A couple of years ago while looking through comics at the local Comic Shop I felt very uninspired and couldn’t find anything interesting, fresh or different to read. Sometimes I get tired of reading the same old story’s where the third-person speaking bad-guy fights the lacking inner-monologue good guy and (can you guess it?!) the good guy prevails! Every now and then I have to find something outside the mainstream to read just to stimulate my mind and let me cool my jets after a long day of life.
So I did what I have done throughout the years when I can’t think on my own: I asked the clerk what he thought was hot at the time. He listed off a few titles, I mentally scratched them off because they weren’t the type of thing I was looking for (falling into the before mentioned group[‘s]). It was only when he finally mentioned Mouse Guard that my interest was piqued. As if I had waited for him to list off that specific title. For many weeks/months I had seen this book displayed but passed it by. It’s layout wasn’t like normal comic books, it seemed more of a children’s book than anything, so I asked him, “Mouse Guard, are you sure about this?” He confirmed his resolve and I blindly picked up all 6 issues (yeah, I missed out for that long!).
I have always been a fan of animal books and movies like Watership Down and The Plague Dogs. Homeward Bound: The incredible Journey was a favorite movie for many years, but this story was more like The Secret of Nimh where it centered around mice and their struggles and triumphs in a very large world.
After blazing through the first book – the story’s are mostly told through the artwork – I was hooked. The wraparound cover art for each issue was amazing and then the issue came where an old, peg legged Mouse Guard was fighting off an onslaught of sea crabs, well I was not only humored but entranced. The idea of a little society of mice fending off creatures that you would never imagine – seriously, how often do you see or even consider the idea of a mouse fighting a crab and with a fishing hook for that matter? Fantastic! What’s more is that these mice wield not just fishing hooks but swords, axes, spears and other such weapons, exhibiting a sense of duty, honor and valor and feel of a story straight out of Sherwood Forrest. It makes me smile gleefully.
Mouse Guard has three main characters: Saxon, Kenzie and Lieam. The story definitely isn’t limited to those characters alone, but they are the “heroes” through most of the story. Other characters build atop these three as the story progresses adding necessary elements to this great big world of small creatures.
Not only is the story compelling but the artwork is completely captivating, the combination is in such sync that they compliment and balance each other very well.
Any reader will be satisfied with a story being centered solely around rodents and other small woodland creatures and never care that a human, faerie or elf be introduced in any way; but it wouldn’t take away from the story or be completely out of the question.
Mouse Guard published by Archaia Comics, “a small press publisher of creator owned comics”. For more about David Petersen you can check out his homepage, and if you would like to pick up any of the Mouse Guard books you can find them at your local comic shop or you can find the collected Fall 1152 and Winter 1152 books at any book retailer.