09 April 2012

9 April 2012 – A review and some news (not in that order)


Personal News

First off, I want to apologize for not updating last two weeks. It has been a chaotic and difficult week. My wife has busting her butt getting her pottery going again. This is just a small sampling of what she’s been making, and I’m extremely proud of her.  She’s in the process of getting a website set up so she can start showcasing more of her artwork. As more information comes available, I’ll post it here.

In other news, I got a couple of nice little surprises recently: I’ve been a huge fan of Jeff Smith’s Bone series pretty much since it originally came out, and It still entertains and amazes readers of all stripes. Apparently, someone at Scholastic had seen my review of Quest for the Spark last year, because I got this in the mail.


This is a full color print of a scene from Quest for the Spark signed by Jeff Smith, and pre-framed. There was much giddiness and silly behavior on my behalf for a while after receiving this. So, to everyone at Scholastic, THANK YOU for the wonderful gift!

Also, a couple of weeks ago, I did a quick review of Steve Conley’s Bloop. Needless to say, my review truly understates his work. It is amazingly beautiful artwork, and a great story. Not only that, but Steve was kind enough to do this:

Bloop Thanks

I was truly touched and humbled when I received this in my email. If you haven’t checked out Bloop yet, you’re doing yourself a HUGE disservice.



Industry News

Raina Telgemeier’s Smile has won the The Maine Student Book Award for 2012 last week. The most awesome part about this is that the people that vote on this award are kids in grades 4 – 8. Full information can be found here.

The Denver Comic Con’s latest guest announcement was a bit of a surprise. Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl on AMC’s The Walking Dead will be at the Convention.  It will be interesting to see what Chandler has to say about the series as well as some of the criticism that has been directed toward his character.

Speaking of the Denver Comic Con, I’ll be posting more information about the convention as it draws closer, as well as the Rocky Mountain Conference on Comic and Graphic Novels that precedes the Comic Con. So far for the RMCCGN, they have such luminaries as Dr. James Bucky Carter, Dr. Charles Hatfield, Robert Weiner, and Scott McCloud. Yours truly has been asked to present a paper on graphic novels in the elementary classroom, and I hope I can do it justice, especially in light of these guys I listed above. If you see me, please don’t say “no pressure”. Seriously.

I also snagged a copy of the latest ad for Comic Con and have been planning on plastering Grand Junction with copies of it. If you want to see a copy of it, you can view it here:


This latest poster

(from http://www.tsunamipublicity.com/) is dead sexy, and the crew at Tsunami are super nice and friendly. If you’re looking for a good place for publicity, check them out.

This previous Friday, I did my first two presentations: The first was for Dr. Robin Calland at Colorado Mesa University, for her Children’s Literature class. Dr. Calland is a former teacher of mine, and I was honored to come and speak to her class. It was a wonderful experience, and I hope to be able to do it again. My other presentation was down at the Mesa County Public Library. Trevor Adams, one of the children/teen librarians invited me to come speak with his teens at their monthly graphic novel group. While it was a small group, they were extremely  attentive, and I have never felt so welcomed. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I really hope to be invited back again. Trevor has a great group of kids, and he totally rocks as well.


Here’s links to my presentations if you would like to see samples of my work.

Graphic Novels for Younger Readers


Teen Picks






Image Courtesy Graphic Universe

Written and Illustrated by: Julien Neel

Graphic Universe, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-76138-869-2 (Paperback)

$8.95 Ages: 13 +


The second book in the (originally French) Lou! series finds Lou and her mom both mooning over men. Their summer is not shaping up to be very fun – Lou’s boyfriend moved away with little warning, and Mom’s boyfriend has to help supervise a summer camp for two months. What’s even worse is that the ladies have a mandatory visit to Lou’s grandmother who lives in the country, is constantly surly, and only serves brussels sprouts for every meal. To make things worse, Gram wants to hook Mom up with a local doctor who was a real sleaze ball in high school, and Lou meets a new boy. With the two of them find new loves, much less survive the summer?


This is a fun series that comes from French artist Julien Neel. His artwork is playful without getting cutesy, and the story’s fluidity is stunning. Lou’s Mom is a perennial slacker, nerd grrrl who is forever trying to write her book about a scantily clad space heroine (like Barbarella, with a few more clothes). The relationships between the characters feel extremely true – there is not a disingenuous moment between characters at all, even the cat comes into it’s own as a supporting cast member. I feel the need to point out that this was originally a French publication, and as such, comes from a completely different social ideology than America. Because of this ideology, there is a bit more cheek in this book than one would probably find in a similar title written by an American.

Final Thoughts

I really enjoyed this book. The characters all feel well rounded and developed, the artwork is beautiful, the story itself is well paced and entertaining, and you feel good about the book at the end. I do feel compelled to point out that this is an excellent book for any teen collection, but librarians need to be aware that some parents may be upset and offended by the cheekiness. If it wasn’t for the “sexiness” of the sub-story, I would recommend this for probably 10 – 11 and up.

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