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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: graphic novels, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 550
1. New Release - GAIJIN: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner

"Amazing art and a moving story drew me into this compelling, historically important graphic novel." -- Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood-Red Sun, winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

"Matt Faulkner has crafted a beautifully drawn novel that simmers with rage."  -- Matt Phelan, author/illustrator of The Storm in the Barn, winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

"Powerful. . . Matt Faulkner tells his tale with fierce graphics and moving delicacy." -- George Takei

Based on an episode of Matt Faulkner's own family history, GAIJIN tells the tale of a half-Japanese boy in the 1940's who, along with his white American mother, is sent to an internment camp in Northern California after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. 

The internment of Japanese-Americans is one of those things we don't really learn enough about in school. . . and it wasn't that long ago. Despite the fact that many of the people affected by the internment had been in America for generations, were home-owners, had businesses and were upstanding members of society, they were thrown into makeshift "camps" with very little warning, their homes and rights stripped from them, and they had no recourse. Could such a nightmare scenario happen TODAY? Spoiler alert: Yeah, absolutely. 

GAIJIN is a beautiful graphic novel, and an important one. If you (or the kid in your life) are at all intrigued by history, this is a must-add to the library. Ages 9+

Buy the book at your local independent bookstore, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or wherever fine books are sold.

0 Comments on New Release - GAIJIN: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner as of 4/14/2014 8:17:00 PM
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2. Jen Van Meter: The Powells.com Interview

Jen Van Meter writes comic books, which is quite possibly one of the most amazingly cool jobs that anyone can have. Her multi-volume hit series Hopeless Savages, from Oni Press, was nominated for an Eisner Award, otherwise known as the Comics Industry's equivalent of the Oscars. She also writes for Marvel, has a deeply hidden [...]

0 Comments on Jen Van Meter: The Powells.com Interview as of 4/3/2014 1:35:00 PM
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3. Forthcoming Graphic Novels From Random House, Fall 2014!

Four titles, from Random House!

Make Comics Like the Pros: The Inside Scoop on How to Write, Draw, and Sell Your Comic Books and Graphic Novels

by Greg Pak, Fred Van Lente
On Sale Date: September 9, 2014
9780385344630, 0385344635
$22.99 USD / $26.99 CAD
Paperback / softback / Trade paperback (US)
Comics & Graphic Novels Paperback Original
Watson-Guptill 160 pages
A step-by-step guide to all aspects of comic book creation-from conceptualization to early drafts to marketing and promotion-written by two of the industry’s most seasoned and successful pros.

Every aspiring comic book creator wants to know: what separates the beloved comics of major publishers like Marvel, DC, Valiant, and Image from all the rest? Fan-favorite comic book writers Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente reveal the secrets of comics’ top talents in Make Comics Like the Pros. The authors take readers step by step through the comics creation process from idea to finished work, and along the way offer examples and insights from their own careers as well as their collaborators’. Not only that, but Pak and Van Lente also join forces with Eisner Award-winning cartoonist Colleen Coover to produce an original comic inside the book! With its unprecedented level of insider access, Make Comics Like the Pros gives comic book hopefuls the tools they need to reach the next level of sequential arts stardom.


by Michael Cho
On Sale Date: September 2, 2014
9780307911735, 030791173X
$19.95 USD / $23.95 CAD
Comics & Graphic Novels / Contemporary Women
Pantheon 96 pages
A brilliant debut graphic novel about a young woman’s search for happiness and self-fulfillment in the big city.

Corinna Park used to have big plans. Studying English literature in college, she imagined writing a successful novel and leading the idealized life of an author. After graduation, she moved to a big city and took a job at an advertising agency-just to pay off her student loans. Now she’s worked in the same office for five years and the only thing she’s written is…copy. She longs for companionship (other than her cat),gets no satisfaction from her job, and feels numbed by the monotony of a life experienced through a series of screens. But whenever she shoplifts a magazine from the corner store near her apartment, she feels a little, what? A little more alive. Yet Corinna knows there must be something more to life, and she faces the same question as does everyone of her generation: how to find it?


by Richard McGuire
On Sale Date: October 7, 2014
9780375406508, 0375406506
$35.00 USD / $41.00 CAD
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
Pantheon 320 pages
From one of the great comic innovators, the long-awaited fulfillment of his pioneering comic vision.

Richard McGuire’s Here is the story of a corner of a room and the events that happened in that space while moving forward and backward in time. The book experiments with formal properties of comics, using multiple panels to convey the different moments in time. Hundreds of thousands of years become interwoven. A dinosaur from 100,000,000 BCE lumbers by, while a child is playing with a plastic toy that resembles the same dinosaur in the year 1999. Conversations appear to be happening between two people who are centuries apart. Someone asking, “Anyone seen my car keys?” can be “answered” by someone at a future archaeology dig. Cycles of glaciers transform into marshes, then into forests, then into farmland. A city develops and grows into a suburban sprawl. Future climate changes cause the land to submerge, if only temporarily, for the long view reveals the transient nature of all things. Meanwhile, the attention is focused on the most ordinary moments and appreciating them as the most transcendent.

Sugar Skull

by Charles BurnsOn Sale Date: December 2, 2014
9780307907905, 0307907902
$23.00 USD / $26.95 CAD
Comics & Graphic Novels / Fantasy
Pantheon 64 pages
The long, strange trip that began in X’ed Out and continued in The Hive reaches its mind-bending, heartbreaking end, but not before Doug is forced to deal with the lie he’s been telling himself since the beginning. In this concluding volume, nightmarish dreams evolve into an even more dreadful reality…

4 Comments on Forthcoming Graphic Novels From Random House, Fall 2014!, last added: 3/16/2014
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4. Fantagraphics Announces New Titles For Fall 2014 Including $500 Limited Edition Complete Zap Comics Two-Volume Box Set

Richard Sala!  Jacques Tardi!  Robert Crumb!  Dylan Horrocks!  Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez!  Beastie Boys!  Roberto Clemente!  Basil Wolverton!

Tardi’s WWI : It Was The War Of The Trenches/Goddamn This War Gift Box Set

Jacques Tardi, Jean-Pierre Verney
September 10, 2014
$39.99 USD
260 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997697, 1606997696
Summary: Jacques Tardi is responsible for two acknowledged graphic novel masterpieces about World War I: It Was the War of the Trenches and Goddamn This War! To honor the 100th anniversary in 2014 of WWI, Fantagraphics is proud to release a two-volume boxed set collecting these two perennial classics. The first book, It Was the War of the Trenches, focuses on the day to day of the grunts in the trenches, bringing that existence alive as no one has before or since with some of his most stunning artwork. His second WWI masterwork, Goddamn This War!, is told with a sustained sense of outrage, pitch-black gallows humor, and impeccably scrupulous historical exactitude, in masterful full color.

Love And Rockets : New Stories No. 7

Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Hernandez
September 23, 2014
$14.99 USD
100 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
Series: Love and Rockets
9781606997703, 160699770X
Summary: The seventh annual volume of Love and Rockets: New Stories, the most important and enduring alternative comics series in the history of the medium, finds Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez writing and drawing at the top of their game. In Jaime’s stories, Maggie and Hopey take a much-needed break from their humdrum domestic lives and go on a road trip to visit a “sick friend.” And, when the cat’s away, Ray visits some old, sick friends of his own. Plus Tonta’s nutty family! Gilbert offers a suite of stories, including “The Magic Voyage of Aladdin,” a sweeping epic of derring-do in which Morgan Le Fey (Fritz) teams up with Aladdin to stop the evil Circle from obtaining the magic lamp; “The Golem Suit,” a WWII sci-fi thriller starring “Killer”; and “Daughters and Mothers and Daughters,” in which flashbacks to Luba’s mother Maria reveal how ugly secrets of the past affect their family today.

Set To Sea

Drew Weing
September 22, 2014
$16.99 USD
144 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997710, 1606997718
Summary: The central character of Set to Sea is a big lug and an aspiring poet who runs up tabs at the local bars by day and haunts the docks by night, writing paeans to the seafaring life. When he gets shanghaied aboard a clipper bound for Hong Kong, he finds the sailor’s life a bit rougher than his romantic nautical fantasies, but he learns to live-and love-a Conradian life on the sea, all the while writing poetry about pirates, bad food, unceremonial funerals, foreign ports, and unexpected epiphanies. By the end of his life, he’s found satisfaction in living a life of adventure and finding a receptive and appreciative readership. What more could one ask for? Set to Sea is part rollicking adventure, part maritime ballad told in visual rhyme. Every page is a single panel, every panel is a stunning illustration, every illustration a part of a larger whole that tells a story in the deft language of cartooning.

