Detectives and Drag Races: Should My Kids Be Reading ‘Goldie Vance’? [Kids’ Comics]
It’s Kids’ Week at ComicsAlliance! As the summer draws to a close and young comics fans get ready to go back to school, we’re presenting a week of articles focused on great kids’ comics, including comics recommendations for younger readers. Hey! Kids’ comics!
Welcome to Crossed Palms Resort, your comfortable and cool (read: air-conditioned) home-away-from-home for your vacation in the Floridian sun. We offer gourmet dining, a private beach, and — what's that? That sound of burning rubber? No, no, don't worry. That's just our resident mischief-maker and meddlesome detective, Goldie Vance.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
A sixteen-year-old detective named Goldie Vance is, depending on your pay grade, either a menace or savior of the Crossed Palms Resort, a massive hotel set in a fictionalized 1960s Florida.
Though the resort already has an on-staff detective (which resort doesn't?), he's not always the most effective at his job. Which means it's up to Goldie, in the tradition of Nancy Drew and Sherlock Holmes before her, to take a mystery by the wheel — pretty literally in every issue.
WHO’S IT BY?
Hope Larson, the Eisner Award-winning artist behind A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel, and writer over on the current Batgirl series, takes the reigns as series scribe. Brittney Williams, the artist behind the series' expressive and inclusive illustration, is also the current artist on Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat, and the upcoming Legend of Korra original graphic novels. Sarah Stern, of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Pink, Black, and The Automan's Daughter, brings the series' stand-out and stunning colors.
WHAT MAKES IT SPECIAL?
Did I mention the colors? We'll get to the rest (colors cannot sustain a series alone, I think), but let's take a moment to appreciate the sea greens and salmon and cornflower blue and corals in the daytime, and the haunting lavenders and lilacs and navy blues at night. The series' very first page opens with a splash view of Crossed Palms that instinctively sent me to Travelocity.
Larson and Williams co-created a cast of characters that are as vivid and engaging as Stern's colors. Though the focus is (rightfully) set squarely on the compelling and intrepid Goldie Vance, the stylish supporting cast brings great humor and world-building to every panel. There's a history and weight behind every character's interactions with Goldie, and I look forward to seeing them explored in future issues.
Williams' art is a draw for any book — she crafts characters with expression, individuality, and an eye towards inclusion. The world feels real because the characters — in body size and language, wardrobe choices, and background — are depicted in an array reflecting the real world.
Larson's scripted a protagonist whose gusto and drive charms from the very start. She's still a child — one that works at a hotel, and who loves both her parents on either side of a divorce — but she's a resourceful one who's not afraid of a good car chase or two. Or three.
WHO SHOULD READ IT?
Fans of detective stories with bold protagonists. Folks tired of finding a visual monotony whenever they see a store's shelf of comics. People with an eye towards all-ages diversity, inclusive of race and body size and gender and queer romance. Anyone who enjoys an arresting color palette.
WHERE CAN I READ IT?
The series' first four issues are available in both comic stores and on Comixology. The next issues, product of the series being upgraded from a miniseries due to popularity, will resume monthly publication this September.
Volume one of Goldie Vance, which collects the first arc's four issues, is poised for release in early October.