Marsupilami 7: The Gold Of Boavista

By Batem & Yann
Publisher: Cinebook
ISBN: 9781800440692

Although these books aren’t illustrated or written by the Marsupilami creator, Franquin, I do find that Batem’s artwork utterly captures Franquin’s frantic, frenetic energy. And, let’s face it, that’s what we want. Strong visual humour, great characters, and panel by panel storytelling that drives the narrative forward are what make these books so engaging.

Sometimes the stories are daft, and sometimes they have something greater to say. This one is of the latter, featuring child kidnapping, exploitation and illegal mining. So, weighty topics by any standard. You could argue those aren’t suited to a book aimed at a family audience, but the book doesn’t trivialise or make light of them. Instead, they form the backbone of a story about courage and hope that perfectly balances the thrills with the humour.

Had they been written slightly differently and the Marsupilami himself could have been dispensed with – the book’s themes and the children’s struggles do almost all the heavy lifting. But, of course, if you do that, then the slapstick quota just wouldn’t be fulfilled. After all, who else is going to take out the baddie holding an assault rifle in such a stylish manner?

With clever wordplay as well, this is engaging, smart, and has something to say – but best of all it’s fun. It was books like these, when I was a child, that I’d make a beeline for when we went to my local library, and they inspired me to write and draw. Cartoon-based books offer so much engagement, and I’d really like to see more books like this in libraries and school libraries to help inspire another generation of readers.

And if you liked that: Grab yourself a copy of Spirou and Fantasio, also from Cinebook

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