Cindy and Biscuit by Dan White is a comic you probably haven’t heard of before, especially if you’re outside the UK. But trust me when I tell you, this could well be one of your next favorite series. It was certainly one of my best of 2017 picks.
Dan White’s been telling the tales of Cindy and her canine pal for a few years now, and Cindy and Biscuit: Sundays is the latest volume, a slim 24-page oversized, full-color comic, just like all the best Sundays strips always were.
All you really need to know is that Cindy’s a young girl and Biscuit’s her dog.
They go out on adventures. And on those adventures, they fight monsters. And aliens, and werewolves, and snowmen (abominable and otherwise), and out of control robots from other dimensions, and…well, you get the idea. Armed just with a strong stick (“good soldier” as Cindy describes it), Cindy and Biscuit protect the world, always ready to beat the living daylights out of the next terrible thing to appear. Just like this…
If this was all Cindy and Biscuit was, it would still be tremendous fun, thanks to White’s charming artwork and excellent fight scene choreography. But there’s so much more to Cindy and Biscuit, and that’s what makes it so darned great.
Beneath all the monster bashing bravado, Cindy’s just a little girl. And she’s a little girl whose life is far from good. In previous comics, we’ve seen her struggle to fit in at school, shared her loneliness and sadness as she’s ostracized by horrible classmates, and been left questioning when she returns home to a distant mother, unseen, off-panel, usually angry, uncaring. We start imagining Cindy’s homelife, begin to wonder about possible neglect. And understand just why it’s only when she’s out on her patrols that Cindy truly feels alive and happy. It’s her escape, from the cruel taunts of classmates who don’t understand, don’t like the quiet, weird girl, from a mom who doesn’t seem to care at all.
It’s this multi-layered aspect of the comic that really transforms what could have been a simple, rather cute comic, into something far more subtle, measured, complex, heartbreaking, intriguing. And above all, truly a brilliant read. White controls it all, through some incredible cartooning, just as good at kinetic fight sequences as he is at subtle facial expressions.
Here in Cindy and Biscuit: Sundays, we’re dropping in on our heroine and her canine companion every Sunday. Sometimes these are dull Sundays, of homework and rainy British weather, and sometimes these are full of monster hunting adventures. Actually, they’re nearly all full of monster hunting adventuring of one sort or another.
Just eleven strips, one and two-pages each, but everyone different, not just monster of the week things. There’s leaf monsters, forest monsters and that purple, alien, weird head thing you saw earlier, Cindy finding out that Halloween is a tough time for monster spotting, even a solo Biscuit strip where his bone discovery leads to scary skeleton trouble. The bittersweet side of things is here as well though, as Cindy finds unexpected help when she gets into snowballing trouble with the school bullies, or the moment Cindy realises just how dangerous alien guns can be after finding one on the ground (poor birdies). And then there’s two beautifully simple pages of Cindy typing out a story, the four typewritten pages spread across the comic page, of her encounter with a Wood Witch. Proudly handing it to mom, you can only sigh with sorrow as mom responds…
Where do you get this stuff from?
And that’s a question I’ve asked in the past. After all, one reading of all this is that everything that goes on in Cindy and Biscuit is that it’s all a Calvin & Hobbes style fantasy, with Cindy imagining all these things just to escape her life. Who knows? Personally, I’m with Cindy; she is protecting her world and one day they’ll all thank her for it.
But I’ll end this with a perfect couple of pages, where Cindy tackles a monster from the deep (end)….
And that’s everything I love about this comic in two pages. You see Cindy scared on the board, see her bravely face those fears and dive off. And just take another look at the fabulous kinetic flow of those bottom three panels… brilliant art from White that continues through to the titanic struggle with the tentacles snaking through the drain. And then, finally, there’s that last panel, Cindy triumphant and that look on her face… it’s simply priceless.
Cindy & Biscuit really is a comic that thrills, entertains, fills you with absolute joy, and then breaks your heart. I implore you to follow the link below and check it out for yourselves. You won’t regret it.
You can find Cindy and Biscuit: Sundays, along with more books by Dan White, including the highly recommended Cindy and Biscuit collections from his online store at Milk The Cat Comics.