21 : The Story Of Roberto Clemente

Wilfred Santiago
September 10, 2014
$19.99 USD
200 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997758, 1606997750
Summary: Now available for the first time in paperback, Wilfred Santiago’s instant classic 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente is a human drama of courage, faith, and dignity, inspired by the life of the acclaimed Pittsburgh Pirates baseball star who died too young. 21 chronicles Clemente’s life from his early days growing up, through the highlights of his career, capturing the grit of his rise from an impoverished Puerto Rican childhood to the majesty of his performance on the field, and to his fundamental decency off of it. Santiago’s inviting style combines realistic attention to detail and expressive cartooning to great effect. Click here to see more information about this title

Aces High

George Evans, Harvey Kurtzman, Al Feldstein
October 20, 2014
$29.99 USD
216 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels
Series: The EC Comics Library
9781606997840, 160699784X
Summary: George Evans was a master of the aviation war story. This collection includes all of his highly-acclaimed stories for Aces High, EC’s famous air war title. As a bonus, we present a rarity: Evans’ never-before-reprinted 3-D story of World War I ace Frank Luke (in regular, easy-on-the-eyes 2-D). This volume also includes numerous Evans crime and shock stories, including “As Ye Sow…,” “…My Brother’s Keeper,” and “Cadillac Fever.” Other war stories, many done in collaboration with Harvey Kurtzman, include “Napoleon!” and “Flaming Coffins” (which Evans wrote, about the inherent perils of WW I aircraft). Like all books in the Fantagraphics EC line, Aces High features essays and notes by EC experts on these superbly crafted, classic comic book masterpieces. Click here to see more information about this title

Massive : Gay Japanese Manga And The Men Who Make It

Anne Ishii, Graham Kolbeins, Chip Kidd
October 7, 2014
$35.00 USD
272 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Manga / Erotica
9781606997857, 1606997858
Summary: Big, burly, lascivious, and soft around the edges: welcome to the hypermasculine world of Japanese gay manga. Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It is the first English-language anthology of its kind: an in-depth introduction to nine of the most exciting comic artists making work for a gay male audience in Japan. Jiraiya, Seizoh Ebisubashi, and Kazuhide Ichikawa are three of the irresistibly seductive, internationally renowned artists featured in Massive, as well as Gengoroh Tagame, the subject of The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame: Master of Gay Erotic Manga. Get to know each of these artists intimately, through candid interviews, photography, context-providing essays, illustrations, and manga. Massive also includes the groundbreaking, titillating work of gay manga luminaries Takeshi Matsu, Fumi Miyabi, Inu Yoshi, Gai Mizuki, and comic essayist Kumada Poohsuke.


Dash Shaw
October 20, 2014
$16.99 USD
96 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606998038, 160699803X
Summary: This new graphic novel from acclaimed cartoonist Dash Shaw (Bottomless Belly Button) is his most taut book to date. Dr. Cho is the creator of the Charon, a device that allows his staff to take the form of a memory in a dead patients’ consciousnesses, and bring them back to life, with one catch: the experience is traumatic and the process kills them again soon thereafter. But for some bereaved, the opportunity is priceless. So when Bell is killed in a random accident, her daughter hires Dr. Cho’s team to bring her back. But what if Bell didn’t want to come back? The dying unconsciously create the afterlife they want, or feel they deserve, in their minds before everything fades to black. Isn’t that better than the reality, and no less meaningful than life itself? Can unconsciousness coexist with consciousness? Doctors is part science-fiction thriller, part family drama, part morality play for the 21st century, and quite possibly Shaw’s best book to date.

The Complete Zap Comix Boxed Set

R. Crumb, S. Clay Wilson, Gilbert Shelton, Spain R…
November 5, 2014
$500.00 USD
920 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels
9781606997871, 1606997874
Summary: There scarcely was an underground comics world before Robert Crumb’s classic solo first issue ofZap. By Zap #2, he had begun assembling a Seven Samurai of the best, the fiercest, and the most stylistically diversified cartoonists to come out of the countercultural kiln. All of them were extremists of one sort or another, from biker-gang member Rodriguez to Christian surfer Griffin, but somehow they produced a decades-long collaboration: a mind-blowing anthology of abstract hallucination, throat-slashing social satire, and shocking sexual excess, that made possible the ongoing wave of alternative cartoonists like Daniel Clowes, Chris Ware, and Charles Burns. The Complete Zap Comix collects every issue of Zap – every cover and every story, and even the Zam mini comic jam among the Zap artists – in a five-volume, slipcased hardcover set. It will also include the 17th unpublished issue with work by Crumb, Moscoco, Wilson, Rodriguez, Shelton, Mavrides, and Williams. Plus, an introduction by founder R. Crumb and an oral history of Zap by Patrick Rosenkranz. Zap is the most historically and aesthetically important comics series ever published. Also included exclusively in this boxed set is a portfolio of Zap covers by the eight Zap artists, especially printed for this edition, production on an Epson 9900 Printer using Ultrachromne HDR ink. Each print is replicated from high resolution scans on fine art paper.

Zap: The Interviews (The Comics Journal Library Vol. 9)

Bob Levin, Gary Groth, Mike Dean
November 5, 2014
$35.00 USD
240 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Nonfiction
9781606997888, 1606997882
Summary: The definitive Comics Journal interviews with the cartoonists behind Zap Comix, featuring: Supreme 1960s counterculture/underground artist Robert Crumb on how acid unleashed a flood of Zap characters from his unconscious; Marxist brawler Spain Rodriguez on how he made the transition from the Road Vultures biker gang to the exclusive Zap cartoonists’ club; Yale alumnus Victor Moscoso and Christian surfer Rick Griffin on how their poster-art psychedelia formed the backdrop of the 1960s San Francisco music scene; Savage Id-choreographer S. Clay Wilson on how his dreams insist on being drawn; Painter and Juxtapoz-founder Robert Williams on how Zap #4 led to 150 news-dealer arrests; Fabulous, Furry, Freaky Gilbert Shelton on the importance of research; Church of the Subgenius founder Paul Mavrides on getting a contact high during the notorious Zap jam sessions; and much more. In these career-spanning interviews, the Zap contributors open up about how they came to create a seminal, living work of art.

The Late Child And Other Animals

Marguerite Van Cook, James Romberger
November 25, 2014
$29.99 USD 180 pages
Comics & Graphic Novels / Contemporary Women
9781606997895, 1606997890
Summary: Hetty survives the bombing of Portsmouth by the Nazis in World War II, only to learn that her soldier husband has been killed on the way back home from North Africa. She must then complete the adoption of her young daughter June alone. A decade later, she gives birth to a bastard daughter, Marguerite. Now Hetty must go before a tribunal to prove that she will be a fit mother. What follows is the story of little Marguerite’s childhood in the recovering British naval port and the rural beauty of the Isle of Wight and in Normandy, France. The journeys and struggles over decades of this mother and daughter are linked in five episodes that veer between lyricism, wry wit, and harrowing suspense. The Late Child and Other Animals is an original graphic novel, a generational autobiography written by legendary punk diva and award-winning poet Marguerite Van Cook, adapted by artist James Romberger, the creator of the Eisner-nominated Post York. The team of Romberger and Van Cook is also responsible for the adaptation and art of 7 Miles a Second, their critically acclaimed graphic memoir collaboration with the late multimedia artist and AIDS activist, David Wojnarowicz.

Sam Zabel And The Magic Pen

Dylan Horrocks
November 25, 2014
$29.99 USD
210 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997901, 1606997904
Summary: Acclaimed cartoonist Dylan Horrocks returns with a long-awaited new graphic novel, the first since his perennial classic, 1998′s Hicksville. Cartoonist Sam Zabel hasn’t drawn a comic in years. Stuck in a nightmare of creative block and despair, Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds. Accompanied by a young webcomic creator named Alice and an enigmatic schoolgirl with rocket boots and a bag full of comics, Sam goes in search of the Magic Pen, encountering sex-crazed aliens, medieval monks, pirates, pixies and – of course – cartoonists. Funny, erotic, and thoughtful, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen explores the pleasures, dangers, and moral consequences of fantasy.

