By Leroy Douresseaux
September 6, 2009 - 19:42
|Domo: The Manga cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Comedy/Fantasy; Rated “A” for “All Ages”
Domo is the teddy bear-like mascot of Japan’s NHK television station (Japan’s version of PBS). Domo has appeared in several stop-motion, 30-second sketches that work as station identification spots for NHK. The character has also appeared in the U.S., including being part of a promotion for the department store chain, Target.
Created by Tsuneo Goda, Domo is square shaped like Spongebob Squarepants, but Domo is furry like a stuffed animal. His upper torso is box shaped like an old black and white analog television set. The charm of his black button eyes are neutralized by his square mouth full of pointed teeth, so there is a slight fearsome edge to this creature who loves to frolic and play.
TOKYOPOP has given the character its first comic book, Domo: The Manga, a full-color, original English-language manga (OEL) anthology which includes six short stories and also three pages of fan art at the back of the book. Written by Clint Bickham, these stories also feature appearances from such Domo supporting characters as Mr. Usaji, the rabbit who lives in a cave-like hole with Domo; Tashanna, the weasel girl who lives near Domo and visits often; and Maya & Mario, a bat mother and son who also live in with Mr. Usaji and Domo, among others.
In the first story, Domo causes havoc when he decides to mimic the things he sees on TV, including being a samurai and a giant monster, in “Don’t Try this at Home.” Next, Domo decides to become a superhero, with more disastrous results, in “Hero for a Day.” Also, Domo turns a soapbox derby into a Mad Max movie in “Soapbox Road Warrior.”
THE LOWDOWN: Readers looking for something like the Owly series (Top Shelf Productions) will probably like Domo: The Manga. Clint Bickham’s stories are light-hearted adventures, featuring the kinds of activities children might attempt during carefree summer days, or at least dream about doing them. I had as much fun reading the stories as the characters seemed to have just being themselves.
The art is stellar, so well-drawn in a kind of cartoony, newspaper comics strip style. Global Manga-ka Sonia Leong, the team of Lindsay Cibos & Jared Hodges, and rem (Priscilla Hamby, who draws TOKYOPOP’s Vampire Kisses manga) have, with their work here, proved that they are capable of doing something many acclaimed comic book artists apparently cannot do – draw great kids’ comics. Also, the production and printing of this book are so good that the colors shine like magic-infused candy.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: An “all ages” title, Domo: The Manga is for Domo fans and for young readers looking for a good time reading.