I first encountered Mark Mariano at New York Comic Con in 2011, where he had a table in small press alley. My son was immediately drawn to the bright colors of his books on display and I liked that his books were all ages, somewhat a minority among the small presses.
Mariano gave me review copies of two of his books that day in 2011, Happyloo: Friends, Foes and Fun and Flabbergast: Science Friction. The second is a fun zombie comedy/drama aimed at teenage readers. Happyloo, however, reminded me strongly of Owly, fun and engaging stories for young readers.
Now Mariano has a new Happyloo collection out: Happyloo: Flying Colors. Three friends, Coolie, Meatsauce and Tickle, the animals pictured on the cover, go chasing rainbows to find a pot of gold. Instead, they find an adventure on the other side and discover helping others is more fun than finding gold. I love all the bright colors that practically jump off the page in this story.
And it’s more than a story. The back of the book contains simple science explanations for why rainbows exist, suggestions on how to create your own rainbows, an idea for watercolor fun and other creative crafts using the colors of the rainbow.
I highly recommend it for young readers children or for kids who’ve never read a graphic novel before. Or for adults who remember what it’s like to chase rainbows.