Magic school is, of course, the subgenre du jour nowadays. We can thank J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter for the shift. The numerous splinter stories that stem from Rowling’s series are too many to count, but some actually contain possibility, providing different twists or ideas on Rowling’s premise. Melusine is one such twist, though to call it an offshoot of Harry Potter does not do it justice. Rather, it can be understood as a comedic jousting of sketches about youthful exploits, adventures, and predicaments.
However, the twist here is that the title character, Melusine, and her friends are witches and wizards in training. Like all students, they enjoy their share of practical jokes and sometimes find themselves at the wrong end of said jokes. Additionally, as youths, they often try to cut corners or believe they are getting away with things when clearly they are not. Whether it is pumpkin carving, preparing for the dance, using the right ingredients for a potion or casting spells, this rag-tag group of students manage many a laugh.
There is no driving plot in this collection, rather a series of single-page stories broken into panels delivering some joke. This works well because once readers know the premise, they can skip about reading the pages that grab their attention and going back to the other ones at their leisure. This collection’s theme is Halloween—a holiday closely associated with the supernatural as well as witches and wizards. Many of the activities portrayed are related to Halloween in some way, though they are not all exclusively tied to the day.
The artwork is colorful, simple, and elegant. The use of gently blended colors proves easy on the eyes, not demanding scrutiny or further decoding. The color also stays consistent throughout each smaller piece. Particularly, the background pulls the piece together for readers, often exhibiting singular changes but not mixing up the backgrounds too often. The variation in backgrounds from sequence to sequence proves useful in delineating where a new plot begins and an old one ends.
Filled with ghouls, ghosts, and other monsters of fame, Melusine: Halloween proves a fun collection of comic strips that most readers will find delightful. It’s mere forty-eight pages may not be enough for many readers but is certainly something readers from all different age groups can enjoy and appreciate.