In A Glass Grotesquely

Richard Sala
November 25, 2014
$22.99 USD
96 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997970, 1606997971
Summary: This graphic novel is a selection of related short mysteries and thrills, all depicted in Sala’s trademark colorful watercolor washes and sharp, detailed line-work. Rising from the crumbling pages of some forgotten (and nonexistent) pulp magazine comes the diabolical villain Super Enigmatix. Following in the bloody footsteps of master criminals such as Fantomas, Fu Manchu, or Professor Moriarty, Super-Enigmatix is ruthless, cunning, and thoroughly evil. His only goal is to spread fear and cause chaos-but does he want to destroy civilization, or save it? Not even his loyal army of female commandos can guess his real motives, or his true identity. Will he fall at the hands of the unhinged music professor turned homicidal fiend who calls himself Phantasmiac? Or Quadrummando, the Undead Shaman?


Jordan Crane
December 23, 2014
$16.99 USD
80 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997987, 160699798X

Summary: In this 80-page volume, Jordan Crane draws us in with two gripping and wrenching stories, one of the mundane, and the other of the fantastic. First, there is “Keeping Two.” William’s girlfriend goes missing during a trip to the supermarket, and he must look down the long dark narrow tunnel that his life will become without her. He is reading a book, but the book doesn’t help, and indeed feeds his anxieties, rendering his loss in starkly contrasting lines. The second story, “Discovering the Dark,” is 26 pages and drawn with two colors. Akihiro Akaike is employed as a repairman aboard an asteroid mining ship in the year 2033. In his spare time, he is an amateur astrophysicist, and a discovery he makes drives him steal supplies and a company ship in order to make a clandestine 7-month voyage. However, when the mining operation discovers his plans, he is forced into a rapidly deteriorating set of probabilities.

Prince Valiant Vol. 10 : 1955-1956

Hal Foster, Tim Truman
December 9, 2014
$35.00 USD
112 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Fantasy
Series: Prince Valiant
9781606998007, 1606998005
Summary: Our tenth volume finds our band of heroes making their way back to the Kingdom of Thule by way of Constantinople and Eastern Russia. Soon they are attacked by a tribe of barbarians who kidnap Aleta for the great Dragada Khan who wants to make her one of his wives. After nearly being killed in battle, Valiant returns to his homeland only to find the threat of hunger hovers over Thule. As Val explores new ways of feeding the kingdom’s growing populace, raiders threaten the lives of his family and friends. The volume ends with Val’s return to Camelot, a tournament of champions, and the threat of new treachery in Cornwall. This volume also includes an introduction by legendary comics artist Timothy Truman, and a special gallery containing more of Hal Foster’s incredible Mountie paintings annotated by comics historian Brian M. Kane.

Creeping Death from Neptune : The Life And Comics Of Basil Wolverton Vol. 1

Basil Wolverton, Greg Sadowski
December 9, 2014
$39.99 USD
288 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Manga / Science Fiction
9781606995051, 1606995057
Summary: This is the first of two volumes reprinting copious amounts of comics stories and recounting the career of cartoonist Basil Wolverton. Based on his correspondence and journals, the biographical portion of the books follow Wolverton from childhood to adult day-to-day life as freelance cartoonist, itinerant handyman, persistent contest enterer, and local pastor of the Radio Church of God. Wolverton lived and worked in the Pacific Northwest, unique among the first generation of comic book pioneers. In the precious period before the industry calcified into a commercial institution, Wolverton was free to work under the radar to explore in detail his weird tales of the future. All of Wolverton’s non-humorous comic book stories will be presented in full, along with prime examples of his humorous comics and dozens of pages of unpublished art, including editorial drawings, advertisements, caricatures, pulp illustrations, rejected comic book covers, and unsold features.

Cochlea & Eustachia

Hans Rickheit
December 23, 2014
$19.99 USD
80 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606998014, 1606998013
Summary: Cochlea & Eustachia appear to be twin human girls, but this has yet to be confirmed. Their actions seem to be motivated less by curiosity than boredom and an inclination towards purposeless destruction. Any connate objective remains to be determined. They never stray apart from each other, out of an unspoken proclivity. Perhaps they keep together because they resemble each other; a mixture of vanity and comfort is the foundation of their constant companionship. They seem to consider any creature with dissimilar features as inept or untrustworthy. They are suspected of giving hypnotic suggestions to cats. They do not seem particularly malicious, just meddlesome. This new graphic novel from the author of the acclaimed Squirrel Machine is lighter in tone than his previous works, yet its myriad charms remain as sinister as Rickheit fans would expect.


December 9, 2014
$24.99 USD
120 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606994603, 1606994603
Summary: In this Spanish graphic novel, Nick flees the city into the desert, where he witness the procession of a queen.Disgusted and appalled with today’s noisy and noisome world in which all is spectacle and surface sensation, Nick flees into the solitude of the desert. But even as he manages to recover some sort of spiritual balance thanks to an ascetic regimen of fasting and meditation, he is seduced by the most spectacular and mesmerizing spectacle of all time: the procession of the Queen of Saba. In Vapor, the award-winning Spanish cartoonist Max engages in delightful philosophical mind games, starring another wildly stylized and endearing protagonist – this time deploying a striking, crisp black-and-white graphic style perfectly suited for this desert-based fantasia.

Tales Designed To Thrizzle Vol. 1

Michael Kupperman, Robert Smigel
August 15, 2014
$22.99 USD
160 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997642, 1606997645
Summary: The smash hit humor comic, now finally available in paperback! What are tales designed to thrizzle? Tales designed to thrizzle are about evil girls and their owls. They are about Jesus’ half-brother, the Mysterious Avenger, Dick Crazy, scary snakes, delicious bacon, Private Eye Johnny Silhouette, the Silver Knight, Murder She Didn’t Write, the Mannister, the Space Patrol, portraits where the eyes move, Pablo Picasso, sex blimps (and their logical inverse, sex holes), the hot boy band Boybank, soccer joust, Underpants-On-His-Head Man, Hercules the Public Domain Superhero, Cousin Granpa, Mister Boss-man, Mark Twain, the silent robot Citobor and, of course, the ’30s.

How To Be Happy

Eleanor Davis
August 17, 2014
$24.99 USD
144 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997406, 1606997408
Summary: Eleanor Davis’s How to be Happy is the artist’s first collection of graphic/literary short stories. Davis is one of the finest cartoonists of her generation, and has been producing comics since the mid-2000s. Happy represents the best stories she’s drawn for such curatorial venues as Mome and No-Brow, as well as her own self-publishing and web efforts. Davis achieves a rare, subtle poignancy in her narratives that are at once compelling and elusive, pregnant with mystery and a deeply satisfying emotional resonance. Happy shows the full range of Davis’s graphic skills – sketchy drawing, polished pen and ink line work, and meticulously designed full color painted panels- which are always in the service of a narrative that builds to a quietly devastating climax.

Special Exits

Joyce Farmer
August 2014
$22.99 USD
208 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997604, 1606997602
Summary: In the vein of Alison Bechdel or Harvey Pekar, Joyce Farmer’s memoir chronicles the decline of the author’s parents’ health, their relationship with one another and with their daughter, and how they cope with the day-to-day emotional fragility of the most taxing time of their lives. Set in southern Los Angeles (which makes for a terrifying sequence as blind Rachel and ailing Lars are trapped in their home without power during the 1992 Rodney King riots), Farmer details the slow, inexorable decline in Lars’ and Rachel’s health, and perfectly captures the timbre of the exchanges between a long-married couple: the affectionate bickering; their gallows humor; their querulousness as their bodies break down.

Twelve Gems

Lane Milburn
August 3, 2014
$19.99 USD
220 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606997512, 1606997513
Summary: This sci-fi epic takes place somewhere in the outer cosmos, beyond reckoning or observation. The mysterious Dr. Z has enlisted three space heroes to search the galaxy for the fabled Twelve Gems of Power: the hulking alien-brawn Furz; the beautiful and deadly sabre-wielding Venus; and the soft-spoken canine technician, Dogstar. They meet many strange and storied characters on their journey, but none so strange or sinister as their dear benefactor himself. With a heavy dose of humor and wall-to-wall action, this is one of the most action-packed and funny books of the year.

