Next week Top Shelf Productions will release Red Panda & Moon Bear: The Curse of the Evil Eye, the second book in the middle grade graphic novel series from cartoonist Jarod Roselló. The series follows a pair of Latinx siblings who defend their neighborhood from all manner of threats, real and imaginary. Today The Beat is pleased to present an exclusive excerpt from the new book, as well as a behind-the-scenes look into Roselló’s process in creating the graphic novel.
Here’s how Top Shelf describes Red Panda & Moon Bear: The Curse of the Evil Eye:
Cuban American siblings save the world! With their magic hoodies, Red Panda & Moon Bear can defeat any monster… but how do you stop a curse?
When an evil curse descends upon the city of Martí, it’s up to Red Panda and Moon Bear to put a stop to it… but it won’t be easy! First, they’ll have to solve weird mysteries, fend off new monsters, and uncover the secret history of their neighborhood. With their trusty dog companions and some magical new friends by their side, Red Panda and Moon Bear must find a way to defeat Mal de Ojo — The Evil Eye — and keep it from ruining the lives of everyone they love!
The first installment in Roselló’s graphic novel series was released in 2019 in both English and Spanish-language editions. Prior to creating the series, the Cuban American cartoonist created the webcomic Those Bears, part of which was collected in print in 2015 as The Well-Dressed Bear Will (Never) Be Found.
Discussing his work on the series, Roselló talked about the role pencilling and inking plays in his storytelling process:
“I like to keep my pencil draft loose and kind of messy. I find that inking (or digital inking, in this case) makes different kinds of lines than pencils make. I don’t want to get stuck trying to emulate or recreate a pencil line. Instead, I want my pencils to act as a general guide for my inks, and I want my inking to feel like drawing rather than tracing. It helps keep each stage feeling fresh and exciting, but also allows me to make spontaneous or improvisational changes as I go.
If you look at these pages, you’ll notice that my pencils are geared more towards working out the visual composition of the panels, rather than specific design elements. On several pages you can even find small notes I’ve left to myself—corrections I don’t want to forget to make when I ink.”
Check out the pages, from pencils to inks to finals, below. Red Panda & Moon Bear: The Curse of the Evil Eye is due out in bookstores on Tuesday, April 12th, and in comic shops on Wednesday, April 13th.