'ARCHIE' Has Us Buzzing, And We Say "Bye!" To 'MARVEL TSUM TSUM' -- HEY, KIDS! COMICS!

‘ARCHIE’ Has Us Buzzing, And We Say “Bye!” To ‘MARVEL TSUM TSUM’ — HEY, KIDS! COMICS!

By Stefania Rudd. Do you have little ones in your life who are drawn to the world of comics through movies, cartoons, and video games, but you’re not sure what to start them with, or even know what’s appropriate?

We got you! Books For Babes aims to provide info on what books kids will enjoy, but can also be entertaining for adults. One can never start too early — or too late — in building a solid comic book foundation.

Ages 4-7

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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #48
IDW Publishing/$3.99
Written by Ted Anderson.
Art by Andy Price; colors by Heather Breckel.
Letters by Neil Uyetake.

My Little Pony #48 kicks off part one of a story arc involving our favorite chimera, Discord. However, nothing is straightforward in Equestria when magic comes into play, and the mischievous troublemaker gets a straightening out via the “Cosmic Convergence Conjunction” that every pony has come to witness. The magical impact metamorphoses Discord into a dapper and well-mannered being, now called “Accord,” who seems to be better favored than his past self. But once Starlight sees Accord’s rising popularity, she gets some déjà vu regarding her own actions.

Ted Anderson begins this new arc by setting up the action immediately, and keeps the story flowing effortlessly with spot-on pacing. And we even get a little cliffhanger once we reach the end! Andy Price and Heather Breckel continue to bring the world of the ponies and Equestria to life in vibrant and eye-catching art and colors. This issue utilized light and dark very well, setting the mood for the story overall. This is a great start to the newest MLP arc, and one that promises to be a very fun read.

Ages 8-11

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Marvel Tsum Tsum #4
Marvel Comics/$3.99
Written by Jacob Chabot.
Art by David Baldeon; inks by Terry Pallot and Roberto Poggi; colors by Jim Campbell and Andrew Crossley.
Letters by VC’s Cory Petit.

As a child of the 80s, I’m certainly no stranger to the various books, TV shows, and movies that are inspired by, well, toys. So when Marvel announced a comic based on the popular (and adorable) Tsum Tsum collectible plush toys that feature Disney (and Disney-adjacent) characters, I was not surprised. It’s a great way to get these little guys introduced to a new audience beyond their Japanese roots. Even if you don’t collect Tsum Tsum, their Marvel Comics miniseries — appropriately titled Marvel Tsum Tsum — is cute and fun. You will be entertained.

In issue #4, we wrap up an arc that not only gave us something of an origin for the Tsum Tsum, but also their capabilities and powers. We also get to live vicariously through three Brooklyn tweens as they become the superheroes they always thought they could be, but it’s hard balancing a normal life with family and friends while Ultron and an intergalactic collector are hot on your trail.

At least the tweens have the Avengers to help them through, and this is the issue where it all comes to a head, through big battles led by small heroes. I did really enjoy Marvel Tsum Tsum. I hope they continue this series somehow, as there are many places the creators can take these interesting and adorable creatures. This is a great comic for kids (and yes, adults) who collect these marvelous toys.

Ages 12-15

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Archie #14
Archie Comics/$3.99
Written by Mark Waid.
Art by Joe Eisma; colors by Andre Szymanowicz.
Letters by Jack Morelli.

In yet another great Archie issue from the mind of writer Mark Waid, the action alternates in chapters that focus on Archie and Veronica post-breakup. A heartbroken Archie does his best to not break any hearts himself, if only he could be more assertive in saying “no” to advances by other gals. Veronica is also nursing a broken heart, attempting to keep her head above water at the Swiss boarding school her father shipped her off to. At least there are friends (and frenemies) to keep them both occupied.

Waid somehow keeps the teen dialogue so natural and simple, while still allowing us further insight into the characters and their actions: Consider the moment when Veronica creates an elaborate (and expensive) scheme to take down mean girl Cheryl Blossom; the whole idea is hidden from the reader until the prank happens, emphasizing the magnitude even more. Joe Eisma is back reinterpreting these iconic characters with his use of expressive emotions and angular lines. Andre Szymanowic does a lovely job coloring it all enhancing the little details (like Madison’s eyeshadow or Veronica’s hair sheen) to make it feel realistic. I’m continually impressed by this comic. Archie #14 is another excellent addition to the series.

Ages 16+

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SuperZero, Volume 1
AfterShock Comics/$17.99
Written by Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti.
Art by Rafael de Latorre.
Colors by Marcelo Maiolo.
Letters by John J. Hill.

At some point in our day-to-day lives, we all have dreams of being something bigger or greater than ourselves. We spend hours daydreaming of what we could become rather than focusing on how to get there. For nineteen-year-old high school senior and rabid comic book fan Dru Dragowski, sitting idle while her dreams run rampant isn’t cutting it anymore — it’s time to make her ultimate goal a reality. See, Dru wants to become a superhero.” — Read my full review of SuperZero, Volume 1 here.

Throwback Issues
(Where we discuss the classics that everyone should read.)

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Peanut
Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013
Written by Ayun Halliday.
Art by Paul Hoppe.

Fitting in as a teen can be difficult, especially when starting over at a new school. What does it take to stand out? How can someone make genuine friends as the “new kid?” These are all very real feelings, and Sadie is grappling with them in Ayun Halliday and Paul Hoppe’s book, Peanut. However, Sadie tries to fit in… by standing out, and in a major way, by faking a severe peanut allergy. This all seems easy and innocent enough, but when the lie gets too big to manage, she comes to the realization that she must be honest to her new friends.

With so many people, especially kids, dealing with food allergies and restrictions, stories of having something like that is very relatable. How realistic is it that someone would fake an allergy in order to make herself interesting to a new crowd? Well, I’m sure it has happened, but the lesson of Halliday’s story is: It’s never worth the lie.

Through Sadie, the reader can learn that lesson without taking the risk of actually doing it. Hoppe’s artwork is a great accompaniment to the tale, with simple lines and minimal colors (blues with splashes of reddish pink) that allow the reader to easily experience the story without too much visual distraction. Overall, a good book to pick up for anyone who is the new kid, or has ever worried too much about finding their place in a new situation.

That’s it for this week! Has Books For Babes helped you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.

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