Making Scents does something substantial with a silly premise, demonstrating the value of comics.
As written by Arthur Yorinks, Mickey was found as a baby by Barney and Barbara Spitz, who raised and trained bloodhounds. So he was raised right along with these “brothers and sisters”, including scent training, making his eventual entry into another culture somewhat difficult.
That happens after an accident, with Mickey taken by his aunt and uncle to their home. They’re older, and they never particularly wanted children, and the shopkeeper uncle thinks all kids are crooks, and the dogs are gone. Mickey has quite the struggle to find points of similarity and things they can bond over.
The art by Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline (The Midas Flesh, Adventure Time) is cartoony enough to balance the people and the dogs. The weirder aspects (who left Mickey behind?) are normalized through the happy, open lines and characters. Because this is a comic, Mickey behaving as a dog isn’t as ridiculous as it could have seemed.
The color fascinated me, mid-century shades of pale turquoise and peachy-pink and mustard yellow and a pistachio green. The panels are monochrome, each with only one accent color, but changing throughout the book. The shades chosen made the story feel both old-fashioned and timeless.
Ultimately, Mickey’s two families make a case for accepting people with all their unique quirks, skills, and yes, wrong attitudes. Everyone in the book is a distinct character, most the kind of person you wouldn’t see in real life, spurring imagination. The book also has some character sketches and a section on “making a comic page”. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)