12th Nov2020

‘Scarenthood #1’ Review (IDW Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Nick Roche | Art by Nick Roche | Published by IDW Comics

Nick Roche is one of those creators who flies under the radar a little. Despite working in the field for getting on for two decades, he probably is best known for some of his more mainstream Marvel work. That aside, he has done a lot for IDW, notably on their Transformers licence. Initially just an artist, he branched out into writing and drawing, and this creator generated effort seems to be the next logical step along the way. Total creative control is a lovely thing, and IDW seems a good home. The flip side, of course, is that the success or failure of a project is all on you. No pressure. Let’s take a look.

So, parenting. Tough, right? As a parent myself, there is no better feeling than doing the school run, dropping the little darlings off, and then relaxing for those precious few hours before you have to go and collect them later that day. What if, Nick Roche asks, not all parents were as lazy as I am (not just me is it?). What if the real focus of their day was just about to start? Meet the parents of the children at Little Pixies Nursery. Typical on any school run. Flynno, the loud-mouthed one. Jen the stay-at-home Mum, the various stay-in-the-background parents, and Cormac, the late-for-everything Dad. Cormac is the father of Bethany, and for reasons not yet clear is raising his daughter on his own. Just. Pre-school kids are tough work for two, let alone a work from home Dad. Roche does some great scene setting in these early pages.

Kids on the bus for a school trip to the Zoo, and the four parents left waving them off are the four who didn’t volunteer to help. Feeling slightly guilty, they decide to hang out a little, allowing Flynno to again tell them about his theory on the possessed statues in the hall, that seem to move about by themselves. Fair to say the others are a tad sceptical, but one of the statues has gone missing and, it turns out, so did Flynno’s brother. His brother, as a 10 year old, went investigating under the hall stage and was never seen again. That was forty years ago, and he’s been haunted by the place ever since. Seems a parent investigation team is in order. Well, not so much a team as just Cormac, who has been volunteered to go in by the others. Serves him right for being the most sceptical.

Cormac reappears ten hours later. Not to him, it seems instant, but in the real world it’s night. Jen had to take Bethany home, thinking Cormac was pulling some elaborate practical joke. He tries to explain he found the missing statue and everything went weird but Jen’s not quite buying it. Cormac takes Beth home, but the strange stuff has seemingly followed him home. Yikes. A parental pow wow sees the others come round, and they decide to use their mornings to investigate the hall and its history fully, as something very weird is clearly going on. The weird bit is doubled down on at pick up time, as Beth tells Cormac she has made a new friend today, a ‘big boy’. Turns out Flynno’s dead brother might be back…

I really enjoyed this, a perfect blend of the mundane and the creepy. This has got Netflix series written all over it. The parents are all engaging and recognisable, as is the way they interact and talk, and any parent who reads this will nod several times at very recognisable situations. People sometimes forget it’s not just the kids that have to fit in and make new friends at a new school or nursery. As Nick Roche is writing and drawing this, his layouts and pacing are perfect, especially considering he has to move the story forward while doing the initial world building required for a new book. The art style is slightly cartoony, but that doesn’t detract from the story at all. This is a solid, fun read.

After reading this, that same small group of parents that always huddle in the corner of the playground every day suddenly makes sense.

I’m off to look for missing statues…

**** 4/5

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