These days, Hollywood tosses around the terms “dark and gritty” with almost terrifying abandon, but although the current blockbuster scene is overwhelmed by new takes on old material that somehow involve making them feel more emo than anything else, there’s one genre where the long arm of Sir Dark and Gritty hasn’t yet choked everything around it: animated kid’s tales. A handful of animated outings, many from the visionary studio Laika, have steered the genre into darker waters—including Frankenweenie (dead dog comes back to life), ParaNorman (cute kid can talk to dead stuff), Coraline (cute kid falls into nefarious Other World), and The Boxtrolls (disgusting cheese with the power to kill)—but the majority of cartoon kid’s tales remain staidly sanitized, all the better for mass tot consumption.
The Book Of Mojo is decidedly not sanitized for mass tot consumption.
The new web series comes to us from the team at Alchemy Engine, a fledgling studio that includes former employees of such big guns as Pixar, DreamWorks, and Blue Sky, all brought together by their common desire to make “compelling young-adult content with a propensity for creative risks.” Here’s one risk: making a webcomic for kiddos that includes the word “bitch” on its third page. We’re not in Pixarland anymore.
Based on said webcomic, The Book Of Mojo is set in a future world where magic has, apparently quite suddenly, become available to the general public. Adopting the magic as a means of scaring off their enemies, a group of local street toughs find themselves going up against a plucky young teen runaway (named Creepy) who can also bend magic to her will. She also has a cute pet rat who can do cool things like levitate. Oh, and a 7-foot-tall statue named Mojo has his own special powers that, yup, are totally tied into magic. The idea of a city run amok with magic is already intriguing enough, but the team behind The Book Of Mojo also want to use their series to teach lessons about family and responsibility, many of them inspired by The Legend Of Korra, Harry Potter, and even the work of Joss Whedon.
The Alchemy Engine team doesn’t just want to make content that’s unexpected and creatively risky, they also want to market it in a new way. The studio just launched an Indiegogo campaign for the new show, one that offers rewards for fans that include producer credits, chatting with the show’s creators, and even purchasing their own character to appear on the series. Should the campaign prove successful, The Book Of Mojo would likely arrive in December of this year.
Take a look at the series’ first teaser to get an idea of what the series could look and feel like, levitating rats and all: