29 February 2012

29 February 2012–Local Shop’s Selections (Individual Issues)


So, here in the Grand Valley, We’ve got one true comics shop in town. Steve and his brother Rob have been plugging away, making sure they provide us with the latest and greatest possible. Anyways, Steve posts a weekly list of new titles that have caught his attention. Normally, I don’t post about individual issues, but Steve’s been in this business so long, I trust his selections much more than just about anyone else.

If you want to see this week’s Top Picks, you can view it here. Also, if you’re in Grand Junction, stop by and let them know I sent ya.

Top5 Comics can be found here:

Top 5

1938 N 1st St Ste 7, Grand Junction, CO (970) 245-2122 (Corner of 1st St. and Orchard Ave. right across from City Market)

27 February 2012

27 February 2012–An Isabel Soto two-fer


Images courtesy  Capstone Press

Written by: Agnieszka Biskup, Illustrated by Roger Stewart
Capstone Press, 2012
ISBN: (Pyramids) 978-1-4296-7992-3, (Pirates!) 978-1-4296-7991-6
$7.95 (paperback), Ages 8 - 14

Intrepid History/Anthropology researcher Isabel Soto is back in two new adventures for late elementary early middle school kids. In Egypt’s Mysterious Pyramids, “Izzy” as she likes to be called, uses her time travel device the W.I.S.P. to venture back into ancient Egypt to try and find a new pyramid. Along the way, she speaks with architects and laborers about the how and why the last remaining wonders of the ancient world were built.

In Captured by Pirates!, “Izzy” ends up on an English ship that is attacked by pirates, and is subsequently captured along with the ship’s doctor. During her enforced “stay”, she learns all about the benefits and drawbacks of being a pirate. While there was good money to be made, it  was often a short, brutal life.

Isabel is a very affirmative role model for young ladies, and there’s enough action to keep the boys interested as well. The subject matter is well researched, and presented in such a way as to be enjoyable without being dry or pedantic. Biskup is no stranger to these types of books, and her writing style is engaging and flows easily, while Stewart’s artwork goes hand in hand with the story to really bring the information alive and emphasize the grandeur of the subject.

Final Thoughts
The Isabel Soto series is a fantastic series that really strives to present history and archeology in a fun and inviting way that kids who are starting to learn about these subjects will enjoy greatly. The character of Soto is smart, friendly, tough, and a definite role-model to look up to. My only question is how does “Izzy” manage to warp into these areas without freaking the locals out? Other than that minor quibble, I cannot recommend this series enough. Libraries really need at least two copies of each of these books, because they’re going to be seeing a lot of use. 

23 February 2012

23 February 2012 - Comics in the News

So I was reading our local paper today (The Daily Sentinel)and on the front page was a story about how this guy in Texas got his late, great-uncle's comic book collection. Yesterday individual comics were sold act auction for a combined total of close to3.5 MILLION dollars. Stand outs included Detective Comics #27, where Batman debuted. It sold for $523,000, while Action Comics #1 sold for approximately $299,000. Not bad for the debut of Superman. Batman's self-titled first issue went for around $275,000, and Captain America #2, With Adolph Hitler on the cover fetched nearly $114,000. All told, 227 individual comics were auctioned off for a total amount of $3,466,264.

That's a lot of money.

Now, I don't want anyone running out at starting a huge collection of comic books just so you can sit on it for 60 years and then get rich. Doesn't work that way - not any more. Instead, you should go out and support the writers and illustrators of today's (and tomorrow's) works. Drop them a line if you can, go to conventions, SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL COMIC BOOK STORE. Talk to your local librarian, as comics and graphic novels are exploding onto shelves as we speak. Don't let these people's hard work and effort go to waste.

If you're really feeling up to it, make your own.

Then, if you do, send me a copy (imagine me with a big happy grin on my face).

22 February 2012

22 February 2012–Random Musings


Morning Surprise

So, I woke up this morning, and while checking my email, I came across an ad for Zig and Wikki *in* the Cow, which I had reviewed the other day. As I was scrolling through the email, I came across this:


It took me a minute to realize that I was reading my own words. Then it hit me… I’m being used in promotional materials! I was so excited, I did a happy dance right then and there. Seriously though, Toon Books is on to something great in general. I’ve long thought that emergent readers can benefit the most from graphic novels, and the folks at Toon are keyed into that as well.

