Featured Columns

December 26, 2012

Touring the Cosmos: Mac and Trouble #1

Why is it that humans get to have all the fun, with their exciting adventures and amazing escapades? The Earth is full of other intelligent creatures, capable of embarking on quests and creating their own (mis)adventures. If you want a more pet-friendly take on the superhero genre, look no further. What The Flux Comics and Rusty Gilligan take us through space and time with the cat duo of Mac and Trouble.

 

 

 

The Adventures of Mac and Trouble #1

Writers: Phil Bledsoe and Rusty Gilligan
Artists: Dan Gorman, Terry Pavlet, and Michael Grassia
Letters: E.T. Dollman, Magnus, and Arthur Gibson
Publisher: What The Flux Comics

Most of us have had a pet at one point or another in our lives. Whether it was a cat, dog, bird, lizard, or hamster, we name our pets, refer to them as he or she, and realize that these pets begin to show personalities beyond what most can imagine. The creator of The Adventures of Mac and Trouble, Rusty Gilligan, takes his love of his pets to the next level by combining his passion for comics with the persona’s of his two real-life cats, Mac and Trouble. Mac is handicapped and is a tuxedo cat, and Trouble is a tabby cat that was rescued from a shelter. Both have tons of personality, which clearly shows up in the first issue of Mac and Trouble.

Mac and Trouble are a pair of cats that take part in alternate dimension hopping adventures. Mac is the cool, intelligent leader of the duo, while Trouble is, well, trouble. Through a vortex created in their litter box, the duo are transported to “The Movie Studio.” The Movie Studio serves as a sort of hub of the universe, where agents are given missions to solve problems, fix mistakes, and mop up the occasional “boo-boo” throughout the multiverse. While Mac and Trouble are still a little confused about why they were chosen, they indeed take part in their own set of quests and missions, even if it is just to avoid the regular daily grind of being a cat.

The Adventures of Mac and Trouble is owned by creator/writer Rusty Gilligan. The first issue is actually comprised of three separate stories, with writer Phil Bledsoe involved on all stories, and various artists handling the duties for each story. The first story, “The Origin,” tells exactly that, the origin of Mac and Trouble, and how they came to be the universe’s super agents. It is quite an entertaining origin, with inspirations drawn from different genres, all being mixed into the proverbial litter box to create a unique tale about Mac and Trouble. The other two stories, “Never Say No To Trouble” and “Nazi Hobgoblins At The Core Of The Cosmos,” further explore the adventures of Mac and Trouble, as well as introduce another agent of the cosmos, The Symbol. While Rusty Gilligan’s cats are the inspiration for the two main characters, both cats have a clear voice throughout the story. If both cats looked exactly the same on the page, it would be terribly easy to tell them apart through their dialog. Mac and Trouble both have clearly distinct voices, and play off each other quite well. The Adventures of Mac and Trouble keeps things on the lighter side. There is a ton of humor involved. The story doesn’t get caught up in the science of a sci-fi tale, but rather enjoys and develops its two main characters. Nearly all science fiction today takes itself very seriously, so reading through Mac and Trouble is a breath of fresh air.

While the artists vary from story to story, all of them handle their duties responsibly. Mac and Trouble have very distinct looks, and this is kept consistent throughout each tale. This makes it really easy for readers to keep up with fairly fast paced stories. The other characters that appear in the story, for example the tour guide or the bookkeeper, are well characterized. They look and act exactly as you would imagine they would in their roles. The panel-to-panel sequencing is also really well done. The flow between panels is clear and concise, adding to the ease of the read. All of the artists really exaggerate the motions and action scenes, and manage to make the cats move in human-like motions, all the while keeping their cat-like dynamics. Even though there are three different artists, writer Phil Bledsoe manages to keep the same synergy with each one. The only gripe is the first appearance of Dr. Wormhole. His details and first 2-3 panels are a little muddled and hard to make out.

The Adventures of Mac and Trouble is chock-full of extra little goodies and art throughout the first issue. A lot of effort was clearly put into organizing all of the material in this issue, and the love for the idea, concept, and characters is very clear. Rusty Gilligan and his team really want to take you into this world, and want you to love Mac and Trouble as much as they do. Which is pretty easy, considering the duo is fun to read about. The art adds to the lightheartedness of the tale and engages the reader in a fun way. Creator Rusty also mentions that some of the proceeds will go to animal charities and shelters. This coupled with the fact that the real life Mac and Trouble are rescued cats, really goes to show the love this team, especially Rusty, has for cats. These facts aren’t forced on the reader, but if you happen to notice these mentions it allows you to appreciate everything this team is working on.

The Real Mac.

The Real Trouble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The characters are lovable, the art is perfect for the material, and creator Rusty Gilligan clearly has a passion for his work. While the tale is very lighthearted, combining humor with misadventure, the mix of sci-fi elements gives direction to the story. There is a large team that worked on this issue as a whole, and all are due their credit for coming together to create adventures that can be enjoyed by many. Whether you’re a cat enthusiast, pet lover, or enjoy reading high-spirited adventures, The Adventures of Mac and Trouble is perfect for a Christmas read.

Happy Holidays Everyone!!!!

Mike Parente
mike@comicattack.net

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