Decoy: Menagerie
by various writers & artists
(Penny-Farthing Press, 2005)

It isn't easy being green for either Kermit the Frog or Decoy, the little alien. Both have seen better days.

Everyone knows that Kermit is a Muppet and that Muppets are waning in popularity. Fewer know that Decoy is a malleable green alien whose word balloons are cluttered with what looks like chicken scratch and who is the companion of a cop nicknamed Luck.

For Decoy, his better days seem like yesterday since he is a relatively new character, and his problems begin with the lack of visual continuity in a new hardback anthology called Decoy: Menagerie.

Every anthology is uneven in quality, but the often-excellent artists in this anthology either did not have a character style sheet to guide their interpretation of Luck, or ignored one. The cop looks so different from story to story that it simply destroys a reader's ability to suspend disbelief.

Decoy's better yesterdays are also due to the brevity of the stories about his and Luck's crime "busting." Some tales are merely brief moments in time and have little plot, dialogue or characterization.

But the greatest mystery is why an editorial decision was made to package lesser material in an expensive, beautiful, hardback collection.

I admit it hurt to write this review. Publishing is a tough business, and Decoy deserves to succeed. Gentle is very difficult to capture in word and pictures, and books that can be enjoyed by readers of every age are rare indeed. Earlier appearances of Decoy accomplished both goals.

This collection is still above average, and will be enjoyed by his growing number of fans. However, new readers should turn to earlier efforts and hope for better days for Decoy ... and Kermy too.

by Michael Vance
20 January 2007

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