The Complete Eightball 1-18

Daniel Clowes
August 2014
$94.99 USD
454 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
Summary: Before he rose to fame as a filmmaker and the author of the best-selling graphic novels Ghost World, David Boring, Ice Haven, and The Death Ray, Daniel Clowes made his name from 1989 to 1997 by producing 18 issues of the beloved comic book series Eightball, which is still widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential comic book titles of all time. Now, for the 25th Anniversary of Eightball, Fantagraphics is collecting these long out-of-print issues in a slipcased set of two hardcover volumes, reproducing each issue in facsimile form exactly as they were originally published. Included are over 450 pages of vintage Clowes, including such seminal serialized graphic novels/strips/rants as “Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron,” “Ghost World,” “Pussey,” “I Hate You Deeply,” “Sexual Frustration,” “Ugly Girls,” “Why I Hate Christians,” “Message to the People of the Future,” “Paranoid,” “My Suicide,” “Chicago,” “Art School Confidential,” “On Sports,” “Zubrick and Pogeybait,” “Hippypants and Peace-Bear,” “Grip Glutz,” “The Sensual Santa,” “Feldman,” and so many more.

Hip Hop Family Tree Book 2 : 1981-1983

Ed Piskor
August 2014
$24.99 USD
112 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Nonfiction
9781606997567, 1606997564
Summary: Covering the early years of 1981-1983, Hip Hop has made a big transition from the parks and rec rooms to downtown clubs and vinyl records. The performers make moves to separate themselves from the paying customers by dressing more and more flamboyant until a young group called RUN-DMC comes on the scene to take things back to the streets. This volume covers hits like Afrika Bambaataa’s Planet Rock, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s the Message, the movie Wildstyle and introduces superstars like NWA, The Beastie Boys, Doug E Fresh, KRS One, ICE T, and early Public Enemy. Cameos by Dolemite, LL Cool J, Notorious BIG, and New Kids on the Block (?!)!

Black Light : The World Of L. B. Cole

L B. Cole, Bill Schelly
August 30, 2014
$39.99 USD
272 pages Paperback / softback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Nonfiction
9781606997628, 1606997629
Summary: L.B. Cole created some of the most bizarre, proto-psychedelic, eye-popping comic book covers of all time, yet remarkably this is the first retrospective of his career, featuring the largest collection of Cole covers ever assembled, in an oversize format that showcases his attention to detail and his versatility in all the popular comic book genres of the day. Cole burst into comics during the glory years of the Golden Age of comics. He was famous for his bold covers, usually featuring “poster colors” – brilliant primaries often over black backgrounds – and an over-the-top sense of the bizarre mixed with whimsy. There’s never been a comic book cover designer like L.B. Cole and there’s never been a book like this one.

Run Like Crazy Run like Hell

Doug Headline, Jacques Tardi, Jean-Patrick Manchet…
August 30, 2014
$19.99 USD
104 pages Hardback
Comics & Graphic Novels / Literary
9781606996201, 1606996207
Summary: After the teeth-rattling, one-two punch of West Coast Blues and Like a Sniper Lining Up His Shot, Jacques Tardi makes a third appointment with ace crime writer Jean-Patrick Manchette for his wildest adaptation yet. Michel Hartog, a rich industrialist, hires a troubled young woman, Julie, straight out of the psychiatric asylum to which she has been consigned for several years, to work as a nanny for his bratty nephew Peter. But Hartog’s seemingly altruistic impulse to help rehabilitate a troubled soul hides a darker motive: He plans to stage a fake kidnapping of his nephew and use Julie as a scapegoat. Unfortunately for Hartog, Julie proves infinitely more tough and resourceful than he expected, the kidnapping goes horribly, bloodily wrong, and now Julie and Peter are on the run, pursued both by the police and by Hartog’s goons, led by the aging but fantastically dangerous contract killer Thompson – one of Manchette’s most unforgettable creations, a golem of Terminator-like tenacity who is barely slowed down by physical punishment that would instantly kill a lesser man (he does not end the book with the same amount of eyes and feet as he started). As with the other Tardi/Manchette books, Run Like Crazy… is full of moments of pitch-black humor, and a strong current of socio-political satire runs beneath its bleak surface. It’s a ride to hell, but a devilishly fun one.

7 Comments on Fantagraphics Announces New Titles For Fall 2014 Including $500 Limited Edition Complete Zap Comics Two-Volume Box Set, last added: 3/17/2014
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5. New Imprint At Capstone

Back in February I reported about how Capstone was expanding their new Young Readers trade imprint. This week they announced they were launching Switch Press their new YA Imprint, so now there is something for most all of  you out there to consider, even historical fiction, graphic novels.  Scroll down to read.

capstone2Capstone Publishing Group, which has been aggressively expanding beyond the school and library markets with the launch six months ago of its Capstone Young Readers trade imprint, is adding picture books to the list this spring. Thirteen picture books in print format will be released initially under the CYR imprint; after the first list, the imprint will release four to six picture books each year.

Capstone Publishing Group has previously published picture books for the educational and trade markets under its Picture Window imprint and will continue to do so; this is the first time the company is publishing picture books under the CYR imprint. Thus far, board books, chapter books, and hobbies and crafts books have been published under the CYR imprint, which is overseen by senior product manager John Rahm and editorial directors Michael Dahl and Nick Healy.

In May Capstone will launch a Web site to promote its new CYR line, www.capstoneyoungreaders.com. CYR titles will be available in digital formats as well as in print. While only select Capstone Publishing titles for the educational market are available in digital formats, all of Capstone’s trade titles will be available in both print and e-book formats.

Capstone Young Readers Launches YA Imprint: Offers Wide Range of Nonfiction and Fiction Titles

Capstone Young Readers, a leading publisher of children’s books and digital products and services, announced the launch of Switch Press, a new imprint dedicated to titles that appeal to the wide range of interests of the young adult audience today. Switch Press will include a broad selection of contemporary nonfiction and fiction book titles such as graphic novels, cookbooks, craft/how-to, narrative non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, fantasy and other speculative fiction.

Talk tomorrow,


Filed under: authors and illustrators, Middle Grade Novels, opportunity, Places to sumit, poetry, publishers, Young Adult Novel Tagged: Capstone Young Readers Trade Imprint, Fiction and Non-fiction, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Switch Press YA Imprint

3 Comments on New Imprint At Capstone, last added: 3/14/2014
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6. Hilda and the Troll, by Luke Pearson

Hilda and the Troll, by Luke Pearson, is a hardcover reprint from Flying Eye Books (Sept. 2013) of the first graphic novel about an adventurous Scandinavian girl named Hilda (originally titled Hildafolk).  Hilda lives up in the mountains, with all sorts of magical persons for neighbors.  This particular installment of her adventures (there are two others--Hilda and the Midnight Giant, and Hilda and the Bird Parade) is my favorite, quite possibly because it has the thinnest plot of the three, and one can enjoy the magical world free of any particular anxiety as to outcome!

Hilda and her blue, horned, fox friend (so adorable!) are having a peaceful time of it--sleeping out in a tent when it rains (so as to appreciate the snugness of it more), exploring the hills and sketching interesting things.  But then Hilda comes across a troll rock--will it come alive at night and come down the hill, with ravenous intent?  So she hangs a bell on its long stone nose, to give warning.   And then falls asleep at its feet, and is woken much later by the bell as the troll starts to move!  Dark  is falling fast...can she make it home through the snowfall?

It all works out in a very satisfying way, and though I liked the other two Hilda books just fine, I loved this one.

Like I said, this is the lightest of the series in terms of plot, and in terms of illustration too--literally, as there is more color and more daylight and warm interior firelight!  It's also the most amusing and most charming.  I loved the map-reading giant, the wood person who keeps coming to Hilda's house, and all the interior details of Hilda's house that we get to see.  I am also biased in favor of characters who have meaningful hobbies, so I loved to see independent observer of the world Hilda set off with her sketchbook. 

Hilda and the Troll is the best book in which to meet Hilda, though it is the most recent hardcover of the three.   Seven year olds (or even kids a bit younger) and kids on up as far as you want to go should enjoy it very much indeed.

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7. Illustrator Interview – Matt Phelan

A few weeks back I posted a review in our Perfect Picture Book Friday series of the first book Matt illustrated, THE NEW GIRL…. AND ME. I had so many comments on this post on my Facebook page from people … Continue reading

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8. The Mysterious Manuscript, by Lars Jakobsen-- a graphic novel for Timeslip Tuesday

The Mysterious Manuscript, by Lars Jakobsen (Graphic Universe 2012), is Book 1 of Mortensen's Escapades, a graphic novel series for older middle-grade readers.  Mortensen is a young (early twenties type young) time traveler from Denmark, one of a group of secret agents trying to keep history in order, and keep important artifacts in the time in which they belong (this is explained in an one page introduction). 

When we meet Mortensen, he is on his way to an assignation with an antiquarian bookseller, who has found a book that should not exist--no book from 16th-century Scotland should include a picture of a bi-plane.  So Mortensen time-travels off to Scotland to try to destroy the book....

