Malcom is a genius, but if he lets people know how smart he is, he’d miss out on being a kid. So he hides his intellect from everyone but his dog, Chad. He taught Chad to talk, turned his mom’s vacuum into a shrinking machine, and his time machine is in the woods near the rocket he and Chad are working on. Mal needs all his smarts (and a few of his inventions) to finish his homework, an essay on what he wants to be when he grows up.
Why I picked it up: There’s a dinosaur chasing a kid on the cover of this graphic novel.
Why I finished it: While playing kickball in gym class, the girl Malcom likes has no mercy when he is at the plate, and serves up a flaming dodge bomb.
I'd give it to: Drew, whose twins are too young for comics' potty-mouthed genius, Barry Ween, but who will need a graphic novel to read to them soon so that they’ll develop into a big geek like their dad.
Just when you thought you knew all there was to know about Scott Pilgrim comes Scott Pilgrim Color Hardcover Volume 1: Precious Little Life! The first in a series of brand-new hardcover editions, this remastered, 6”x9” hardcover presents Scott’s first “evil ex” battle as you’ve never seen it before — in full-color! Plus, previously unpublished extras and bonus materials make this mighty tome one that’s required reading for Scottaholics everywhere! This is the first time the popular Scott Pilgrim comics have been released in full color. The entire series will be getting this revamp, with the second volume to follow in November. The Scott Pilgrim vs. the World film adaptation is a genuine cult hit, and is currently airing in regular rotation on cable television.
Fangbone, a barbarian boy from another world, gets a package from home containing the egg of a White Titan Razor Dragon. He and the other students in Miss Gillian’s 3rd grade class decide to try to hatch it. But keeping the egg safe and warm cuts into the time they have to work on their science pageant project. To make things worse, enemies -- magical ones sent by the Venomous Drool as well as elementary school bullies -- attack from all sides. The kids fail to realize the egg might be a trick by Drool’s minions. But Fangbone and his super-stinky feet will probably be able to save the day.
Why I picked it up: I love dragons, and it doesn’t take much to convince me to read a book that might feature one. Plus, I really enjoyed Fangbone’s first adventure and wanted to see if Rex kept up the silliness and excitement in volume two.
Why I finished it: Rex’s off-beat sense of humor. My favorite scene is the one where Bill, Fangbone’s friend, is trying to explain the concept of a pet. To demonstrate that pets are fun, Bill makes his cat dance along as he sings “Who Let the Dogs Out?” (It reminded me of doing the hokey-pokey with a dog I used to have. She loved the “turn yourself about” part. Really.) And Rex doesn’t drop the joke there. “Who Let the Dogs Out?” shows up two more times in the story.
I'd give it to: Alex often feels frustrated by his ADHD. He’ll love that Bill also takes medication for his, and that even though the other kids in class 3G often feel like “weirdo losers,” they work together to defeat evil.
Eight-year-old Eugene McGillicudy is an imaginative boy who loves comic books and superheroes. Eugene also has his very own supersecret superhero alter ego named Captain Awesome. MI-TEE!
When the McGillicudy family relocates to a new town called Sunnyview, Eugene starts a new school, finds a best friend, and even finds time to defend his toys from his two-year-old little sister, Molly! Luckily for Sunnyview, Captain Awesome is there to protect the town (and the universe) from a hilarious cast of comical “bad guys.”
“Kirby’s funny and engaging third-person narration and O’Connor’s hilarious illustrations make the book easily accessible and enormously appealing, particularly to readers who have recently graduated to chapter books. But it is the quirky, mischievous Eugene that really makes this book special. His energy and humor are contagious, and his dogged commitment to his superhero alter ego is enough to make anyone a believer. As Captain Awesome would say, this kid is 'MI-TEE!'" — Kirkus Reviews
In this memoir about her mother, cartoonist Alison Bechdel tells her own story while simultaneously exploring their relationship. She also comments on the nature of memoirs and diaries and on what it means to capture a life in words (and pictures).
This book covers a lot of ground in a way that could perhaps only be done in a graphic novel, and expresses both intellectual understanding and the raw emotions at the heart of the most elemental human relationship.
Why I picked it up: With the possible exception of Doonesbury, no other comic strip has drawn me into the lives of its characters more than Bechdel’s Dykes to Watch Out For. Her dialogue is brilliant and funny, but often her characters express more with a glance or gesture. As with her earlier book about her father, I wanted to see her apply this talent to a story of her own life.
Why I finished it: In the first chapter there is a two-page spread. Partially it is an illustration of Bechdel’s drawing board with five photographs laid out on it. But among the pile of pens, brushes, and erasers there is a comic sequence of the infant Alison held by her mother, looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. The voice of psychoanalyst Donald Winnicott explains how, after birth, the mother experiences a period where “she is the baby and the baby is her.” And on the same page, Bechdel continues a present-day conversation with her mother, pausing to observe how the transcendent often creeps into everyday life. Watching these multiple narrative threads unfold in a single story space was absolutely enthralling.
I'd give it to: My friend Recco complains that he has very little to stimulate his mind since he graduated with a degree in psychology. He will enjoy wandering through Winnicott’s theories of child psychology and the growth of the individual, and appreciate Bechdel’s meaningful application of these to her life.
130 essays covering graphic novels and core comics series that form today's canon for academic coursework and library collections, with a focus on the hero/superhero genre.
A "first" in the field, this brand new Critical Survey series focuses on all aspects of the graphic novels format, aiming to establish it as an important academic discipline and research topic in libraries. Designed for academic institutions, high schools, and public libraries, the series provides unique insight into the stories and themes expressed in historic and current landscape of the graphic novel medium.
Also in this series: Independent and Underground Classics; Manga; Thematic Overviews.
“This impeccable reference work will prove useful to librarians and fans wanting to know what to buy as well as for scholars studying the medium.” – Library Journal, June 2012
The complete adventures of Fat Freddie, Phineas, and Freewheelin' Frank, stoners extraordinaire. Includes color and black & white comics, along with miscellaneous art, excluding most of the Fat Freddie's Cat strips (they have their own omnibus).
Why I picked it up: When I was twelve my parents went to Europe for a week, leaving me in the care of a young woman in her twenties. She wasn't the best choice. One weekend she took me into New York City, and we hung out in her boyfriend's apartment. While they got stoned I read his stack of underground comics. These were my favorite.
Why I finished it: The magic of Shelton's work is that you can never tell what's going to happen next. (I'm guessing he didn't know either.) "Grass Roots" begins with the boys looking for a new home after being evicted for nonpayment of rent. They move into a haunted house, interrupt a robbery, walk onto the set of a film shoot, and find a lifetime's supply of cocaine. And that's just the prologue. This epic story ranges through topics that include feminism, politics, commercial development, and (as always) sex and drugs.
I'd give it to: Keith, who also never became a stoner, either, but would enjoy the rampant silliness. I know he'll share it with his daughters a little earlier than his wife Liz would prefer. But who wouldn't love the part when the boys wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of a police raid and throw out all their drugs in a panic, only to find that all the noise came from their parrot?
Collecting issues from the DC Comics: The New 52 event, Wonder Woman must protect mankind from the warfare of the Gods spilling over into the mortal world.
Hippolyta, queen of the Amazons, has kept a secret from her daughter all her life-and when Wonder Woman learns who her father is, her life will shatter like brittle clay. The only one more shocked than Diana by this revelation? Bloodthirsty Hera-so why is her sinister daughter, Strife, so eager for the truth to be told? Superstar writer Brian Azzarello creates a new direction for one of DC's best-known heroes, with spectacular art by Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins!
"This is clear storytelling at its best....It's an intriguing concept and easy to grasp. The reader doesn't need to know that much about Wonder Woman because she is, well, Wonder Woman." - The New York Times
"Azzarello is...rebuilding the mythology of Wonder Woman." - Maxim
The second volume of charming and funny comics about the artists' daily life originally featured on the Johnny Wander website.
Why I picked it up: I love the website, and picked up the book at ECCC so I could get an autograph and support the arts!
Why I finished it: I love the silliness and joy in "integral first step." I totally understand the gross feeling conveyed in "subway fingers." and I think I sent "what if rook could talk" to every cat owner I know.
I'd give it to: Kelsey, who just finished her art degree, for its fun and optimistic look at living a creative life, complete with cats.
