muted blues, greens and grays. It has a very relaxed, inviting feel, matching the story inside.
Meyer’s art has an Art Baltazar-like whimsy and almost David Petersen-esque level of detail with the raw, spontaneous doodle-energy of notebook margins from a class far less interesting than the notion of mice playing in a lion’s mane. Like Baltazar, Meyer provides the characters she draws with cute, fun sound effects, like “hug” (which has a heart underneath it) and “pat pat.” These little touches, delicately placed in, around and overtop the keenly detailed and refreshingly animated animals are like sprinkles on a sundae, not really adding much to the overall content, but making it that much more fun.
Torres does what he always does so very well: he writes good comics. The writer presents a charming story that plays to the strengths of his artist while successfully navigating the all-ages waters and even venturing so far as to offer a moral. Torres has a good record of producing comics like “Aesop’s Ark” and manages to spin an old concept around enough to find a completely new angle from which to present it. Even better still, it appears as though he is working towar presenting stories that are one-and-done, but still part of a larger narrative as we look forward to meeting the Happily Ever Rafters Storytellers Society in the next chapter.
Coordinating the debut of Monkeybrain Comics with Independence (or in this case Independents’) Day is a fine, nostalgic way to start. Taken for what it is — a bold new offering with lots of baked-in familiarity — “Aesop’s Ark” has limitless potential for entertainment and enlightenment. I’m looking forward to much more of this ride. I just hope I don’t have to wait forty days and forty nights to see more.