One morning, wishing he wouldn’t have to go to school, Leopold discovers he can turn invisible. Of course, the first item of business is to freak out his sister Celine. The second item of business is to figure out what to do about his non-invisible clothes without having to run around naked. Following the logical priorities of any young boy who suddenly has superpowers, Leopold pigs out on dessert, embarrasses other family members with his farts, and generally bothers his sister while attempting to keep his “secret identity.”
There’s not much character development and no origin story, nevertheless, the love/hate relationship between brothers and sisters is spot on as Leopold and Celine take turns getting each other in trouble while ultimately defending their sibling. With short vignettes that focus on the mischief a kid can get into when no one can see him, the stories are full of silliness and fun.
The art is cartoony with very expressive faces and body language. People often fall into the “ugly cute” category, looking like a mix of art styles from Rugrats, Wild Thornberries, and Foxtrot. The images definitely add an element of physical comedy to the stories. The bright colors and simple backgrounds focus the attention on the plot, which is perfect for young readers. The short stories are designated not by chapter breaks but by differing icons in the outside upper corners of the pages. This works well, since each short is only a few pages long.
Aimed at early readers, Where’s Leopold works its magic with little story context but lots of ridiculous humor. An adult might find it childish, but it strikes the right note for the intended audience. While the book doesn’t cover any new ground, it presents some cute stories in an entertaining way. I imagine it will be a big hit with the male elementary crowd.
Where’s Leopold?, vol. 1: Your Pajamas are Showing!
by Michel-Yves Schmitt
Art by Vincent Caut
Graphic Universe, 2013