Comicbook Review: "The Case of the Littlest Umbrella"
The last thing I expected was having my heart lifted by this adorable comic book. A lot of ComicsGate and IGG comics tend to lean towards a teenaged to adult audience. This is the first example I became aware of where it was pointed towards a younger audience, and with the way it's done it also appeals to adults who want to feel like a kid again. Let's dive into this perfect mesh of cultic horror and child-like innocence of That Umbrella Guy's "The Case of the Littlest Umbrella."
The case of the Littlest Umbrella contains 3 short stories. In the first story “That Umbrella Guy” (AKA TUG, his actual name,) works with a secret occult organization by the military, tasked out to investigate a haunting at a hotel. Thought to be his daughter causing the hauntings, it ended up some cult member summoning a demon. LUG (Little Umbrella Girl) gets lost, finds a ‘baby cthulu’ creature, and have their own silly adventure while TUG tries to clean up the mess. The second story is more of a nursery-rhyme, where LUG gets separated from her dinosaur friend. The dinosaur wonders through the woods after chasing a rat, but finds his way back to LUG with the help of new friends.
The third story is TUG saving his daughter from a mad scientist before escaping an island filled with the scientists psychically controlled dinosaurs before the volcano erupts.
The high praise I give with the presentation solely lies in the theme: A cute, horror theme that meshes really well. Usually you would assume horror themes are more geared to adults (with the exception of Halloween of course.) However, these mixing of elements are executed splendidly! The book even starts with a short little story rhyme.
The only thing that sets the presentation back is the lack of additional goodies. For $30, I only got the comicbook, which is roughly 45-60 pages (there's no page count here mind you.) I won't hold it too badly against the initial campaign. I usually aim to just get the comicbook anyways. It's just a little rough when comparing the other comicbook campaigns I've rated so far.
There are 3 different stories in this comic. The first and third one have a similar linework while the 2nd has a more kid-friendly vibe (it reminds me of Captain Underpants in a way.) It's really cute and cartoony, and a great intermission between stories.
The main distinctions between story 1 and 3 are the shading. Story 1 is mostly minimalistic with the shading, however because of the contrast, it really amplifies the effect of the shaded, intense scenes. Story 3 is more consistent with its shading and detailing.
I really enjoyed the character designs. They are fairly unique and creative.
You have a 1920s or 1940s style detective with an umbrella with a face. I do like the "Dick Detective" vibe he has going on. Though I feel a lot of inspiration was drawn from Rorschach from "Watchmen".
His daughter, Little Umbrella
Girl, is a child that somehow has a really adorable and creepy face hiding under her raincoat outfit. Even the way she's posed in a lot of shots throughout this comic really shows a cutesy child-like innocents, and that could be a difficult thing to master.
And you have a Cthulu-like humanoid named Bill, who's dressed kind of like an office clerk. He seems to be TUG's supervisor. I do love the use of the tentacle mustache and his more stoic expression.
In story 3, there's this 'potato-like' evil villain who has this dinosaur army. With his design you can really get a grasp for how annoying his voice must be. I envision him having "Skeletor's" voice from He-Man.
As for the paneling, it was fairly simple throughout the entire comic. I feel like story 1 could've benefited from some more angled paneling with the action. While the paneling in story 3 is similarly to story 1, the shading and detailing helps bring out that action on its own. With the overall minimalistic shading and detailing in story one, I felt some angled paneling would've really pop out the action scenes. However, the action scenes do really pop out on their own.
I loved the light-hearted nature of all the stories. They're simple, easy to follow, and the kids will certainly love them. Reading these short stories, it felt really light-hearted, and made me think of seasons 1 and 2 of The Simpsons.
The first story opens up in a cutesy rhyme. “That Umbrella Guy” (AKA TUG, his actual name) works with a secret occult organization by the military. Tasked out to investigate a haunting at a hotel. Thought to be his daughter causing the hauntings, however it ends up some cult member summoning a sort of demon. LUG (Little Umbrella Girl) gets lost, finds a ‘baby cthulu’ creature, and have their own silly adventure while TUG tries to clean up the mess. The world-building in the first story is pretty intriguing and I can't wait to explore more in the next issue. The second two stories don't have as strong of a setting, but are entertaining in their own right.
Second story about a short, childs tale about a little dinosaur getting lost in the woods before reuniting with LUG. While those free from Twitter wouldn't understand who the rat person is referencing, I'm particularly not a fan of this clear jab at a particular Twitter user. I just feel these types of drama shouldn't even be given a face in Comics, and the notoriety encourages more drama, but that's just my opinion. Outside that, it's a cute little story. The third one is a cutesy short story with TUG escaping a volcanic island after freeing LUG from a mad scientist. More of an action-grabbing type of scene as opposed to number 1 and 2. It's fun, adventurous, and has dinosaurs! Kids love dinosaurs right?
The most notable character obviously is LUG. Her dialogue and character just scores a 10/10. I never seen a child character in any media so accurately portraying actual children. You can just hear the child-like innocence when you read her dialogue.
Art - 8
Presentation - 7
Writing - 9
Total: 8 / 10
I attempt to give these ratings from a mindset of a 6-8 year old. The humor is fantastic, the artwork is cute, yet the monsters are still ugly. Clearly geared towards a more younger audience, I still highly recommend all ages to give this comic a read. If there were more goodies for the price I paid for this comic, I think the presentation could've brought the entire rating up to a 9 or maybe a 10. Maybe because I'm spoiled thanks to the other comicbook projects on IndieGogo that I supported. Regardless, it was definitely worth the price! If Little Umbrella Girl doesn't warm your heart, then you're the real monster!
You can view their next iteration of the Littlest Umbrella Girl series called "ANOTHER Case for the LITTLEST UMBRELLA" here:
Thank you all who decided to read this review.
Next up, we'll be going over a story of a little girl and boy trying to find beauty in an ugly world in Joshua Plack's "Eudaimonia".
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