Review Blog

Nov 07 2011

Captain Congo and the Klondike gold by Ruth Starke

cover image

Ill. by Greg Holfeld. Working Title Press, 2011. ISBN 978 1 921504 27 3.
(Ages 8+) Adventure. Graphic novel. Warmly recommended. The daring Captain Congo and his side kick, Pug, travel incognito to Alaska's Klonduke after the heat of the gold rush to investigate claims that the old gold field is haunted. Reports of a monster, of lights at night and of men disappearing are grist to the mille when Congo and Pug hit the trail. During the train ride north they are sabotaged, Pug almost falling to his death and the would be murderer falling foul of Congo's strength. Arriving at Klondike, they are again detoured from their purpose as another villain lures them down a dangerous river, then leaves them to the rapids. Luckily Congo was a champion rough river rider, and so saves the day, yet again!
At night the pair watches what happens, following the trail of the Yeti type creature, until it ends suddenly. But the next day pug falls into the hole where the creature disappeared and eventually Congo follows him, working out just what is happening. But in catching the bad men at the end they appear to be helped by a somewhat ephemeral being from inside the old mine.
A hoot from beginning to end, I was captivated by the wonderful antics of Congo and his friend as they pursue villains, follow monsters and solve the crimes. They do not flinch in the face of danger and stand up to what ever is thrown at them. The Canadian Mounted Police, Mae West and villains of all sorts make an appearance, adding to the underlying humour of the piece, all well served by Greg Holfeld's imaginative and entrancing illustrations. He has a great style, filling the pages with bright, evocative pictures full of movement and drama, his characters all having quirks which separate them from the others. Evocative of comics I read in the 1950's, the storyline and illustrations are all consuming to the modern reader, and the hard back book is great to handle and read.
Fran Knight

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