What if Beatrix Potter had illustrated a serious medieval fantasy series? That’s basically the first impression I got of the graphic novel series Mouse Guard, written and illustrated by David Peterson.
Much like my earlier review for Amulet, this is a series where the author and illustrator are one and the same. One serious difference between the two is the effect they had on me as a former cartoonist. The beautiful yet simple style of Amulet made me think, “Hey, maybe I could revive Fuzzy Knights someday.” It even got me to start doodling and taking cartooning courses.
Mouse Guard, on the other hand, gave me serious feelings of inadequacy and made me want to give up because there is no way I’ll ever measure up to it.
This is my way of saying the artwork is frickin gorgeous. Growing up, I loved the works of Beatrix Potter, because she managed to make her animals both seem like animals and yet have them behave like people, and the art of David Peterson reminds me of that. You never forget that these are tiny little mice, and the art is never Disney-fied just to make them even cuter. They’re cute for natural reasons, not artificial ones.
The weapons, clothing, armour, and equipment they carry are all meant to feel appropriate to the historic setting, and reminds me a bit of Redwall or The Secret of NIMH in that regard.
Redwall, perhaps, bears the closest comparison, being set in a similar time period. Though both these series are classified as fantasy, that’s really only because of the anthropomorphic natures of the animals. They don’t really have magic or monsters or anything.
The first Mouse Guard book begins in Fall of 1152. In this world, sapient mice live in villages hidden away from the predators that live all around them. And that’s where the Mouse Guard come in, not only to act as soldiers to fight off intruders, but also as guides for mice wishing to journey from one village to another, as well as patrol the borders, find new safe paths through dangerous lands, and keep an eye out for any other threats…
Read the rest at: Noah Chinn Reviews: Mouse Guard by David Peterson