Kid moves to new city with parents. Kid is disappointed about leaving his home. Kid’s parents are hipsters intent on renovating falling down building. Kid is naturally precocious and advanced for age because of said parent’s influence. Kid sees monster in closet and freaks out. Parent tries to soothe kid with a “magic watch” that will scare away the monsters.
Kid doesn’t buy the “magic watch” business and seeks alternative help.
Kid—more specifically our protagonist, Charles F. Thompson—documents his monstrous encounters and in his reporter’s notebook for his blog. It’s old-school journalism, and he’s on the case with the talented Margo Maloo, the Monster Mediator of Echo City.
Margo’s pretty sassy, and all the monsters of Echo City are a little afraid of the diminutive black-haired sleuth. Margo reluctantly accepts Charles as her assistant. Together, they track down a missing monster baby, unlock a rude teenage hoodlum from a newspaper archive, and parlay with a group of goblins. As Charles becomes more attached to his new city, he decides to use his blog and reporter’s notebook to bring attention to the plight of two repressed classes of Echo City: children and monsters. He’s upped his journalism game to include an official Twitter account: @margomaloo
Originally published as a webcomic, Drew Weing’s The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo are a funny romp through childhood and the development of personal interest and agency. It’s a great collection of mystery stories with funny art. The visuals are a mix of hand drawn/inked and computer colored. Each page of The Creepy Case Files were once a web-comic post. There is a heavier mix of text-to-drawing that one might not be used to. It took me a minute to get used to the heavier combination, but it doesn’t detract from the content. Weing’s characters are cute and a little quirky. The monsters are fluffy with a tinge of creepy; they’d make you jump if you saw them in real life. Charles is a chubby kid who hasn’t been hardened by city living, while Margo is vamped up. She dresses for success and intimidation, with her dark ensemble and choppy angled hair.
One of Weing’s biggest successes with his work is the creation of a run-down cityscape. The environments where Margo and Charles search are the perfect habitats for monsters on the run. He includes great details, like abandoned office detritus and graffiti. The artistic setting definitely carries some of the narrative and gets the reader fully immersed in the underground life of Echo City.
The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo is a fun read for anyone who loves a good monster mystery. It’s marketed toward the tween set: 8-12 year olds, but could be read and enjoyed by any age. It’s a good choice for anyone looking for a webcomic to follow, too. I’m excited to continue following the adventures of Charles, Margo, and the monsters online at drewweing.com!
The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo
by Drew Weing
First Second, 2016
Publisher Age Rating: 8-12