Review: Lemon & Ket by Natalie Andrewson

We’re getting closer and closer to TCAF – expect a “to buy”
list coming in the next few days or so. In the meantime, I’m trying to get my
hands on books that premiered at MoCCA and won’t be readily available at the
Canadian show. PEOW! Studio came to the USA from Sweden for MoCCA, but they’re
back home now and not attending the Toronto show, so it seemed like a perfect
time to pick up their latest debut, Lemon
& Ket
, from Natalie Andrewson.

The story features Ket, a young girl fighter who protects
her village from evil-doers. But when a slimy tough-guy comes to town and
steals all the soil the town uses to grow their crops, it’s up to Ket to
retrieve the soil and save the day.

If this sounds like a story out of Shonen Jump, you’re not
too far off the mark. Lemon & Ket
has a lot of shounen influence, with its training montage and secret powers
granted by strange fruit. I’m reminded a lot of One Piece in tone and structure, and to be honest, that’s not a bad
comic to be compared to.  If Lemon & Ket feels referential to One Piece in its structure, then Cat Dad, King of the Goblins is its
artistic and spiritual predecessor. Andrewson allows the characters to flex and
bend with a simple cartooning style that belays Lemon & Ket’s exuberance. The contrasting secondary colors make
the book pop visually, and emphasize the spontaneity of the book. Andrewson has
a good eye for composition and a confident line. It was a breeze to read
through this book, but if you look closely you can see how detailed some of the
panels are. Andrewson’s thinness of line in Lemon
& Ket
seems to hide some of the art’s complexity.

Andrewson keeps the book fresh by introducing something of a
twist ending, making the book a bit more layered than expected. Instead of just
being about fighting and saving the island,
Lemon & Ket
asks readers to think about the ways in which power
corrupts and the cyclical nature of violence and greed. Andrewson leaves the
ending of Lemon & Ket unresolved
in these ways; will Ket be able to break the cycle? It’s hard to say.

Lemon & Ket
feels like a summertime book with its joyful protagonist and bright colors; the
book is fun reading, and a great buy for young readers and the young at heart.
Recommended.

—————

Natalie Andrewson natalie-andrewson is an illustrator and cartoonist whose
work has appeared on books by Simon and Schuster, The New York Times, BOOM!
Studios. You can see more of Natalie’s work here.

PEOW! Studio peowstudio is a publisher of fun and exciting comics based
in Stockholm, Sweden. See more of their releases and purchase copies of their
books at their website! If you are in the USA, I’d recommend buying from their
distro partner Retrofit Comics retrofitcomics to save on shipping.

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