Campfire Stories of Lake Kikipapi by Craig and William DeLuca, published by Peppercopia Publishing, is a short comic about the scary stories that are told at camp. It presents a short overview of American summer camp life; the fake native American camp name and decor, cyclical activities such as swimming and arts & crafts, campfire tales, and how they’re passed on from one to another. It presents a world of bygone days, before background checks and drug tests for every job — when it was okay for children to have unsupervised fun.
This is a cute little comic that’s suitable for all ages, drawn with bright colors in a stylistic form that strikes me as the stepchild of a kewpie doll and 1930s Looney Tunes. Personally, the vertical pupils creeped me out a bit, and I felt the artwork was a bit uneven in places. But overall, it isn’t bad, and is fairly intended for children and their parents to enjoy. While it’s spooky at times, it likely won’t give you nightmares or keep one up all night trying to get to the end — unless your kid is afraid of ants (either normal, or giant-sized-and-humanoid ones).
That being said, it felt like it would be better presented as a collection of children’s stories, and print might be a better format for before-bed reading. The artwork could do with a bit of polishing, and we don’t really get much characterization or insight into most of the characters — they could be swapped with one another pretty easily with no changes to the tale.
Overall, Campfire Stories of Lake Kikipapi is a pretty solid kid-friendly work that succeeds in bringing back memories of summer camp in a time when it was perceived as safer to let your kids run amok.
You can grab a hard copy right here for $5.99.
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