Miraculous #11 (Action Lab)
Got some weird feedback last week when I covered Medisin, a new horror comic from Action Lab. People seemed to like the review but were weirded out that I’d mention Miraculous in the same sentence, especially when calling on titles like Awake, Herald, and Tomboy.
I thought it weird that the people commenting didn’t mention Princeless, but we’ll get there.
“Miraculous is kid’s stuff,” seemed to be the general takeaway.
Steven Universe is kid’s stuff. Avatar, both the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra. Adventure Time. My Little Pony. Hell, comics are considered kids’ stuff by far too many people, an entire medium relegated away for reasons I’ve never understood.
But, let us discuss the concept of kids’ stuff: the idea that something is meant for young children doesn’t mean that it has to be bad, simple, or even unpalatable for adults. Grimm’s Fairy Tales was kids’ stuff. All kids’ stuff implies is that it is (a) meant for children, and (b) understandable by children.
Stories written by kids’ stuff can be more adult than the adult fare we’re regularly served up, often talking about difficult concepts and breaking them down into component ideas that are easier to discuss and digest. They give us a greater breadth of language by which to communicate and become the bedrock from which we can form identities. This is important, as this becomes the basis of what we will make of our lives going forward.
Miraculous is startlingly good at this. It builds a world that is familiar enough to our own and introduces characters that are recognizable, dealing with different classes within the context of western society and dealing with the negative connotations of that society: the monster-of-the-week villains are victims of abuse whose pain allows the actual villain to take advantage of them, empowering them to destroy themselves to further his ends. Defeating them involves finding the source of the abuse and dealing with that source, not just taking care of the symptoms.
For example, this part of the story features a young girl scared to play her part in a horror tale who runs from the mockery she faces. This one moment allows the villain to seep into her life and turns her into a monster that will save her from the fear she feels by inflicting that fear on everyone around her, a monster that feeds on fear and becomes more powerful as it spreads terror. Our heroes, the Miraculous Ladybug and Chat Noir, will have to help her find her courage instead of just putting the monster down.
Heady stuff in a very simple, easy to digest package… and that’s why I like it. All delivered to you by Zag Entertainment.