Big Foot, the Loch Ness Monster, Chubacabra, what 11-year-old wouldn’t love to go out searching for these creatures? Zac Saturday certainly does. The son of Doc and Drew Saturday, well known and respected cryptozoologists, every day is like an adventure for him. But when the evil V. V. Argost tries to take back the Kur Stone, a relic that can lead its owner to the legendary cryptid Kur, a powerful cryptid that supposedly has the power to control other cryptids, it’s up to Zac and his family, both human and cryptid, to stop him.
The Secret Saturdays Volume 1: The Kur Stone
Adapted by Elizabeth Hurchalla
Y: All Ages
Del Rey Manga, 2009, 978-0-345-51694-7
95 pgs, $7.99
The Secret Saturdays is a TV show that is shown on Cartoon Network. This volume is an adaptation of the TV show’s first episode. It uses screen shots from the show, cropped into panels, and with word balloons added for dialog, and narration to fill in gaps to make it into a comic. This first volume introduces the Saturday family of Zac, his parents Doc and Drew, and Zac’s two cryptid companions, Fiskerton, also known as the Fistkerton Phantom, a tall, feline-like creature that is reminiscent of Big Foot that speaks in mumbles only the family can understand, and Komodo, a Komodo dragon that can turn invisible and will eat anything and everything he can get his teeth on.
The TV show, and as such this volume, is written to appeal to Tween boys. Zac Saturday is your typical boy hero. He hungers for adventure, using the mysterious power to control cryptids he was born with, but usually finds trouble instead. Fiskerton is the hapless sidekick that get pulled into Zac’s adventures. Doc and Drew are fairly typical too. Doc is the science-minded of the pair, with his powerglove and logic thinking. Drew is more emotional and believes in the supernatural. She uses the mystic Tibetan Fire Sword in times of trouble. They do make a good team, like two sides of the same coin, and it’s refreshing to see a series with both parents alive and together. V.V. Argost, also a cryptozoologist is the perfect adversary for the Saturdays. He’s intelligent and knowledgeable about cryptids and has no qualms about using them in this schemes.
The story is well conceived, and while the concepts of the characters seem average, the writing is not. Doc and Drew are real parents, both proud and worried about their son. And Zac, though his enthusiasm to join the action can be more troublesome than helpful, is mindful of his parents. He still feels a kid’s indignation at being left out of a fight, but does come though in a pinch, and is appropriately regretful when he knows he’s messed up. And he still gets punished. There is no laughing off things at the end. The cryptids that are seen are both strange and familiar, giving a touch of plausibility to the series. The only real downside to this volume is that the animated images do not do the story justice. The static images sometimes downplay what should be a fun or exciting action scene.
The volume itself is short and can be easily read by ages as young as 7 or 8. There are no really scary creatures. The cryptids shown are a Flashlight Frog, who’s eyes light up, the Al-Kaseem Firecracker Beetle, that emits a flammable gas, and a neural parasite that can take over a person’s mind. There is some fighting, and laser weapons are fired, but no one is seriously injured. Fans of the series will enjoy this volume, as it lets them take their favorite show anywhere. The unusual creatures and a relatable main character may interest other kids as well. Elementary and middle school libraries should feel safe adding this title to their collection.