Petey

 PETE   (Baboon, 2003)

™ and © Baboon Books

A comic book that puts a smile on readers’ faces is a wonderful thing. A comic book that puts a lump in readers’ throats is an even more wonderful thing. A comic book that does both is nothing short of a literary achievement. Petey, a story about a sad and unloved turtle, easily falls into this rarified category.

Petey Macdew is a vulnerable, likable little fellow with neglectful and abusive parents. Petey loves his little toy more than anything else in the world but he sometimes takes out his frustrations on his loyal friend by mimicking the actions of his parents and beating the stuffing out of the little guy. Eventually, he runs away from home, looking for love, only to find the world to be a big, scary place filled with mysterious characters, insincere sentiments, and false love. He does manage to find some measure of hope and contentment, but this is certainly no syrupy “and they lived happily ever after” kind of tale.

In addition to the standard story (which incorporates clever rhyming, by the way), this issue includes a nifty Petey pin-up gallery by members of the Philadelphia Cartoonist Society and a page of information about the Children’s Crisis Treatment Center. The latter organization, also based in Philadelphia, can be reached via www.cctckids.com.

— Brett Weiss

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