I’ve had the pleasure to visit a few towns in Alberta for work recently and I tried to find comics from local artists everywhere I went. This is the first in a series looking at a comic from an Albertan cartoonist. In this installment, I’m taking a close look at The Adventurers by Kelly Tindall, an ongoing webcomic about parenting and the new ways children makes life an adventure.
I’ve been a fan of Kelly Tindall’s work for a long-time. He drew the “Save The Date” cards for my wedding. His webcomic Strangebeard about a young girl who becomes a pirate and ties her hair as a makeshift beard has been an ongoing delight. He recently successfully crowdfunded the second volume of his Strangebeard series and I’m a proud supporter of that work.
But since I became a father, I’ve been drawn to stories about parenthood and Kelly’s webcomic The Adventurers has been a real pleasure to read. It’s essentially cataloging the strange, funny, unexpected and awkward interactions that happens between Kelly and his daughter. It captures a very distinct, almost raw feelings about the experience of parenting. He’s able to put a spotlight on the little moments of growth and brilliance kids bring into someone’s life, whether it’s their silly turn of phrase, or the way their brain process information and how they respond to it. But it’s also about Tindall himself, and how being a parent brings a different facet of yourself to the surface. You are constantly being put in new situations with your children and new quirks emerge awkward and hilarious moments are bound to happen.
Tindall’s art is loose and looks like sketches early on in the series and becomes more refined as the story goes on. It captures something quite interesting about a specific moment, like it’s been sketched quickly before the moment vanishes forever. What distinguishes his comic is his use of a single colour, a light blue, throughout the entire series. It’s charming and evokes a sort of melancholia for time passed.
There’s an authenticity to his comic that I appreciate. I’ve been seeing my own son grow from a baby into a sweet and charming and chatty toddler. There are countless moments that are happening, the next always funnier and more unexpected than the last, that it’s hard to remember them. Seeing those small interactions cataloged in such a loving and caring way is heartwarming.
There’s one recent strip (above) in which Kelly hears his daughter singing nonsensical lyrics to the tune of Queen’s “Bicycle Race.” It captures such a genuine moment. It’s something my own son has done to make himself and others around him laugh. He sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” and replaced the word ‘star’ with ‘Kitty Cat’ to make himself laugh. It’s such an authentic moment between a lively children and a parent.
The Adventurers was released as a 95-page hardcover collection last year. It collects the first few years of the strip and showcase the sweetness, love and caring relationship between Kelly and his daughter. It’s available online as well and you can read it from the beginning or start with more recent strips as well. It’s an absolute delight.