The webcomics blog about webcomics

What The Kid(s) In Your Life Are Going To Be Reading

Sometimes, panels don’t lend themselves to traditional write-ups (or, at least not write-ups as I do them; everybody’s got their own style, after all), and the preview of all-ages comics from Scholastic/Graphix is a prime example. It wasn’t so much a discussion as an opportunity to talk about what Graphix has coming up in the near future, with creators talking about their current/forthcoming projects. Thus, the disclaimer I normally start with on these panel recaps is missing, since there’s not so much the opportunity to confuse quotes with paraphrases. Okay, there’s one quote coming up, you’ll know it when you see it.

Instead, I’m going to talk about some of the work that was previewed, with little things that caught my eye. For example, Jim Benton is half graphic novelist, half IP licensing machine, and Catwad straddles that line. Benton actually first came up with Catwad years ago, but similarities to a slightly more recent cat with grumpy tendencies¹.

Tui Sutherland talked about the process of adapting her book series, Wings Of Fire (thirteen books and counting!) to graphic novels (third one coming soon). Particularly, she’d like to note that while it’s all very easy to describe an arena full of dragon-type beings as far as the eye can see, it’s quite another to expect Mike Holmes to draw that over and over (Sutherland: Sorry, Mike!). And since I don’t see her credited on the series page (or even on the covers, for goodness sake), I’ll note that the colorist is Maarta Laiho, who has her own challenges — rainforests, chameleonic dragons who change color, leading to completely different colors from panel to panel — and deserves a bit of recognition here.

Jon J Muth’s adaptation of The Seventh Voyage by Stanislaw Lem was included in the giveaway bag at the Scholastic party on Thursday night, so I can tell you that it’s smart, charming, funny, and very, very different from any other graphic novel you’ve read or are going to read this year. Lem’s ability to lambaste Poland’s political institutions and society without running afoul of governmental authorities is legendary, and you’ll see a prime example of his skill as Ijon Tichy struggles to resolve a life-or-death situation despite the interference of a bureaucracy of himself² doing its damndest to prevent anything from actually happening. And the space suit³ is hilarious.

Raina Telgemeier let her audience know that Guts is different than her previous work (her exact words were Wake up, ’cause we’re going to talk about anxiety!), but in a way that let them know that’s okay. That she had a hard time dealing with the stressors in her life at their age, and sometimes still has those feelings, but she got help. And if they feel overwhelmed and anxious, they can get help, too. She’s really our best ambassador to the middle grades, the one that remembers what that time was like and can converse with those who live their in terms of their own experiences. As I told her when I got to read an advance copy back in April, I wanted very much to travel back in time and hug Young Raina and tell her it would be okay.

The only question I noted was when a girl, about ten years old, came to the mic to ask Miss Raina, what happened to Amara’s snake? Readers of Sisters may recall that Raina’s younger sister had a snake who got loose and lost, only to be found six months later under the seats in the minivan (or at least, a snake similar enough to the one that was lost as to make no difference). In the meantime, their mom had gotten Amara another snake and when that one got loose, Raina said I left the house. It was time for college, but the snake was definitely part of the decision. Like I said, she know how to speak Middle Grader.

Release dates:

Spam of the day:

I reaiiy need to find a friend with benefits.

Yep, this is wholly appropriate for a post discussing all-ages comics. Yeesh.

¹ Who, it could be argued, primarily went viral because of a mash-up with a Kate Beaton punchline. Speaking of Beaton, she’s got a new diary comic up, featuring doggo Agnes with a supporting appearance by daughter Mary Lou. It’s a treat.

² Or, more precisely, himselves, as they are all time-displaced instances of Ijon Tichy thrown together and forced to try and cooperate.

³ Baggy, shapeless, five sizes too large at the very least, stubby-legged, and featuring an umbilical attached in the middle of a buttoned-up buttflap.

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