Review: La Calaca Ladrones

This comic is unbelievably fun! Maybe it shouldn’t be with all the death surrounding it, but it was a blast to read. Let me tell you why. La Calaca Ladrones, meaning the skull bandits, is a comic based around the Day of the Dead. The comic brings you in with a storyteller sitting some kids down. So automatically, I feel like a little kid about to get told a scary story around a camp fire. The set up is perfect. Every child and adult loves a good folk story.

The drawings don’t give a lot of detail, but with its thick black lines and simple faces it brings that adorable element. I can’t help but think that this comic is just so cute. I want to squeeze its cheeks. You really have to pay attention to this art too. It tells the whole story, while the storyteller is singing a song in Spanish. There is little dialogue but very much action.

Our storyteller starts to tell us of how the dead come back tonight in order to sing and dance with us for one day. The kids are very anxious to hear what is next when he starts to tell of a rotten group of men known as Los Hombres De La Calaca. These men were the meanest bank robbers in all the South, but on their last job got caught and plunged to their death. The story is classic horror. It has all the right elements with a bit of charm.

The issue bounces between Spanish and English. But don’t worry if you aren’t up to speed on the language, because there is a translation for you. It appears at the end of the comic and even gives small descriptions of famous Spanish names or events in Mexico. I thought it was pretty cool. I could see this comic being used for young kids to educate them on Spanish, folklore, and Mexican heritage. Probably kindergarten through 3rd. When comics are not only badass fun but then can be used for educational purposes, I am all for it.  Plus sometimes I think it is hard for kids to read stories with no words attached it. They are used to the reading doing the work but now they must use their own communication skills to convey a story with the art.

Truly the only thing the comic lacked was length. It was a tad short. As I said before, the singing is pretty much the only storytelling happening for the bulk of the issue, so for me it was a quick read. And since I read comics everyday, the art wasn’t difficult to understand. That is why I would recommend this to a younger audience.

Jumping back into the story, the kids hear of these robbers coming back on the year after they had died. The robbers appear on the Day of the Dead in order to finish their last job. The ending is creepy and like all horror stories never really ends. The mystery behind it all again hones in on the playfulness the comic possess.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Bob Edwards Artist: Jesse Lee Davidge Publisher: Blatant Studios Price: Pay What You Want Website