Well it’s officially Summer, so it’s time to kick back, relax, and read some comics. I have a long list of titles I am planning on checking out and shows I need to binge in the coming months, but first up on this list is Lacey and Lily created by Andrew Cieslinski (more of his work) and Dave Dellesce (check out his website), coming out early this August. Unfortunately, this is not a comic about the life of Lily the Pullbox writer and her sidekick Lacey. The comic follows (you guessed it) Lacey and Lily, your average tween-age girl and her dog companion, but little does the rest of the world know, that after a crazy accident, they have become a pair of crime fighting superheroes saving their hometown.
This exciting adventure/origin story is an empowering comic for kids featuring two female leads that they can relate to, unlike the majority of comics that were available to me when I was a kid. I wish there were more comics like this when I was that age, but I am so happy this is available now. If you are looking for more, I highly recommend giving their website a visit. From there you can find art, info on how to get a copy, and even more.
The story from Dellesce, Cieslinski, and editor Megan McCoy Dellecese (see more of her work here) is a nice twist to the classic superhero tale and I really loved all of the pop culture references throughout the story. Having little details like the Star Wars shirts on secondary characters make the comic automatically more relatable to the audience. Much like kids cartoon shows that have been successful over the past few years, including Easter eggs and nods at popular culture establishes a relatability factor that readers can connect to throughout the comic. A great example of this is the Cartoon Network show, The Amazing World of Gumball, a show that has pop culture to thank for their immense popularity with a younger audience. In almost every episode, they rely on current popular fandoms to build the plot, help the characters grow, and help create a sense of connection with their viewers. Lately, I have been finding myself really looking at the target demographics for certain comics and which age groups don’t get enough representation. So it is really great to see the middle school grades getting a spotlight with a comic that isn’t so basic that they don’t enjoy it, and for it to so easily establish a great connection with the reader. I would like to highlight how much I love seeing comics that younger kids can connect to, and I will definitely be referring Lacey and Lily to my younger cousins in this age group.
Looking at the comic as a whole, the plot is easy to follow, the concept is cute, and it doesn’t drag on for being a longer comic. Highlighting the artistic work of Cieslinski, I think that sometimes art adds another layer to writing, helping to bring it to life, and L&L is a great example of this. The writing is very strong alone, but the visuals add another level to the story. Another smart decision made by the creative team was to have her dog be one of the protagonists and her trusty sidekick, making it even cuter because who doesn’t love dogs? (Especially high flying dogs with superpowers.) After reading this, Lily the dog has made me nostalgic of one of my favorite cartoons as a kid, and helped me realize something. In my opinion, Lily is the 2020 version of Krypto the Superdog, and that makes this story all the better. I think that Krypto was a highly underrated show that sadly just faded away as time went on, and I don’t think that very many readers of this comic would know about the original character. As a bit of an older reader, I love that this comic is bringing back some of the same feels of the iconic super dog. Looking towards our lead, Lacey, just an average middle school student worried about grades and making it to class on time, who one day, just happens to become an unstoppable crime fighting superhero saving her city alongside her high-flying canine companion. I would really love to see more female leads like her in kids comics.
This is the first comic I have read from Darby Pop Publishing, and it was a great introduction! I think that if I would have had the chance to read this when I was younger, I would have absolutely loved it. So much representation throughout the story and the dialogue was funny, quick-witted, and the ideas were straight to the point. You can see more from Darby Pop here.
Overall, Lacey and Lily is a great comic for younger readers, including great writing, an action packed adventure story surrounding a superpower duo doing their best to save the world. You can pre-order it now and look for it hitting shelves on August, 5th. I rate this comic with an overall score of 13/16. I highly recommend this for any kid looking to read a fun, action-packed, superhero tale this Summer. Go check it out!