While I’m sure I would have understood more of the passing references here had I started with volume one, this was still a more than alright place to begin with the Carlton Crumple Creature Catcher series, as my 10 year-old will happily attest.
As of this volume, Carlton Crumple is bored at home, on the alert for cryptids to catch while trying to dodge the annoying antics of his brother Milt. When he falls for one of Milt’s pranks and accidentally damages town property, his unsympathetic parents put him back to work at Chubbzy Cheeseburgers to make enough money for repairs. Carlton continues to be terrible at working in fast food, but might find a reprieve when he gets a frantic phone call from his aerialist friend, Lulu. Her beloved pets look like they’ve been kidnapped by aliens… but the true story is even stranger and more exciting, as Carlton’s skills as a Creature Catcher are finally exercised in order to save the day!
This is a goofy, fun comic that doesn’t take itself at all seriously, as the teenaged Carlton and his friends make creative use of their interests and strengths in order to find and secure a variety of creatures, terrestrial or otherwise. It’s not the most sophisticated tale, but it doesn’t really need to be given its target audience. Speaking of whom, I handed this to my eldest child to read and he absolutely loved it, far more than I did. I’ve added the rest of this series to his perpetual present list (since I’ve already purchased his Christmas selections and he’s particularly fond of books in series.)
The art is a delightfully cartoony cross between Sergio Aragones and Stephen Hillenburg, perfect for the silly shenanigans depicted here. The colors are bright and mostly solid, reminding me of my beloved Copic markers in all tones. While I wouldn’t necessarily run to grab a copy for myself, my Wimpy Kid/Dog Man-loving kid absolutely would, and most likely so would any reader with similar interests.
Carlton Crumple Creature Catcher 3: Reptoids from Space by David Fremont was published October 5 2021 by Pixel+Ink and is available from all good booksellers, including