I’m also on Goodreads and Facebook (shameless self plug)


Jimmy Gownley announces new Tumblr page

It was with a bit of shock that I discovered that Jimmy Gownley was ending his Amelia Rules series recently, but he did announce that he’s working on other projects. In fact, he just opened a new Tumblr page to showcase some of the things he did (and plans to do). Regardless of what he comes up with next, it’s going to be awesome.

Check out his Tumblr page here.


Denver Comic Con

Don’t forget! If you live in or around the Rocky Mountains (Or you’re headed that way this summer), The First Annual Denver Comic Con is happening this summer! June 15 – 17 in beautiful Downtown Denver, and NO it is not going to be in some cramped hotel ballroom, They’ve got the Convention Center. I’ve been there, it’s huge. It’s shaping up to be an awesome run-up to SDCC and Dragon*Con. For more information, hit their link here, and tell ‘em Nathan at the Graphic Novel Reader sent ya.


(This is an update of an earlier post, added some more pics, and the Denver Comic Con article)

20 February 2012

20 February 2012–Zig and Wikki *in* the Cow


Image courtesy Toon Books

Written by Nadja Spiegelman, Illustrated by Trade Loeffler
Toon Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-9351779-15-3
$12.95, Ages: 8 - 10

Zig the space alien is worried about his pet fly, who is not acting normal. Wikki is jealous. When they discover that Zig’s pet is homesick, they fly back to Earth to help Zig’s fly feel better. However, when they arrive back on Earth, that’s when the adventure really gets under way, starting by Zig and Wikki getting eaten by a cow!

Spiegelman and Loeffler do a fantastic job with the subject matter, namely the standard ecological cycle and a cow’s digestive system. There’s just enough low-brow humor to titillate target audiences, but nothing anyone would get upset over. Loeffler’s artwork is clean, fun, and easy to understand without being too graphic, and Spiegelman’s pacing cleverly disguises the fact that while fun, readers are actually learning a surprisingly large amount of information.

Final Thoughts
Zig and Wikki is shaping up to be a fantastic series that imparts a lot of useful information disguised as a fun story. The artwork is crisp and enjoyable, and a science class would be hard pressed to find a better example of the ecological cycle that is so engaging. Parents might not be so quick to embrace the series, but kids will find this one they want to read over and over again.

20 February 2012–Chick & Chickie: Play All Day!


Image Courtesy Toon Books

Written and Illustrated by Claude Ponti
Toon Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-935179-14-6
$12.95 Ages: 5 - 7

Chick and Chickie are two chicks who are best friends looking to have fun. Starting out by making scary masks, the manage to scare each other half to death with their masks, and then they decide to play with their friend the letter ‘A’.

Chick and Chickie is a great addition to any emergent literacy program. Ponti’s artwork is clean and crisp, allowing young readers to understand what is happening easily. While their masks terrify each other, the images are anything but scary, and the bit with the letter ‘A’ allows children to emulate what Chick and Chickie are doing through the use of action verbs.

Final Thoughts
Chick and Chickie is a fun romp for emergent readers. My three year old loves to sit and just look at the pictures, making up his own stories to got along with it, and my 5 year old will sit and read it out loud. I would highly recommend Ponti’s work for any pre-k or kindergarten class. As with all Toon books, there is a guide in the back to give parents tips on reading the book for maximum impact with their kids.

On a side note, I’ll be posting my review of another new Toon Book, Zig and Wikki *in* The Cow later today.

07 February 2012

7 February 2012–updates and apologies

Hey all! No, contrary to popular opinion and wishful thinking, I’m not dead. I’ve been detained by school, and as such, I haven’t been able to talk about the Denver Comic Con coming up this summer, Jimmy Gownley ending the perennial kid’s favorite Amelia Rules, Capstone and DC teaming up for more Super Hero goodness, or new releases from Kids Can Press, :01 Second, Toon Books, or Scholastic (or the many other great publishing companies out there).

All I’m asking is that you bear with me folks. I’m still plugging away, and I’m still working on reviews, but it’s going to be a little scattershot for the next couple of months. With that said, I have a feeling that we’re going to be seeing some amazing stuff this year, and I can’t wait to share it with you all out there.