Scott’s football career is over, and his longtime girlfriend just dumped him. With no other options, he heads to Japan to join a sumo stable at the invitation of the owner, who saw him play football while visiting the U.S.
Soon he is eating heavily to add weight. Until he advances beyond beginner status, he must cook and serve the higher-ranked sumo. After months of training Scott is lonely and still not fully committed to his new career. He must be successful at his next attempt to advance in rank or he will be sent home as a failure. The stable manager’s daughter is the only one there who befriends him.
Scott enters his most important sumo match, knowing that it might be his last.
Why I picked it up: When I visited Japan for three weeks as a boy, I remember watching whale-sized men in what I thought were hilarious diapers grapple with each other on TV. I admit I was watching as much in amazement at the man-thongs as the wrestling, but I have come to appreciate the power, strategy and speed of these 500-pound men. Plus, I heard a story on NPR recently about how sumo stables are having a hard time finding recruits because younger people are more interested in video games and music.
Why I finished it: The artwork is spare but powerful nonetheless. Pham will go ten pages without dialogue and let his artwork speak for him through small details like the shape of an eyebrow or the condition of Scott’s topknot.
I'd give it to: My father, who watched the sumo matches with me. He’d love that the action is so well-drawn that it appears to be in motion, and conveys the sudden power of a five-second match.
War is tearing Barsoom (Mars) apart. The crown city of Helium is under attack by the Zodangans, who mean to have the entire planet for their own. In desperation, Princess Dejah Thoris goes on a mission to save Helium. She is shot down and then imprisoned by the Tharks, a warlike, green, four-armed race of merciless fighters that value only martial abilities.
Meanwhile, John Carter, a Virginia gentleman and Civil War veteran, is attempting to mine for gold. On the run after defending the honor of the South (in an incident which resulted in the deaths of several men), he seeks refuge in a cave and is unexpectedly transported to Mars. A prisoner of the Tharks, he quickly becomes their champion because of his superhuman strength and fearlessness. He becomes a friend to Tars Tarkas, the Thark chieftan, and soon finds himself entangled in the arms of Dejah Thoris and her quest to save Helium.
Contains issues #1 - #9 of Warlord of Mars.
Publisher’s Rating: Rated M for Mature Audiences.
Why I picked it up: I read Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter of Mars series back in the 1980’s. After checking out the failed Disney movie adaptation, I hoped comics could do better.
Why I finished it: The backstory of Tars Tarkas that starts this book brought depth to this story. Dejah Thoris is drawn as a buxom woman who is not fond of wearing much more than pasties and a bikini bottom. She is perky to the point of defying gravity, so courageous she goes on a suicide mission, and principled in her relationships, which makes the task of winning her affections difficult for John Carter. It is enough to charge any nerdish reader’s imagination (no comment as to whether I am including myself in that or not).
I'd give it to: My wife, whose grandmother worked for several years as a personal assistant to Edgar Rice Burroughs and his wife at their house in the Hollywood Hills. It’s a tenuous tie-in, but that little piece of family history may get her to try this book.
Joe Samiano spent four years working his way up in professional wrestling, developing his mic skills, fitness, and his signature move, the Samiano Dive. His first night in SPKO, the top wrestling league, doesn’t go as planned, though, because of a tough bout with Prince Swagger. Joe’s amazing heart, and the fact that he made Swagger look good, earn him the respect of his fellow wrestlers and the fans.
At his first Fandemonium, Joe doesn’t sign many autographs, and has trouble selling his action figures. Fans seem more focused on the four-way cage match for the championship. Then a pro baseball retiree joins SPKO and gets a little too mouthy, so Joe calls him out in front of the press. Before they square off, Joe must face The Mighty Monolith.
Why I picked it up: Hellboy seems to have sent me on a wrestling comic kick.
Why I finished it: If he were real, I’d be a big fan of the mysterious, masked wrestler, The Other, whose hair makes him seem supernatural.
I'd give it to: Brian, my friend in middle school. Kicking other guys in the testicles was his favorite move (and one I used against him a few times), and he’d enjoy this book because there’s plenty of that and other dirty moves. And my grandfather, who believes everything he sees on WWE Raw because I want to see if he thinks Joe is real, too.