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Mighty Mite: The Earmite
posted December 30, 2005
A project like this one can be traced to the success of Millionaireâ€™s Maakies
and Sock Monkey
series, from publishers Fantagraphics and Dark Horse, respectively. Originally appearing in mini-comic form, the deluxe childrenâ€™s book-style edition of the still-tiny Mighty Mite: The Earmite
offers up Millionaireâ€™s patented mix of acerbic adult satire and storytelling modes common to childrenâ€™s book illustrations. The particular twist here is a side-by-side storytelling method that provides parallel plotlines both of which relate to a central incident: the separation and eventual reuniting of a chimp character and his ear mite. Beyond the appeal of having a portion of that story told using lovely, flat color very different in tone than what the cartoonist employs on his Sock Monkey
covers, the best thing about Mighty Mite
is the casual treatment of time. One sequence seems like it should last a lot longer than the other, and when the two stories re-join at the end the readers is left to choose between a variety of fanciful reasons how this is possible: differences in the way the characters perceive events due to their relative size, perhaps, or simply authorial whim. The good news here is that if Millionaire is going to be one of those cartoonists whose publishers will make use of any and all past projects, his skill is so light-handed and easy on the eyes to make that kind of treatment frequently pay off.
This review was written in the late 1990s as part of a then-ongoing freelance gig; I apologize if it reads oddly or seems incomplete.