Advance Review: CASH AND CARRIE Volume 1: SLEUTH 101


Written by Giulie Speziani, Shawn Pryor, Chris Ludden, & Ginger Dee
Art by Penny Candy Studios, Christina Stewart, Marcus Kwame Anderson, Justin Castaneda, Andy Jewett, Justin Birch, Meg Daunting, Shauna Grant, Chrus Ludden, Ginger Dee, Tressina Bowling, Jay Reed, & Kenny Keil
Published by Action Lab Entertainment
Release Date: November 22, 2016

When Cash and Carrie are on the case, you can be certain it will be closed.

Cash and Carrie are two middle-school detectives, searching for the root of mysteries both mundane and supernatural. Outside of their detective work, they are everyday kids with a penchant for clues and discovery, who have the skills for debate, wrestling, or helping someone make friends.

Cash and Carrie is a wonderfully deliberate comic. If you pay attention to the background characters, none of them look like facsimiles of each other. The characters are all of different races, and cultural elements emerge which remind us that creating a world that actually looks realistic is not a Herculean task. I like these touches because, even if readers don’t look like the main characters, they can hopefully see themselves represented in the crowd, a feat which unfortunately feels rare in comics.

Beyond the important diversity, I love that Cash and Carrie is a well done mystery series that takes itself seriously. Both Cash and Carrie treat their circumstances as real, and even with the absurd elements, the stories don’t break from the lighthearted tension. Such an effect allows for comedy to emerge organically without breaking the main plot. This story is made for people who like detective stories and its overall tone is enhanced by the levity of Cash and Carrie being young and adventurous.

Giulie Speziani, Shawn Pryor, Chris Ludden, and Ginger Dee all tackle writing for the volume. Speziani writes a spectacular introduction for our detectives, providing the main mystery that carries through the first couple of chapters. Pryor, Ludden, and Dee team up to tell my favorite story of the collection, about a young boy who admires Cash and Carrie and just wants to fit in. Pryor handles the final story about the more everyday parts of the protagonists’ lives, a humorous look into their activities and what their classmates are up to.

I’m a fan of these differing stories because they help to maintain the reader’s attention and infuse humor and breaks from the initial story. I think this style is perfect for Cash and Carrie and for an all-ages comic as it allows for freedom of storytelling without having to adhere to one larger plot.

There’s a massive art team for this comic, ranging from story to pinup. Penny Candy Studios’ work on the first two chapters sets the tone for the Cash and Carrie story with a lively and youthful style which gives the story its whimsical tone. From here, Marcus Kwame Anderson draws a crisp chapter that captures the seemingly normal sheen on events within the story, momentarily shifting to create the rather ominous climax to the plot.

Next, Andy Jewett evokes the spectral tone of the next chapter with muted colors and soft lines befitting the story’s content. Chris Ludden and Ginger Dee utilize funky and emotive visuals, emphasizing characters’ reactions and responses to each other, as well as how they move about their environment.

Tressina Bowling’s artwork in the final story is bubbly, detailed, and endearing. This chapter’s departure from mystery-solving helps to round out the characters and their world, assisted by Bowling’s inclination for form, movement, and expression.

Cash and Carrie is a youthful, lighthearted foray into the mysterious goings-on of a middle school. From missing ghosts to ghostly girls, this comic touches on fantastical story elements while remaining firmly grounded in reality. The main characters are as diverse as the world around them, and the story is enjoyable and engaging. For a light read with a diverse cast, keep your eye peeled for Cash and Carrie, which will be out later this fall.

If you want to preorder Cash and Carrie, head over to Comixology, your Local Comic Shop with Diamond Code SEP161171, or! I can promise you it’s a great read for all-ages, particularly the young sleuths in your life.

The Verdict: 10/10


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