Luke On The Loose
by Harry Bliss
Luke On The Loose from the ever excellent Toon Books is a kinetic MAD influenced romp through New York city as one little boy chases and chases and chases pigeons all the way across the city.
The MAD influence comes out in the little touches on every single page, where the backgrounds have so much extra information, so many wonderful little gags, so many great visual reactions to Luke’s romp across the city. It’s something that hasn’t really been in Toon Books yet, as they’ve rather preferred to tell beautifully simple children’s tales, but the inclusion of these extras makes this far more than a beautiful and exciting children’s book.
(The calm before the storm. Luke ponders the pigeons whilst the dads do “boring dad talk” from Luke On The Loose)
Luke is out with his dad for a trip to the park, when he decides that the day would be far better if it was spent in a madcap pursuit of pigeons across the city. So he slips off and careers through the park, through the streets, over the bridge into Brooklyn and beyond. He eventually comes to rest high on a rooftop near nightfall where he and the pigeons curl up to sleep and stay still long enough for a rescue and his reunion with a pair of terribly relieved parents. Along the way he causes consternation, confusion and chaos in his wake.
(And Luke in full flight, a danger to pigeons, waiters, old gentlemen enjoying their red wine and young men in the middle of proposing. From Luke On The Loose.)
Luke On The Loose is an absolute masterpiece of a children’s book, one of those that whips by at frenetic pace but leaves you with a huge grin and a great feeling that lasts long after bedtime. Entertaining to adults just as much as children, with both parties getting something different from the tale. Children will love the manic chase across the city and adults (at least adults like me) will delight in the background touches and the little extras on every page that are guaranteed to raise more than a chuckle.
Harry Bliss’ work will more than likely be new to you, having previously been seen in the pages of the New Yorker and many beautifully illustrated American children’s books. This is his first work in comics. I’m really hoping that it’s the first of many.
Luke On The Loose is released April 15th.