Rugrats #4 Review

Written by: Pranas Naujokaitis

Art by: Jorge Monlongo

Published by: Boom Studios

Ever so trendy is it to bank on nostalgia. I’m seeing a great deal of movies and comics reviving old franchises, but something I’ve noticed is just how important execution is. Last month’s Rocko book from Kaboom left me disappointed in a way and that is a reminder that title alone isn’t enough to keep a story afloat. This week I decided to take a look at another childhood favorite in Rugrats, and somehow I’ve had my faith in adaptations restored.

This series handles issue-to-issue stories very well by pacing them like individual episodes of a cartoon. It seems like an obvious choice, but I give Naujokaitis credit for writing this book with such deliberate structure. The dialogue and how each scene is handled reminds me of sitting with a bowl of cereal in front of my TV as the characters’ voices come back to me without effort.

Breaking from the patterns of what is expected is the art, and Monlongo’s take on the visual side of things is a very welcome wave of fresh air. Everyone is recognizable, but it feels new and modern without massive redesigns. It is just an application of a fun and energetic style that never gets too busy to follow what’s going on, and this helps keep the book fun and easy to read from beginning to end.

This issue in particular sees the kids visit a toy store the day a rare collectible Cynthia doll is being released, and in typical Rugrats fashion they have a small adventure. What I especially appreciated was the application of modern conventions to these older characters. Things like ordering toys online or having baby webcam monitors offer new material for these tried and true characters to explore, and it’s a clever approach to have the babies living in a 2018 world without absolutely dwelling on it.

I can’t say much more besides these final thoughts. If you are a fan of the series of olde, dust off your cane and hobble down to the comic book shoppe and pick up a copy. The topic of “what if babies went to a toy store” might not be enough to bring in new fans, but share it with your friends and they might think it’s cute, too.