Here’s a comic series that appeals to audiences of all ages, and still, Land of Toons is a thrilling four-issue adventure that dives into some pretty complex themes.
The comic begins with a nameless monkey and a man waking up in a strange place among other assorted nameless cartoon characters. Simple enough, right? But that’s only the very start of the story. As it continues, Land of Toons eventually turns into a Looney Tunes meets Maze Runner kind of tale. Come to think of it, there may be a little Elysium/District 9 mixed in there as well!
And that description alone does not do writer Kevin Chilcoat’s work justice at all. With art from Hayley Russell and Andrew Morrice, Land of Toons tells a deep story of social class and pre-determinism.
After waking up in this mysterious location, the two protagonists see a sign: “follow the instructions to survive.” They follow the instructions to a set of hunting equipment and a script labelled “Mangus the Monkey and Zookeeper Ted.”
Ok great, now they have names.
Underneath, in the director’s slot, is the phrase “Property Management” (now I’m getting The Truman Show vibes). According to the script, Mangus the Monkey and Zookeeper Ted must act out Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd-like skits every day. They’re actors, darn it.
But the two aren’t receiving any pay for their hard work. The story doesn’t discuss unionization so let’s not get into whether Ted and Mangus need a better agent. Because there are larger issues afoot.
Ted on a daily basis “hunts” Mangus, and Ted fails in a typical Wile E. Coyote falling-off-a-cliff-like fashion. The other cartoon characters that live with Mangus and Ted are confined to similar sketches. Everyone from this new community then gathers every day to watch all of their scenes together in a theater. After the group viewing, each skit receives a score out of 10 from an unknown reviewer.
The scores start off really high but as they begin to drop, strange things start to take place in this mysterious cartoon land. The “follow the instructions to survive” orders are eventually thrown out the window. Zookeeper Ted is the first to question his purpose in this world and the endgame to this whole charade. At first, Mangus shoots Ted down at the thought of investigating; you’ll hear the phrase “that’s not what the instructions say” lots in Land of Toons. But soon after a mysterious wall emerges out of nowhere, and the other characters begin to disappear, Mangus realizes he may have to stray from the rulebook to survive. In the long run, that decision sets him and Ted off on an epic adventure.
I don’t even know what genre Land of Toons fits into. Chilcoat’s writing has a bit of everything. There’s action and adventure, comedy, drama, and even a bit of mystery and suspense. The art is similarly eclectic: Land of Toons begins in black and white, but towards the middle transitions into full color. There are even some points where the illustrations are computer-generated.
Overall, this is a great comic that ends on a terrific cliffhanger leading into the next series. But issues #1-4 are “only a little after the halfway point” of the entire story, according to the creators.
If only there was a way to help these people continue this great series. Oh wait – there is – on their Kickstarter now! So please check all four issues of Land of Toons and back this project – because I need closure!
So if you want more details about Land of Toons you can check their Kickstarter here! See how you can access the full series and sound off on both our Twitter and/or Facebook feeds to let us know what you thought!