Sparks! by Ian Boothby & Nina Matsumoto, 189 pp, RL 4

SPARKS! by Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto, with color by David Dedrick, has to be one of the funniest kid's graphic novels I've read in a while. This makes sense, since Boothby has been writing comedy for TV and radio since he was a teenager and has also written comic books for The Simpsons and Futurama, to name a few. And these two know cats and how intelligently hilarious they can be. At one point, one cat says to another, "I'm going outside to eat and throw up some grass." If you have cats, obviously you'll get this.
To begin with, a robotic litter box tells the story of August, Charlie and Sparks, the hero-dog-robot-suit they use to rescue those in need. In a flashback, readers learn that August and Charlie first met in a laboratory where they were being experimented on. In one of the best lines ever, the friendly robotic litter box would roll into the lab holding a tray of canned cat food and saying, "Feeding time. Also, is anyone needs to poop, let me know."
August, the brains, and Charlie, the braun (literally, testing made him impervious to pain) escape the lab, taking two hazmat-type suits with them. Finding August's family has abandoned their home, the cats move in and, with a few sales on Ebay and a few good day trades, the cats buy the house a have food delivered regularly. But they are bored.
Which is where the dog suit comes in... With Charlie at the controls, the cats make some great rescues, like saving a baby who has fallen down a well. However, it becomes immediately clear that they keep saving the same baby named Princess over and over, almost getting captured time after time, with Denise Densford from Channel Seven News there to document it all, despite minor injuries at the scene of each rescue. Why does this evil baby with idiotic parents (they have a, "Live, Laugh, Love" poster on the wall of their house) keep having accidents and what does she want with Charlie and August? What kind of experiments were being done on the cats in the lab? And is there a connection between the two? Well, you'll just have to read Sparks! to find out! But, I will leave you with a few more funny panels and the fervent hope that we will see more of August and Charlie and their talking litter box in the very near future!

The REAL-LIFE Charlie & August!


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