And ends up crashing around a castle, being thrown in jail, loosing his time travel device, being rescued by a mysterious ally, and taken to the home of a mute young woman (named Blossom, which I am dubious about) who turns out to have been the one who found the plane.  It becomes clear that the book with the plane picture is not all that's going to have to be "fixed"-- for one thing, the young woman is now in danger of being burnt as a witch thanks to Mortensen's arrival in her time.

It was an interesting story, plot-wise, and time-travel-wise as well, but I found the action to be just too quick.  The characters never had a chance to breath, and the story never had the chance to expand into something truly engrossing. I am left utterly confused about many plot points.  It really does not help that the young woman who helps Mortensen and who seems to be the only person who actually knows what's going on can't talk.

So though I almost liked the premise, and the art style was just fine (except for Blossom's fire-engine red lipstick), it didn't quite click for me.  My handy 13 year old graphic novel fan had the same feeling (but didn't notice Blossom's lipstick).

0 Comments on The Mysterious Manuscript, by Lars Jakobsen-- a graphic novel for Timeslip Tuesday as of 3/4/2014 7:46:00 PM
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9. Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers : Framed Ink

The ultimate guide to visual storytelling! How to make the audience “feel” the story while they are “reading” the story. Using his experiences from working in the comic book industry, movie studios and teaching, Marcos introduces the reader to a step-by-step system that will create the most successful storyboards and graphics for the best visual communication.

After a brief discussion on narrative art, Marcos introduces us to drawing and composing a single image, to composing steady shots to drawing to compose for continuity between all the shots. These lessons are then applied to three diverse story lines – a train accident, a cowboy tale and bikers approaching a mysterious house.

In addition to setting up the shots, he also explains and illustrates visual character development, emotive stances and expressions along with development of the environmental setting to fully develop the visual narrative.

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Design Studio Press (August 31, 2010)


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Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers

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10. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: January 15

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send out the newsletter once every two weeks.

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have three middle grade and young adult book reviews. I also have a list of the books my family received for Christmas, another little literacy milestone from my daughter, and a post about the upcoming International Book Giving Day. I have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently. Not included in the newsletter this time around I published:

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read seven early reader to middle grade titles and two young adult titles. (I'm including early readers here that I read by myself for potential review, but not every early reader that I read to my daughter.) I was on a bit of a middle grade graphic novel binge. I read:

  • Cynthia Lord: Half A Chance. Scholastic. Middle Grade. Completed January 4, 2013. Review to come. 
  • Charise Mericle Harper: Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball and Bean Dog and Nugget: The Cookie. Early Reader Graphic Novels. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 10, 2014. I found these vaguely reminiscent of the Elephant and Piggie books (two friends interacting, sparse backgrounds, aimed at new readers), but I just didn't warm to the characters in the same way. My daughter seems rather luke-warm on these, too. 
  • Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse #1: Queen of the World. Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 10, 2014. This was a re-read of the first title in the Babymouse series. Though I enjoyed it (I love Babymouse), it also struck me how much the series has improved over 17 books. The newer titles are just ... sharper. More witty. But I will still look forward to sharing this title with my daughter in a few years. 
  • Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Squish #5: Game On! Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 10, 2014. This installment of the very fun Squish! series deals with video game addiction. I liked the Squish! figured out his problem on his own, and faced consequences. And I loved that he and his dad went to a comics show at the end, where they were able to meet the Babymouse creators. I love inside jokes like that. 
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle (#10). Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 12, 2014. It makes me so sad that this is the final installment of the Lunch Lady series. But I thought that Krosoczka did a great job of wrapping things up, bringing back in several former foes of the Breakfast Bunch, giving the kids a chance to emerge as leaders, and even giving Lunch Lady a potential love interest (with one of my favorite series characters). This one will be released on January 28th. 
  • Kurtis Scaletta: Winter of the Robots. Middle Grade Fiction. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Completed January 13, 2014. Review to come.
  • A. S. King: Reality Boy. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Young Adult. Completed January 7, 2014. My review.
  • Rainbow Rowell: Eleanor and Park. St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan). Young Adult Fiction. Completed January 8, 2014. Not reviewed, because this book has already received so very much positive attention. But I did enjoy it, and highly recommend it to fans of YA romance, especially those who were in high school in the 80s. 

I'm currently reading Champion, the final book in Marie Lu's Legend series, and Spell Robbers, the first book in Matthew J. Kirby's Quantum League series. I'm listening to The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly.

Baby Bookworm was in a bit of a reading slump until I took her to the library last Saturday. We brought home 33 books (all for her, most picked out by her), and read nearly all of them that day. This seems to have rekindled her general interest in reading, too, because we read quite a number of non-library books the next day. You can check out the complete list of books we've read to her so far this year on my blog.

Babt Bookworm's favorite standalone title right now is Arlene Mosel's Tikki Tikki Tembo. I'm proud to report that she can recite Tikki Tikki Tembo's full name, and delights in shouting it out. She still loves series books about Mercer Mayer's Little Critter, Marc Brown's Arthur, and Rosemary Wells' Max and Ruby. I'm also introducing her to Frog and Toad and Little Bear. I will report back. 

What are you and your family reading these days? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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11. Happy New Year! The 2013 Cybils Finalists Are Here

Cybils2013SmallAs I promised yesterday, the 2013 Cybils shortlists have been announced, and they are fabulous. Cybils Editor-in-Chief Anne Levy says: 

"Happy Cybils New Year! Really, when all the confetti is swept up, the champagne bottles put in recycling, and your hangover nursed back to a semblance of sobriety, what else is there? Us, that's what!

We're back again with another list of books that kept our panelists riveted through the holiday season. We sifted through more than 1,300 books and apps this year. Phew! We have this down to a science by now, but even so, there have been a few changes." (Click through for more detail about the changes, and trends we've observed in this year's crop of finalists)

Some highlights for me: 

The Fiction Picture Books list includes 3 of my favorites: Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, Open this Little Book, and Sophie's Squash (links go to my reviews). Kinda glad I'm not on the Round 2 panel that has to select between those and several other well-regarded titles. But one day, I would like to be a Round 1 judge again in this category. So many wonderful books.

Penny and Her Marble on the Easy Readers shortlist (how have I not reviewed this one?). With, of course, an Elephant & Piggie title, and several others that I look forward to checking out with my daughter. I see this category becoming increasingly important for reading suggestions for my household in the next couple of years, along with the Early Chapter Books category. 

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library and The 14 Fibs of Gregory K on the Middle Grade Fiction shortlist. I'm extra-happy for Gregory K author Greg Pincus, who is a real-world friend. 

The Young Adult Speculative Fiction list is chock full of books that I've been wanting to read, and one that I did read and enjoy: Dark Triumph from the His Fair Assassin series. 

But really, all of the lists are amazing. Need recommendations for nonfiction? YA graphic novels? Poetry? Book apps? The Cybils organization has your back. But don't take my word for it. Click through and see. You won't be disappointed. Happy New Year and Happy Cybils Day! 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate. 

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12. The Cybils Shortlists Are Nigh!

Cybils2013SmallTonight at midnight (Arizona time), the Cybils shortlists will be announced in all 11 categories (plus some sub-categories). Stay tuned at Cybils.com for the finalists. 

I truly believe that the Cybils shortlists are one of the finest resources that the Kidlitosphere has to offer. They are the result of > 50 round 1 bloggers (teachers, librarians, parents, authors, and more), who have read their way through more than 1300 nominated titles across the various categories. These tireless readers have winnowed each category down to a list of five to seven titles that believe are the most kid-friendly and well-written of the bunch. 

The Cybils shortlists are available by age range and genre (poetry, graphic novels, non-fiction, fiction, speculative fiction, book apps). Each list offers a wonderful starting place for anyone who is looking for great new books for a particular child. You can browse past shortlist by going to Cybils.com and following the links in the upper right-hand corner. For this year's lists, as I said, stay tuned. They are coming in just a few short hours. And they are fabulous! 

