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.
Scooby-Doo Where Are You? #64
Written by Derek Fridolfs and John Rozum.
Art by Walter Carzon and various.
No matter how old you are, Scooby-Doo is the sort of iconic character who brings back a sense of nostalgia every time you see him. He’s also still popular with children today thanks to Cartoon Network’s modern take on the gang, as well as reruns from the 70s series. DC’s Scooby Doo comic series takes the familiar group of characters and puts them in new but predictably formatted adventures, and in issue #64 we get two stories with the teens of Mystery Inc. in hot water—but using their wits (and luck) save the day.
In Derek Fridolfs’ story, Twin Dilemma, not only is someone is framing Mystery Inc, they have to figure out who’s robbing Crystal Cove, impersonating them while behind bars. In the second story, The Creeping Horror by John Rozum, our crew gets a flat tire and ends up in a technology company taken over by a monster; however things, as you can imagine, are not as they seem. Both stories follow the classic Scooby-Doo format: as a team they must utilize their individual strengths to overcome the terrorizing monster(s), and in the end, all is revealed. Easy-to-follow stories make Scooby-Doo a great comic for younger kids, although some of your beginning readers may need help with some of the lengthy dialogue. The artwork is bright, colorful, and clearly tells a visual story. It’s a fun read, and one that youngsters will enjoy.
Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #726
Written by Bruno Sarda and David Gerstein.
Art by Massimo De Vita and Mark Kausler.
Fun fact about me: my mother is Italian, and we were fortunate to visit our family in Italy when I was growing up. Now that may sound glamorous, but truth be told I spent my summers at my grandmother’s house watching TV and using my shoddy Italian trying to read comics and magazines. Disney comics were huge in Europe, so when one of the continuing stories (“The Search for the Zodiac Stone”) in IDW’s current issues comes from Topolino in 1990, chances are I probably tried to decipher this story in my youth.
Writer Bruno Sarda and artist Massimo De Vita tell the tale of Mickey and Uncle Scrooge on a quest to acquire the twelve pendants that make up the Zodiac Stone, while villainous Pete tries to acquire the powerful stone for his own use. In issue #726 we get the sixth installment of the story (“Ah…Sunny Hawaii!”) where Mickey and Uncle Scrooge have discovered the Pisces Pendant is in Hawaii, where Donald and his nephews are conveniently vacationing. Will Donald help recover the Pisces Pendant in time or will his quest to win a dinner date with Miss Aloha get in the way? Part six of this fun romp will be entertaining for the kids in this age group, and easy to read with its big lettering.
The second story, “Just Like Magic”, was originally published in Norway’s Walt Disney’s Julehefte in 2011, and features Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in a Christmas-themed story. The issue came out on December 23rd, so the holiday story’s inclusion makes sense, but it’s full of cute post-holiday hubbub. In order to attend Mr. Whisker’s Christmas party and see his beloved Ortensia, Oswald finagles his way in by impersonating a famous magician with the help of Toby Bear. However, when the tricks go awry he is quickly found out. What I like about both of these stories is that even though the two artwork styles have a very different feel, they feel consistently Disney. Plus the characters and stories are possibly the most universal in the world, and that’s pretty cool.
Paper Girls #4
Written by Brian K. Vaughan
Art by Cliff Chiang; colors by Matt Wilson
Paper Girls is one of my favorite books. It focuses on four teen girls who meet early each morning to deliver newspapers in their sleepy Ohio town… but one day things are different, and their lives get immeasurably more exciting thanks to an alien invasion. Erin, Mac, KJ, and Tiffany are relatable and well fleshed-out characters that teens will be interested in following. Read my review of issue #4 in our Week In Review. Also, I recommend this series for teens 14+ mainly due to some spicy language, but to be honest, it probably isn’t anything they haven’t heard before.
Giant Days #9
Boom! Box (Boom Studios)/$3.99
Written by John Allison.
Art by Max Sarin; colors by Whitney Cogar.
Giant Days is one of my favorite books out there right now. It centers around three new friends (Susan, Esther, and Daisy) who meet their first year at British university and who are all looking to reinvent themselves while adjusting to life away from home for the first time. A familiar trope for sure, but one that the creative team of John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar present to us in a funny, honest, and endearing way. It’s also nice that this slice-of-life comic is done more like a sitcom. Each issue is somewhat stand-alone, but the characters and their histories influence the overall story being told.
In issue #9 we get to see Ed try his best to stop crushing on Esther and throw himself into work at the campus newspaper, covering a scandal involving the Student Union’s President—all while trying to make the moves on his editor, a third year named Amanda. He fails miserably (and embarrassingly) when given the chance with her, but recovers with the help of his friends. Even though nothing is shown graphically in this book, it does touch on subjects college-aged kids deal with. It’s good for this age group since they are more than likely going through similar things, or will encounter them once they leave the nest for the halls of higher education.
(Where we discuss the classics that everyone should read.)
Written by Neil Gaiman.
Illustrated by Dave McKean.
In this Neil Gaiman novella, we get to experience the life of a curious and intelligent girl named Coraline. At the start of the story, she and her family move into an old house that has been separated into apartments (or flats, as they are called in the book, as Gaiman is British). When Coraline begins exploring, she discovers a locked door that leads to the unoccupied apartment next door, but the separation has been walled up by bricks. Despite her mother’s warnings about being nosy, Coraline continues to explore beyond the door while home alone. She discovers the brick wall is gone, and her adventure begins in an alternate universe that she calls “Other World.” There, she has a different and more interesting life with a figure she refers to as “Other Mother.” When Other Mother gives her the option to stay there forever, Coraline must make a choice that isn’t as easy as she thought.
This highly-celebrated children’s fantasy story has won many awards (the Hugo Award for Best Novella, the Nebula Award for Best Novella, and the Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers) and rightfully so. Gaiman’s writing lends to great storytelling: he paints a vibrant picture with his words and it’s easy to escape in the pages. Dave McKean’s illustrations are delightfully creepy without being too scary for young readers, and give the story a nice sophisticated touch. It’s a great, hair-raising read for these cold winter nights.
That’s it for this week! Did Books For Babes help you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.