Of all the ways to extend entertainment franchises, one of the cheesiest is to skew towards a younger demographic and kidify it. The less-inspired projects, though, are completely overshadowed by the classic quality exceptions, such as Muppet Babies, Tiny Toons, and even Marvel’s A-Babies Vs. X-Babies is pretty cute and silly. Few fully realized television dramas could ever make that transition successfully and retain any of the elements that make the show lovable. Sons of Sons of Anarchy? Bweaking Bad? Parenthood? Wait, I think MTV did that one.
The hugely talented artist Patrick Ballesteros, for his showing at last week’s DesignerCon 2012, created a wonderfully imaginative take on the characters from Joss Whedon’s Firefly, taking the poetic liberty to assume everyone knew each other before all that war business happened, and kids playing in the woods was an everyday occurrence. There’s no attempt at realism, just a light and fun assumption of what these kids would be doing on any given day. And what they’d be doing is probably mischief.
My two favorite aspects are the pitch-perfection of Jayne’s punching-glove gun, and River’s playful hiding in the tree. I do have to wonder, given all of the easily scaled-down traits these characters have, how exactly does Inara’s spacewhore status translate? And is anyone as amused by I am that the only reason you can tell Book is Book is because he’s black and reading a book?
Ballesteros gave the characters from AMC’s The Walking Dead the same treatment. This one seems darker to me, with the broken chain hanging off of the banister, and the dead flowers and all. But hey, the kids look cute! I want a little sword like Michonne’s.