June is looking to be a record-breaking month here at Graphic Novel Universe. Here’s the first part of what I’ve read this month. More to come!
(All works with a + are part of the ongoing SXSW 2014 Starter Pack review series.)
+ The Antler Boy and Other Stories (2012) Jake Parker (mrjakeparker.com)
Nice digital collection of stories from Jake Parker, many previously published in Flight, Flight Explorer and other publications. The most famous character in this collection is undoubtedly Missle Mouse, but the collection also includes two stories each featuring Hugo Earhart and Lucy Nova, as well as several other gems. (My favorites are "The Robot and the Sparrow" and "The Antler Boy.")
Many of these stories are sweet and touching (maybe too much so at times), yet Parker's imagination is the prime mover in this volume, reflected in some excellent artwork.
The Antler Boy and Other Stories was originally published (I believe self-published) as a hardcover print edition, but now - as far as I know - is only available in digital format.
Okay, Andy (J 2014) Maxwell Eaton (Blue Apple Books)
Our library system has this book classified as an easy reader, but I'm calling it a graphic novel easy reader, since all of the pages consist of one or two panels with speech balloons. The drawings are cute (This is, after all, by the same guy that gave us The Flying Beaver Brothers series.) and the story is sometimes funny, but it's also quite tiresome. (Kids will definitely have plenty of opportunities to learn the word "okay.") Kids might enjoy this once, but I doubt it would hold up to repeat readings.
Herobear and the Kid, Vol. 1: The Inheritance (J 2003/2014) Mike Kunkel (KaBOOM!)
Please read my full review at The Comics Alternative.
The Great American Dust Bowl (J NF 2013) Don Brown (HMH Books for Young Readers)
We’re (thankfully) seeing more and more outstanding graphic novel non-fiction books for kids these days, and The Great American Dust Bowl is no exception. Here’s a prime example of how the graphic novel format can help young readers understand why an important historical event - the Dust Bowl of the 1930s - was both important and devastating. Excellent artwork from Brown.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (1981/2011) Chris Claremont, John Byrne (Marvel)
What a disappointment. This collection should really be called Days of Future Past and Other Stories, since the Days of Future Past storyline only consists of two issues, the other four ranging from a mind-numbingly boring “history of the X-Men” to an Alien rip-off story. So often Claremont’s narration boxes verbally describe exactly what we’re seeing visually that I wanted to scream.
The Zita the Spacegirl series - Ben Hatke (First Second)
Zita the Spacegirl (J 2011) 5/5
Legends of Zita the Spacegirl (J 2012) 5/5
The Return of Zita the Spacegirl (J 2014) 4/5
Derek and I will be interviewing Ben Hatke for The Comics Alternative next week, so I’ll provide a direct link to that interview then. But in the meantime, as you can tell from the ratings numbers, I highly recommend the Zita books.