Review: Li’L Vampi One-Shot
Welcome to Stoker, Maine, the most normal, boring town in the world. Or is it? There are sea serpents roaming the docks, a mummy in the town hall. And a gaggle of ghouls and goblins just devoured the breakfast cereal aisle at the local Shop-O-Mart. Who is behind this monstrous rampage? And can it be stopped? When there are spooks afoot and arcane mysteries to be solved, it’s time for Vampirella-teen scourge of the supernatural-to crack the case! And if that isn’t enough, each Li’l book comes with a two-page activity sheet and a “Pantha” comic strip by Brandon and Orion Jerwa and Agnes Garbowska!
Dynamite’s Li’L miniseries continues this week with the release of the Li’L Vampi one-shot. The story of a tiny Vampirella is written by Eric Trautmann with art by Agnes Garbowska and letters by Joshua Cozine. At the bottom of each page there is a short Pantha story. Those are written by Brandon and Orion Jerwa. Garbowska provides art and Cozine handles lettering on those as well. There are a lot of Li’L books out there, but how does Vampirella translate in the genre?
In Stoker, Maine there is a weird little girl who everyone calls Vampi. She hates that name and would much rather everyone call her by her actual name. For some reason though the entire town is starting to turn into monsters and creatures of the night. Only our little paranormal investigator can figure out what’s going on. After stopping by to visit her mother, the librarian, Vampi figures out that someone has gotten hold of the Necrocomicon. Because of the terrible literacy rate in old Sumeria, the necromance turned his body or work into a picture book, or as Vampi calls it “the first ever monster comics.” It’s up to Vampi to turn the town normal again and get to the bottom of this monstrous mystery. Is our tiny heroine up to the task?
Trautmann writes a really fun story. Most of these all-ages books are several shorts with a cutesy punch line at the end. This issue a full story with two activity pages included toward the middle. The shorts, based on Pantha, are relegated to the bottom fourth of the page. It works out really well and makes this feel more unique than some other similar comics out there. The story is a nice child friendly spin on Vampirella as well. Garbowska’s art is a perfect fit for Vampi. The cute, big-eyed characters make for a visually stunning Stoker, Maine, and they look pretty great turned into monsters too. The colors make this feel like a really weird and wonderful children’s bedtime book as well.
Bottom Line: You have to respect a publisher’s attempt to make a comic accessible to all age of readers, even more so when it’s a really great story. Li’L Vampi delivers on all fronts. If you’ve been enjoying a lot of the more off-kilter all-ages comics out there lately, this is definitely one you need to pick up. 4/5