Review: Pantalones, TX: Don’t Chicken Out

What’s interesting about this book is that it sets out to create a new tall tale and even after it tells you that this is its goal… it manages to do so. In a way it acts like Babe Ruth calling his hit, which is instantly off-putting to a reader outside of its intended age range because of the cynic lurking in us at any given moment; somewhere down the line though you forget all about this concept of a new tall tale until around the ending when the book reminds you once more. Almost as if creator Yehudi Mercado came out of the dugout and tipped his hat just for you because you doubted him. Even though it achieves its goal of creating a tall tale, that doesn’t mean that this is the perfect all-ages title as young readers are going to find it far more amusing and enjoyable than adults that may stumble upon it. Pantalones, TX is the name of the story and town in which our tale takes place in and is also the place that underwear was invented… that’s right, underwear was invented in a town named pants. I just work here people, don’t ask me. At any rate we’re quickly introduced to Chico Bustamante a little boy who raises hell in the town. He’s companion is a coyote named Baby T. and his best friend is a boy that looks like a pig… named Pig Boy. The town has one horse (yes they make that joke) and the news station is run by a little girl who is the same age as Chico. Since nothing happens in the town, most of the news is about Chico and the way he constantly torments the Sheriff.

Today, he’s gearing up for a race with three brutes that he goes to school with, but the Sherriff has a surprise for him with some enhanced oil. Apparently Chico is ecofriendly and his go-cart runs off of cooking oil. The Sherriff’s plan is to catch Chico speeding and put him jail. The plan doesn’t work and when the school bell rings everyone finds Chico sitting in his seat. The evil Sherriff takes off his Sherriff’s hat and puts on his teacher’s hat.

From there we follow Chico’s adventures as he tries to become famous and eventually gets himself in more and more trouble. Along the way his friends help him out and play their part in making Chico a tall tale, but more importantly they help him grow as a character.

As I said in the beginning this story is definitely geared towards a younger audience and I can see them really love it. For me the jokes were predictable and the situation itself was a transparent, but that’s why the story wasn’t for me. The characters all have strong personalities, but are generally two-dimensional and never really grow; they do have moments where they overcome obstacles and that’s about it. I never really got the deal with Baby T., but I enjoyed the one joke that involved the coyote. Even though I wasn’t the target demographic the story was pretty good and didn’t take itself that seriously.

The art has a strong animated look to it and would honestly make for a great Saturday morning cartoon. The rich body of characters would be perfect for kids, but the town might need to grow in order to have a variety of stories told. The coloring for the book is perfect for the setting of the story and utilizes a lot of rustic colors that complement the desert setting of the town. Otherwise there isn’t much to say about the art since it’s so consistent and stylized.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this book if you have kids. It’s probably too much to read to your four-year old, but if your child is at the point where they can begin reading normal comics this would be a good start for them. There are a lot of jokes that I take for granted due having heard them so many times before, but if this was my first exposure to them I would absolutely love it.  On the flip side if you’re an adult that enjoys high quality all-ages material I would try it before I buy it. Personally I don’t think I would sit through another reading, but someone else out there might really enjoy it.

Scores: 3/5 (Adults), 5/5 (Kids)

Writer/Artist/Creator: Yehudi Mercado Publisher: Archaia Entertainment and Supermercado Comics Price: $19.95 Release Date: 2/27/13