© 2013 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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13. Review of the Day: The Silver Six by AJ Lieberman

SilverSix Review of the Day: The Silver Six by AJ LiebermanThe Silver Six
By A.J. Lieberman
Illustrated by Darren Rawlings
Graphix (an imprint of Scholastic)
ISBN: 978-0-545-37097-4
Ages 9-12
On shelves now

Ambition. It’s not a term I usually associate with children’s graphic novels. Your average everyday children’s comic is not particularly ambitious. There are so few of them out there that you can’t make any grand sweeping statements about them, except maybe to stress that the difference between a GN for adults and a GN for kids is scope. While an actual prose novel for the kiddos can set its sights rather high (see: The Golden CompassHokey PokeyThe Book of Everything, etc.) children’s graphic novels have more of a tendency to limit themselves. They might encompass sprawling narratives over the course of several books (see: the Bone series, the Amulet series, etc.) but in a single book? Usually there’s not a lot you can say (unless you’re Shaun Tan, of course). So I would have thought prior to picking up Lieberman and Rawlings’ The Silver Six. What looks on the outside to simply be yet another tame adventure tale for the kiddos turns quickly into a story so packed with excitement that in any other author’s hand this could easily have been split into a trilogy (at the very least). With a large diverse cast, a relatable heroine, and a good old-fashioned evil corporation, Lieberman and Rawlings dare to dream big and it pays off. Like I say . . . ambitious!

Phoebe Hemingway’s been doing okay. Sure, her parents died in a mysterious crash about a year ago and ever since she’s been faking it with her robot Oliver, living on their own. But when child welfare services track her down and send her to the ultimate nasty futuristic orphanage she discovers she may be in grave dangerd. Fortunately she meets up with five other kids that share some shocking similarities to Phoebe. Like the fact that their parents all died in the same crash. Or that they all willed to their children the same moon registration forms. Now the team is on an epic quest to escape the orphanage, travel off the planet, dodge the bad guys, and find out the true conspiracy behind their parents’ deaths.

They say that people relate to action movies/books/comics etc. because immediate peril is instantly understandable and accessible to an audience. That said, you can write all the action thrillers in the world but unless you’ve a little additional heart it’s not going to have a lot of emotional impact. What makes “The Silver Six” a little different from the other books out there is that it isn’t afraid to go for the emotional heart more than once. So you’ve six orphans, and that’s fairly heartrending on paper. And you’ve one of the villains dealing with his own tragic past as well. But the moment that makes all the difference in the world comes when Phoebe must willingly give up the one last family member she has for the greater good. When you sacrifice the comic relief to stop the baddies, that’s tough enough. When you actually LIKE said comic relief? Pull out those hankies and blow.

And I love the way the book rewards rereadings. As you read through and pick apart the conspiracies, the first page is going to make a lot more sense. Throwaway moments, like when a character sees the initials S.O.S. scrawled on a wall, are explained at length later. Then there are the little in-jokes. My personal favorite was the tech geek who worries that he didn’t feed his fish that morning, with a glance later at the fish he’s since raised in their absence. Trust me, it makes sense in the book.

The art itself wasn’t a lure at first. Darren Rawlings hails from the world of animation and motion graphics, so there’s going to be a certain level of slickness to any enterprise he stands behind right from the start. I’ve no idea if Mr. Rawlings did his own inking and coloring (no one else is credited) but it’s a good job. Still, the first thing you’ll notice is how much the man has had to cram onto each and every page. I’m not just talking words but number of panels and even images that appear on those panels. You get the distinct impression over the course of this book that Rawlings would do best if the pages were long and extended as you might find in a Tintin or Little Nemo collection. Yet for all that, I never had the feeling that the pages felt cramped. The art packs a punch but at the same time it has a way of carrying you along. I wouldn’t give it to a novice GN reader, but for those kids with some experience it’s going to be enormously satisfying.

If there’s a problem with the book, and there are surprisingly few, I suppose it’s the ending. The big showdown with the baddie happens and then everything looks lost. Then we get a LOT of exposition and badda bing, badda boom, end of story. In a book of false climaxes and honestly awesome moments where the action rises and falls, this letdown of an ending momentarily sours an otherwise skillful outing. I won’t deny that there’s a sweet justice in the way the villain personally brings about his own destruction, but it’s odd watching your heroes stand idly by while the world comes around to their way of thinking.

Many is the parent who decides to buy their kids some comics for vacation only to find that within the first 20 minutes of the car trip their children have read every single one. If you want something with a little more meat that’s going to keep their attention for AT LEAST an hour, The Silver Six is your friend. Also recommended for fans of epic adventures, bored kids, comic lovers, boys, girls, anyone who likes snarky robots, and people who has to read these kiddos bedtime stories. A quick and exciting little package (the book literally begins with an explosion) with a surprising amount of depth. Nicely done.

On shelves now.

Source: Galley sent from publisher for review.

Like This? Then Try:

Other Blog Reviews:

Professional Reviews:

Videos: And here’s the book trailer -

The SILVER SIX – Book Trailer from Rawls on Vimeo.

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14. Report On Graphic Novels For Kids By Women

Gene Kannenberg, Jr., Director of ComicsResearch.org, did a presentation at last Wednesday night's  Gendered Publishing panel at UConn that had so much content that was new to me that I decided to give it its own post.

Unlike children's publishing, the comic book world that graphic novels grew out of was not dominated by women. In fact, Kannenberg said that it wasn't uncommon in days of old for women artists and colorists to get into comic books through the men in their lives, brothers or husbands who were already working for a comic book publisher.

The Graphic Women And Their Work

Marie Severin has great historic significance because she started working in comics in the 1950s and was with Marvel from the 1960s until 1996. She doesn't appear to have moved specifically into children's literature, though she was involved with the artwork for 25 of the 26 Muppet Babies comics, which would certainly seem to have been directed toward children. She was also involved with the Not Brand Echh series, which I remember.

Trina Robbins began as an underground cartoonist, according to Kannenberg. She moved to Marvel, also, working on comics aimed at young girls. She was one of the first cartoonists to do comic graphic novel adaptations. It appears that Robbins is also writing YA graphic novels with other artists doing the graphic element.

Francoise Mouly put in time at Marvel, too, starting out as a colorist. Kannenberg says she used her earnings to buy a press and start RAW, a comics anthology, with Art Spiegelman. While art editor of the New Yorker (a position I believe she still has), she and Spiegelman produced the Little Lit series for Harper Collins, and five years ago, she started TOON Books, which produces graphic novels for younger readers.

Guess what? Jill Thompson has worked for Marvel, too. She's also hit a number of other comics publishers, working on both Wonder Woman and Neil Gaiman's Sandman for DC. Her work specifically for children is The Scary Godmother, the first in a series.

Linda Medley is more of a DC person. She has written and illustrated a whole series of Castle Waiting books that have a fairy tale thing going on, though I can't tell if they're specifically for children. She's also supposed to have done some rewrites of the Wizard of Oz books.

Raina Telgemeier may be the best known of this group to those of us in children's literature because of her book, Smile. She's also adapted four books from The Baby-sitters Club series. Interesting point--She's the first of the women Kannenberg discussed who not only didn't have Marvel experience, she doesn't appear to have traditional comic book history at all.

Colleen A.F. Venable is a book designer for First Second Books, and has written a series of children's books. Again, this is a graphic artist who doesn't seem to have come out of the comic book publishing companies.

What, If Anything, Have We Learned?

  • Since attending last week's panel discussion, I've wondered if male comic book artists have also moved into children's books. 
  • Women (and probably men, too) appear now to be able to work with graphic novels for children without having first put in time with traditional comic publishing companies.

1 Comments on Report On Graphic Novels For Kids By Women, last added: 10/22/2013
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15. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home is a memoir told in the form of a graphic novel, a collage of comic artist Alison Bechdel's impressions of her life — from her childhood spent growing up in a funeral home to her college years discovering women and burying her closeted father. Bechdel layers her methodical drawings with precise, searching prose, [...]

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16. The 2013 Cybils Panelists Have Been Announced

Cybils2013SmallI'm pleased to announce that the lists of 2013 Cybils panelist were posted this morning. Here are direct links to each of the posts:

If you were selected for a panel this year, congratulations! Being a Cybils panelist is a lot of work (particulary for Round 1), but it's highly rewarding. You get to work with amazing people. You also get to select wonderful books that are well-written and kid-friendly, and spread the word about those books to the reading / blogging world. 

If you were not selected for a panel this year, we are sorry about that. There were so many amazing applicants this time around that it was impossible to put everyone on a panel. The category organizers worked hard to create a balance of new vs. returning participants, as well as to achieve a mix of skills and viewpoints on each panel. This inevitably meant that some people, even some people who have been great panelists in the past, had to sit out this year. We hope that you'll understand and try again.

We also humbly suggest that some categories (such as young adult fiction and fiction picture books) are more popular than others, and that applying in the nonfiction or apps categories next time might help (if you review in those areas). 

