By Leroy Douresseaux
September 23, 2009 - 11:54
|The Secret Saturdays Vol. 1: The Kur Stone cover image courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Rating “Y: All Ages”
Del Rey Manga and Cartoon Network Enterprises entered into a publishing partnership, and one of the books to emerge from that deal is The Secret Saturdays Volume 1: The Kur Stone. The Secret Saturdays is an animated television series created by Jay Stephens (“Tutenstein”) and styled after such 1960s Hanna-Barbara animated action series as “Jonny Quest.” The Secret Saturdays debuted on October 3, 2008 with 26 episodes having been broadcast thus far.
The Secret Saturdays Volume 1: The Kur Stone, Part 1 is a film-comic book, in which the comic book art is actually created by incorporating full-color stills from the animated film. The art, of course, is drawn by artists and illustrators in traditional comic books. In this case, The Secret Saturdays film-comic is adapted from “The Kur Stone,” the first two episodes of “The Secret Saturdays” (Season 1).
The Kur Stone introduces readers to Zak Saturday and his parents, father Solomon “Doc” Saturday and his mother Drew Saturday. The Saturdays are cryptozoologists dedicated to the worldwide protection of secret artifacts, hidden monsters, and cryptids (creatures whose existence have not been proven by science, such as Bigfoot). Doc and Drew are part of a group known as “the Secret Scientists,” an organization working to discover the mysteries of the universe before the bad guys do.
Eleven-year-old Zak wants to be part of his parents’ adventurous life, which they are against, but the fact that he is smarter than the average child and has the physical prowess of an adult, is an argument in his favor. Zak also has a special psychic ability which allows him to connect with cryptids and also allows him some control over their actions. Zak’s companions are two cryptids: Fiskerton, a seven-foot-tall “gorilla cat,” and Komodo, a genetically-altered komodo dragon with a chameleon-like ability to blend in with his surroundings – essentially becoming invisible. [A third cryptid joins the family later.]
The central storyline of The Kur Stone, Part 1 film-comic revolves around the reappearance of V. V. Argost. Argost, an old enemy of the Secret Scientists, keeps a museum of cryptid relics and trinkets that are mere tools in his quest to find the ultimate cryptid, Kur. To find the location of Kur, Argost needs to acquire the three pieces of the Kur Stone, and one of them is in the possession of the Saturdays.
THE LOWDOWN: With its high-quality animation, catchy concept, fast-paced action, riveting drama, and engaging characters, the first episode of “The Secret Saturdays” (“The Kur Stone, Part One”) was just the kind of winning debut every cartoon series needs. One might think that since it is essentially a comic book version of that episode, The Secret Saturdays Volume 1: The Kur Stone, Part 1 the film-comic would at least come close to being as good as the cartoon. And it certainly is, or maybe it’s just me. I love me some Secret Saturdays, so I can say that this film-comic had me flipping pages so fast, because it had me riveted just like I was when I first watched the show.
The credit has to go to Elizabeth Hurchalla and Tomás Montalvo-Lagos, the team behind Del Rey Manga’s earlier Cartoon Network film-comics. With The Kur Stone, they apparently knew just what parts of the episode to adapt and to incorporate into a mini-graphic novel that is not only as coherent as the source material, but is also an exceptionally fun read – simple as that.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Not only will fans of “The Secret Saturdays” enjoy this comic book, but so will young readers in general.