Cream Maid Graphic Novel Review

Written by Mark Dickson, art by Rebecca Burgess, edited by Bryce Beal and Scott Malin, letters by Davis Rush, logo design by Rhianna Mills, graphic design by Leanna Cruz. Published by Arledge Comics. 

Much like the two main human characters in this comic, my life is now divided into two parts: before Cream Maid, and after. 

This comic is so much fun and full of humor, love, joy, heartbreak, and more. Through this cat called Cream Maid the most human and relatable story is told. 

Cream Maid just is. They are a humanoid cat who shows up in Honey and Darling’s life one day to bring change. Sometimes a servant, sometimes a child, Cream Maid is always an agent of change. While their motives and reasons may be mysterious, life usually changes for the better as a result of Cream Maid’s actions. They bring such frustration and even anger into Honey and Darling’s lives but is that upset really their cause? Cream Maid brings attention to problems that we all have under the surface. The big issues none of us deal with because we’re too busy working, dealing with our anxiety, and then falling asleep in hopes that internal pain magically goes away the next way. Maybe Cream Maid themself is a product of magic. Certainly they have the power of distraction. 

Writer Mark Dickson made me aware of Cream Maid, and I talked with him this week on an all new episode of my podcast, Hellions Talks. 

Cream Maid gets in trouble, makes mistakes, acts impulsively, and there’s a way to interpret their actions as a burden on their employers/caretakers/parents – Honey and Darling. However I see it as Cream Maid is the deus ex machina, the trickster god, the forced hand. A random Facebook post that leads to a new job. A co-worker that is mostly a stranger yet has that one piece of information that changes a course in life. This cat-like body and child-like mind imp appears to be the cause of but is actually the solution to Honey and Darling’s life problems. This lesson is necessary for children and adults. Many times the struggles and pitfalls we experience in life are necessary to bring us to the next good thing. Honey and Darling struggle, but it leads to more happiness. Change is difficult, forced change is even harder, but all of us from you or I to a fictional Cream Maid come out stronger for persevering. 

On the podcast, I mentioned my own personal interpretation of Cream Maid as the book progresses, and that is the possibility that they are on the autism spectrum. Cream Maid has trouble expressing their feelings and at times struggles with impulses and appropriate reactions. As a parent of a child on the spectrum I saw many familiar moments during the later part of the book. Cream Maid has trouble with socially responsible actions. They want to give their all towards current interests, but those interests can change. Even as an adult (and I think I speak for many of us that if we were born today we would be diagnosed to be somewhere on the spectrum) I find my focus changing towards what is most interesting in the moment and that leads to many unfinished projects. I finish what I’m “supposed” to, but there is a freedom in Cream Maid’s mind that allows them to change focus. 

Part of this freedom no doubt comes from Honey and Darling. They have had to face their own fears of anxiety, doubt, work/home balance, keeping a relationship together and more. One of their strengths is making changes together. Not just speaking, or being open, or listening, but instead they move towards mental health and positive changes together. They know the path won’t be easy but together they can share the load and be stronger as a unit than they would have been on their own. As Cream Maid becomes a part of the family, that communication is opened up to a third individual. They are truly on the same page, and not just giving lip service. In a story starring a large cat dressed up as a maid, this level of open communication might be the most fantastical part of the book. 

I’ve discovered new takes and new favorite moments to this story which I’ve already read multiple times. I would suggest sharing the tale of Cream Maid not only with children but also with your partner. A lesson book to move forward as a family, side by side, instead of one charging ahead and the rest of the household pulled in that direction.

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