I've been on the mailing list for the indie comic publisher Rotopol for some years now. They always put out fantastic comics and the latest one, "To Be a Brave Scout," is stellar as well. Written and drawn by Julia Kluge, it is a faux-guidebook of sorts about exploring nature. It doesn't break down species of birds or how to identify plants, however. Instead, "To Be a Brave Scout," focuses on discussing how to have a love of nature and enjoy being in it.
As someone who isn't too great in the outdoors themselves (I like air conditioning and other creature comforts), I admire those who can spend hours (or days) outside in nature, even if I can't. "To Be a Brave Scout," expresses a deep love of nature and its power as it tells readers, "Brave scouts are friends to all mushrooms," and, "Sometimes brave scouts go into a forest and leave their sadness there." The book has funny surreal twists too, such as a page that warns," Be aware of passing the borders of space and time," and shows an outdoor explorer running into a dinosaur. Kluge clearly has a strong sense of humor and it shows in her writing and the artwork, and what amazing artwork it is!
Kluge's illustrative style is full of abstract shapes and colors that somehow combine in a miraculous fashion to give us recognizable shapes and people--while still managing to maintain a strange and intriguing appearance. Whether she's giving us anthropomorphic flowers or drawing a lovely night sky, Kluge's illustrations are amazing and a treat to witness as you turn each page. The witty writing and gorgeous art combine to produce a fantastic comic.
"To Be a Brave Scout," is a superb comic for anyone who loves nature (or at least respects it from indoors such as yours truly), enjoys clever writing, or wants to mesh themselves in some gorgeous artwork. I wholeheartedly recommend you order it from your comic shop, bookstore, or Rotopol's website.
5 out of 5 stars.