I've been tweeting the lists of panelists (the ones who are on Twitter), and will be creating Twitter lists for the panels, too. I hope you'll follow along. Many thanks to everyone who has helped to spread the word, on Twitter, Facebook, your blogs, etc. 

Over the next couple of weeks we will be posting updated category descriptions on the Cybils blog and getting ready behind the scenes. Nominations open October 1st. Start thinking of your favorite high-quality, kid-friendly titles in the above categories. It's Cybils time!

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17. Fairy Tale Comics, edited by Chris Duffy, with interview of contributor Bobby London

Once upon a time, First Second Books, creators of lovely graphic novels for kids, published a book called Nursery Rhyme Comics, and it was good.  Now they have  filled a felt need with a second book in the same vein--Fairy Tale Comics (coming Sept. 24), and it, too, is a book well worth adding to your child's library (after enjoying it yourself).

17 stellar cartoonists were gathered together to present, in graphic form, 17 fairy tales in kid-friendly fashion.  The majority are well-known stories (Red Riding Hood, Snow White), but several are from outside the European tradition (like The Boy Who Drew Cats, which you can preview here, and The Prince and the Tortoise).  There's a nicely balanced mix of girl and boy and animal heroes.  Some stick right to the traditional versions, others put little twists in (a female woodcutter, a boy who realizes he has no qualifications for king-ship, and refuses the crown, sparking a democratic revolution).   In short, there's lots of fun.

Graphic novels for kids are excellent offerings for any reluctant readers you might have on hand.  Some of the stories here have slightly denser text than others, but there's nothing here that's unsuitable for a young reader of 7 or 8, and many are great for emergent readers; that being said, even 13 year old boys will read it repeatedly (from personal observation) and grown-ups will enjoy it too.

This one is not just great for the reader, but also one for the budding graphic artist.  When you have 17 different artists all gathered together, it's a fantastic way for a kid to see and learn different approaches to telling a story visually and rendering reality in comic form.

And I really do think this particular collection of fairy tales serves a felt need.   Raising my boys, I've worried a bit about their fairy tale literacy--I've read stories out-loud to them, sure, but they've never voluntarily curled up with the Brothers Grimm, and so many of the fairy tale picture books are girl-oriented, and they weren't that interested.   However, when something is presented in comic book form, its boy appeal soars....and voila, they become familiar with the stories.   I hope there are more books to come!

It's my pleasure to be part of the Blog Tour for Fairy Tale Comics, and to have interviewed one of the contributors--Bobby London, whose story "Sweet Porridge!" kicks off the book.

Charlotte: So it's my understanding that Chris Duffy, the editor, read lots of fairy tales, picked the ones he thought would make a nice book with Calista Brill, the senior editor at First Second, and then found "cartoonists who would be a good match for particular stories"  (from this interview at the Westfield Comics Blog).

Bobby: More often than not, he'll just rely on his poker buddies. 

Charlotte: Were you surprised to be asked to illustrate this story?  Did you get a specific version of the story that specified "porridge," or did you get a chance to browse through versions with different food-stuffs (such as pasta)?   Had you in fact had any previous experience drawing porridge, or other gelatinous substances, that might explain why you were picked for this one?

Bobby: I was surprised to be asked to draw the lead story,  I'm usually found at the back of the bus,  when I'm not busy being thrown under it. As for sampling grits, rice krispies or any other forms of breakfast cereal for the story, no, I did not; I don't think the Grimm Brothers would appreciate me changing the title of their story to "Sweet Pasta"; we're talking about the Grimm Bros. here, not Carlo Collodi.

It's true  I had to be adept at drawing any number of funky substances to keep my spot in National Lampoon, but for Fairy Tale Comics I had to work very closely with Mark Martin, the talented cartoonist who translated my color layouts to Photoshop, to get precisely the right color of  porridge yellow. Too much green or brown and I would have proven I taught the guys at Ren & Stimpy everything they know. And, no, it wasn't type casting; I prefer to think was chosen for this project because of my literary heritage, i.e. my familiarity with the works of Cervantes, Rabelais and Jonathan Swift.

Charlotte: I've been reading up on your past history as a cartoonist....how you have moved from comic strips for grown-ups to children's media, and now to graphic illustration for kids.   Did you enjoy creating your version of the story?

Bobby: My past history is rather poorly represented in the media and generally in the context of the lives of other artists. My Wikipedia page has been vandalised - er, that is, I mean, "edited' and "rewritten" - over 2 dozen times by total strangers, fans of other cartoonists and people  to whom I owe large sums of money. For instance, nobody knows that I didn't start out as an adult, have been drawing cartoons well since age 4 and submitting to Highlights For Children at 12. Of course, I was attempting to illustrate the Kama Sutra as soon as puberty set in but I couldn't have made the segue to kids comics without having a successful career  illustrating for mainstream newspapers and magazines and I brought those characters with me to Nickelodeon Magazine via my comic strip, Cody. It's a very liberating experience drawing comics for kids.

Charlotte: When you were working on Sweet Porridge, did thoughts of the youthful age of the possible audience affect choices you were making, or did you let things just happen?

Bobby: No, I don't have to think about it. My girlfriend will attest to my true age level being about 6. When writing for adults, I often used to get tired of having to shock myself so this is a holiday. And, you know,  I get my nasty grownup ya-yas out drawing Dirty Duck so I don't feel compelled to sneak naughty messages into kid stuff, like some perverted creeps I know.

Charlotte: What will be next?   Do you think you'll do more graphic illustration for kids, maybe even your own graphic novel?

Bobby: I'm working on an autobiography but it's not a graphic novel, I couldn't bear drawing *some* people I've had to work with over the years ( I'm a cartoonist, not a Witch Doctor). Yes,  I'd love to write and illustrate a storybook or two if they'd still have me, and Chris Duffy has been nagging me to do a Cody graphic novel. Animation offers have come in, too. Believe me, it's a dream come true to still be in demand at age 63  but  I think I'll have to hire an assistant. If that means I'm a sellout, so be it, I also get the Senior Discount at Chili's.

Charlotte:  Thanks Bobby!  And good luck with the autobiography.

And thanks also to First Second for the review copy of Fairy Tale Comics.

2 Comments on Fairy Tale Comics, edited by Chris Duffy, with interview of contributor Bobby London, last added: 9/13/2013
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18. Required Reading: Best Unconventional Memoirs

In an age when everyone and their niece has written a tell-all book, when even fictional characters like Ron Burgundy are penning the stories of their lives, how does a memoir stand out among its peers? What qualities make it like nothing we've seen before? Sometimes truly extraordinary experiences can launch a memoir into uncharted [...]

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19. Why Kick-Ass Kicks the Avengers’ Butts: Kick-Ass (2010) Review

Stars: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicolas Cage

Inspired by comic books, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), an ordinary teenager, decides to become Kick-Ass, a masked vigilante and soon discovers he’s not the only crime fighter roaming the streets of New York, when he encounters the far more competent father-daughter team of Big Daddy (Nicolas Cage) and Hit Girl (Chloe Grace Moretz) and the ultra-flashy Red Mist (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). However, when Kick-Ass comes to the attention of Frank D’Amico, a local mafia boss, he becomes drawn into a world far more dangerous than he ever imagined and must become the superhero he dreams of being or die trying.

In the last week, I have watched two superhero films: The Avengers and Kick-Ass; and although Kick-Ass didn’t make even a fraction of what The Avengers made at the box office (at the time of writing, The Avengers is the third-highest grossing film of all time), as far as I’m concerned, it is by far the superior film.

While all hugely successful, the recent string of movies based on Marvel comics has been rather hit and miss. Iron Man was excellent (with one of the most memorable endings of a superhero movie ever), as was X-Men: First Class, but some of the other films have felt more like extended television episodes than proper movies in their own right (I’m thinking of you, Iron Man 2). The Avengers sits somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

In spite of taking way too long to get going (largely due to the fact that each of the four main superheroes must be introduced one by one and given roughly equal screen-time – I’m guessing this was some sort of contractual thing), when The Avengers does finally get to the point, the action scenes are pretty awesome, and there are a number of moments in Joss Whedon’s script that are laugh-aloud funny. Yet, in spite of the fact that Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk and Captain America are all fighting to save the planet on which I live from an alien invasion, at no point in the film’s 143 minute run time did I actually care as to whether or not they were going to succeed. This is because, in spite of having the greatest physical goal imaginable, none of the Avengers have anything at stake emotionally. Saving the world is just a job for them and they have nothing to prove or change in their lives. It’s the “why” that makes us care about a character, be it saving the world in order to ask out the girl/guy of their dreams or killing the bad guy in order to avenge the death of a loved one. You can have all the wisecracks and special effects in the world, but without a good “why”, a movie is nothing more than a hollow shell destined to be forgotten as soon as you leave the cinema. And this is why Kick-Ass outdoes The Avengers.

