I’m not sure if fighting monsters is something Cindy usually does, but I kind of like the not knowing. Cindy and Biscuit: Sundays isn’t an obvious Halloween comic. The cover has Cindy dressed as a pirate, but she spends more time in the pages dressed as a witch. Halloween’s not my favorite holiday, but the stories set that time of year tend to go over like gangbusters, and creator, Dan White, could’ve leaned on that selling point if he wanted.
What’s really cool (and there are lots of cool things to say about Cindy and Biscuit) is he doesn’t. Cindy could be fighting monsters because it’s Halloween, but I don’t think that’s the case. Instead, White makes the title about his choice to format the issue as a series of Sunday comics. Using vignettes as a launch pad, the longest story lasts three pages and there’s no strict chronological order. After an episode set in the winter, there’s another set in the fall, and the last story is set on the first day of school.
Having nurtured an environment where his strips can standalone, White sets a standard for comic creators to make every page count. Cindy and Biscuit: Sundays isn’t a Halloween special, but it is a retrospective on the Fall season. From the warm colors, to the steely grit of White’s rake-wielding heroine, summer likes to project that it’s the season for adventures, but it’s the fall when you need monsters to fight.
There are a number of ways you could look at the monsters in this book, but White accommodates all theories. Take the first page, where Cindy regrets that there aren’t any monsters around. When you’re asking for monsters, those are some dire straits, and Cindy could sure use an out from finishing homework.
There’s another way of reading this scene that could be considered sadder, but touches on what it means to grow up with a vivid imagination. Being able to fill up time with adventures of your own creation is everything at school and at play, and whether Cindy’s monsters are real or pretend, there’s a place for both interpretations.
Occasionally evocative of Charlie Brown and Snoopy, but very different in temperament, I love that White has enough confidence in Cindy and her trusty dog, Biscuit, to feel he can let them stay the main characters. There aren’t always other characters in life, and Biscuit holds his own in a solo outing.
I’d be selfish to talk about a favorite story that appears towards the end, but the finite nature of these tales, interrupted yet complete, is disparate to the amount of time you’ll want to spend with them.
Cindy and Biscuit: Sundays debuts this week at Thought Bubble Festival but, for those unable to attend, will be available in Dan White’s shop.