OK, it’s been a while, but I’ve had time to make it through the rest of my Kids Read Comics! stash, and I’m ready to share.
Again, I know it’s the day after comic book day, but this will give your retailer time to look into ordering for you for next week. Or you can just go online and buy them direct from the creator in some cases.
First up is “My Sister, the Freak” vol. 1 by Dani Jones. I loved the playful, cartoonish art, which really seemed to fit the characters. And I love the coloring technique. I don’t know if Jones pulls it off on paper or in Photoshop, but the roughed-in style and subtle use of pattern really make this a stand-out book visually.
Of course, pretty pictures wouldn’t be worth anything without a good story, and “My Sister, the Freak” has one. Allison and Mary seem like perfectly normal siblings. Little sister Mary has a wild, imaginative streak, and Allison shows your typical teenage resentment when she’s forced to babysit. But when aliens come calling, it turns out one of the sisters is not who she appears to be.
So with great art, great characters and an adorable cat named Captain Bacon, you can’t go wrong.
I also picked up Jones’ “Frosty the Gourdman,” a one-shot storybook she did with her sister, Nicole. It starts out paralleling the “Frosty the Snowman” story but with pumpkins, then takes some macabre twists. It definitely doesn’t end like you’d expect and is a cool fractured fairytale.
Next is “Little Guardians: The Harvest — Book 1″ by Lee Cherolis and Ed Cho, an exciting switched-at-birth story set in a medieval-ish fantasy village. The daughter of the town’s mystic guardian and the son of a local shopkeeper get switched by a well-meaning doctor. Fast-forward a few years, and Idem doesn’t seem to have what it takes to take over for his “father,” and Subria is stuck working overtime in the shop while her “brother” wins his father’s favor simply for being a boy.
But with the arrival of some demons, Subria’s guardian spirit and a mysterious guardian from another land, an adventure unfolds. Cho nails the family dynamics in his writing, and Cherolis, who was at KRC, has an open, appealing art style. He does great with facial expressions.
“Reading With Pictures” vol. 1 is an anthology with dozens of all-ages stories by creators of all levels of renown. It’s published by the Reading With Pictures nonprofit, which advocates using comics in classrooms to promote literacy. Like all anthologies, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, though nothing I’d say is “bad.” Highlights include a “G-Man” story from Chris Giarruso, “Roboy Red” by John Gallagher and Rich Faber, “Mail Order Ninja” by Josh Elder and Tim Smith 3, and “Unshelved” by Gene Ambaum and Bill Barnes. Next up for the group is “The Graphic Textbook,” which will be designed to fit into curricula and will have an extensive teachers guide. It’s due next spring.
I didn’t pick up anything by Scott Chantler at KRC because I already had his stuff on my shelf at home. But I did get a chance to chat with him a while. And since I haven’t plugged his stuff on the blog in a long time, now’s as good a time as any. I first discovered him with his great fantasy adventure series “Three Thieves.” There are two books currently available, with a third due in September. It follows a girl on a quest to find her kidnapped brother and includes lots of derring-do and colorful art.
But what really got me was his recent “Two Generals,” a touching biographical comic novel about his grandfather, who served in Canada’s Highland Light Infantry division in World War II. Most notably, his group was involved with the Allied invasion of Normandy, which makes up the bulk of the story. It’s a compelling bit of history for older readers, thoughtfully told and carefully illustrated with a great sense of color. It shows the horrors of war without being too graphic, but also tells a highly personal tale between Law Chantler and his best friend, Jack Chrysler.