Part teen angst comedy, part ultra-violent superhero parody, with Kick-Ass we are presented with a superhero it is impossible not to like. Unlike the Avengers, Dave Lizewski has no special powers or skills, but he still goes out and fights crime because of his twin desires to make a difference to the world and to get the girl of his dreams to notice him. Those are goals that ordinary people can understand and as such, we want him to win. In fact, every major character in Kick-Ass is motivated by something more complex than “I’m doing this because that’s just what I do,” and as a result, we want them to get the happy endings that they so richly deserve.

That’s not to say that happy endings are inevitable for these characters. Mark Millar’s graphic novel upon which the movie is based is actually pretty bleak and depressing and does not deliver on this front, leaving some readers (i.e. me) feeling bummed out at the end of reading it. Nevertheless, bleak and depressing does not a successful Hollywood blockbuster make and screenwriter/director Matthew Vaughn (who, incidentally, also co-wrote and directed X-Men: First Class) has the good sense to replace the comic’s loneliness and despair with optimism and hope, improving the story dramatically and turning it into a feel-good film that will leave you grinning for days after watching it.

Verdict: As well as providing Nicolas Cage with his best role in years, this tale of an underdog with good intentions is one of the best superhero films of the last decade and runs circles around mega-hits such as The Avengers.

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20. Rilla Goes to Oz


Illustration by John R. Neill

I loved the Oz books as a kid. Loooooved them. Collected the whole series, the Baum-authored ones plus a couple of the Ruth Plumly Thompson sequels, and enlisted my father’s help to track down the best editions, the white-bordered oversized paperbacks with John R. Neill illustrations.


I reread the entire series regularly all through high school and even on college vacations. Dorothy, Ozma, Tik-Tok, Scraps, the Hungry Tiger, the Glass Cat, Betsy Bobbin, Billina, Polychrome, General Jinjur, the Shaggy Man, Button-Bright: this astonishing array of lively characters peopled my imagination and taught me a great deal about diversity, varying points of view, and fun. They were an outspoken bunch, these Oz folks. They had strong opinions; their perspectives clashed; they worked through conflicts and celebrated one another’s quirks. I adored them. Still do.

Strangely, the Oz books never seemed to take off for my kids as read-alouds. Baum’s prose is, I confess, a bit arch, sometimes saccharine. His genius was for character and plot, not lyricism. My older three girls went through waves of reading the series on their own, but they didn’t seem to catch Oz fever with the intensity I had.

Enter Rilla. Well, first enter Eric Shanower and Skottie Young, who are bringing the Oz books to a new generation of readers via truly gorgeous graphic novel adaptations published by Marvel. Oz, overflowing as it is with colorful, outlandish characters, was made for graphic depictions. Eric Shanower (who has become a friend of mine through Comic-Con and SCBWI) is a true Ozian—why, his own press is called Hungry Tiger, and his contributions to Oz literature and fandom are staggering. His adaptations are faithful, deft, and affectionate. And Skottie Young’s art, while a departure from the John R. Neill images burned into my brain as canon, is wholly delightful. It’s clear he is having tremendous fun bringing these creatures to life.

I’ve mentioned before that Rilla, as a reader, is drawn to books with a heavy illustration-to-text ratio. She prefers Brambly Hedge to Little House, for example; those gorgeous, intricately detailed drawing of tree-stump pantries and attics can occupy her for a full afternoon. She’ll spend an hour talking to me about Eric Carle’s techniques. For her, art is the magic; an accompanying plotline is simply a nice bonus.


We brought Eric and Skottie’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz home from SDCC last month, and Rilla—well, you’d have thought we gave her an actual trip to the Land of Oz, she was so excited. It’s the longest, hardest book she has read on her own. Oh yes, it’s a graphic novel, but the text is quite sophisticated: there’s some nice meaty vocabulary in the dialogue. Baum didn’t talk down to his young readers, and neither does Eric Shanower. (And of course I’ve written volumes before about the excellent reading skills imparted by comics: there’s a lot of complex decoding going on as a young reader navigates those panels.)

“Bad news,” she told me mournfully one day. “I finished the best book in the world.”

“Guess what,” I whispered. “There are more.”

Her gasp, her shining eyes: no Princess of Oz was more radiant.

The next week’s worth of bedtimes saw her poring over The Marvelous Land of Oz, one of my favorite books in the series (both the original and the graphic adaptation). Every morning, she narrated the previous night’s events to me, dancing with suspense as the story unfolded, and belly-laughing over the ending.


Then came Ozma of Oz, a book about which my deep affection renders me nearly incoherent. Even that sentence is on shaky grammatical territory. Imagine a lot of squealing noises and some Rilla-esque bouncing around. I mean, I mean, Tik-Tok and the Wheelers! The lunch-pail trees! The loathsome, fabulous Princess Langwidere and her collection of interchangeable heads. SHE WANTS DOROTHY’S HEAD FOR THE COLLECTION, YOU GUYS. Come on. And then the Nome King and his high-stakes guessing game (shades of Heckedy Peg), and Billina the Hen’s surprising trump card. Oh, oh, oh.

Don’t tell Rilla, but I’d already given a copy of Ozma to my goddaughter, Vivi, whose mother is, if anything, an even bigger Oz fanatic than I am. She even looks like Ozma. (Kristen, why why why didn’t we ever go as Ozma and Polychrome for Halloween?)

polychrome meets ozma

Polychrome, the Rainbow’s Daughter, meets Princess Ozma. Illustration by John R. Neill.

Rilla hasn’t met Polychrome yet. She will swoon, mark my words. The Rainbow’s Daughter? Polly of the swirling robes and floaty hair? Rilla’s a goner. Like Ozma, she’ll make Polly’s acquaintance in The Road to Oz. I can’t wait to see what Skottie Young does with Polychrome and the Shaggy Man. Both characters are bubbling over with the whimsy he captures so well.


But first comes Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. Even for Baum, this is a bizarre tale. Dorothy gets caught in a San Francisco earthquake and falls all the way to the center of the earth, where weird vegetable people (as in, they grow on vines) called the Mangaboos are on the verge of executing her when, whew!, who should float down in his balloon but Dorothy’s old acquaintance, the Wizard?


After that comes The Emerald City of Oz. Rilla and I may not be able to wait for the collected edition; we might have to start picking up the floppies from our local comic shop.


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21. Fairy Tale Comics

Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told by Extraordinary Cartoonists
Edited by Chris Duffy
First Second, on shelves September 24, 2013
review copy provided by the publisher

From the same editor who brought us Nursery Rhyme Comics: 50 Timeless Rhymes from 50 Celebrated Cartoonists, we now have this fabulous collection of Fairy Tale Comics!

17 different artists, 17 different stories from the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, Bre'r Rabbit, 1001 Nights, and Japanese, English and Russian Folktales.

Readers in my classroom will recognize the work of Raina Telgemeier (Drama and Smile) and Charise Mericle Harper (Fashion Kitty versus the Fashion Queen). Probably 6 of the 17 stories will be familiar.

So, it's safe to say that this book will introduce readers (in a fun way) to many new graphic artists and many new fairy tales! Win-Win!

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22. A Smash Is Born

Editor's note: Chris Bolton is not only a former Powell's employee, he was also once the primary writer for this blog. So we are particularly proud today to post the following essay by our former coworker and friend as he promotes the publication of his first book. Congratulations, Chris! As is so often the case [...]

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23. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Fun Home, in concert with Craig Thompson's Blankets, was one of the works that proved to my doubting eyes that graphic novels could reach heights every bit as poetic, moving, and magical as the finest prose. Darkly funny but wholly sincere, the story of a young woman coming to terms both with herself and her [...]

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24. Marbles by Ellen Forney

In Marbles, Ellen Forney explores the relationship between mental illness and creativity. A working cartoonist in Seattle, she is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and must decide whether to accept treatment (and risk sacrificing her art) or continue self-medicating and hope for the best. Marbles is a satisfying read, both as a personal memoir and as [...]

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25. Calling Dr. Laura by Nicole Georges

In this graphic memoir, Nicole Georges shares how she went from believing her father was dead throughout her childhood to visiting a psychic who debunks the family myth to eventually calling "tough love" talk radio host Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Additionally, Georges includes memories from her childhood regarding her mother's marriages and live-in boyfriends as a [...]

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