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.
Pink Panther #1
Written by S.A. Check, Adrian Ropp, and Warren Tufts.
Art by Kris Carter, Bill Galvan, Adrian Ropp, and Warren Tufts.
Five different short stories are featured in the first issue of Pink Panther. This issue sees our favorite rosy-colored feline run the gamut: he’s entertaining a three year old’s birthday one moment and duping a restaurant into giving him a free meal the next. With minimal dialogue, colorful artwork, and a lovely throwback story first published in 1978, this book is perfect for little ones.
American Mythology assembled quite a large creative team to make these stories happen. That’s pretty common for a book based on such an iconic character. However, Pink Panther’s consistency remains throughout. Even that aforementioned story from 1978 (“Pink Hostage”) fits nicely among Pink’s contemporized tales. I have been a lifelong fan of the cartoon shorts, due to their wily action and, at times, its disarmingly minimalistic stories. This book provides fans like me the same kind of tone. (Oh! And it features The Ant and The Aardvark, The Inspector, and The Little Man!) Overall, this is an enjoyable book and a great introduction to this classic character for those born within the confines of the 21st Century.
Baker Street Peculiars #4
Written by Roger Langridge.
Art by Andy Hirsch and colors by Fred C. Stresing.
Baker Street Peculiars wraps up a mystery, “The Case of the Cockney Golem”, in issue #4 of this fun and clever series. Set in 1933 London, Baker Street’s three protagonists come from very different walks of life — from a posh boarding schooler to a street urchin — but the skill set each one provides to solve the case are vital. Chippy Kipper has been terrorizing the city with his statues-turned-golems thanks to the shems he places in their mouths. Under the guidance of Sherlock Holmes, our trio takes down the evil, and in the process uncovers another mystery that has been nagging at them since issue one.
Roger Langridge does excellent work in rounding out the final piece of that puzzle with dialogue and narration that makes it easy for those in this age group to grasp. Artistic team of Andy Hirsch and Fred C. Stresing provide nice visuals for the story. The artwork has an animated quality to it, and the little details found in the coloring — especially the glowing eyes of the golems and how they seemed to come off the page — are particularly disarming. This a perfect book for fans of mystery capers.
Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy #1
Boom! Box/DC Comics/$3.99
Written by Chynna Clugston-Flores.
Art by Rosemary Valero-O’Connell and Maddi Gonzalez; Colors by Whitney Cogar.
Can I say that when I first heard this collaboration was going to happen I squealed with glee? Oh, I just did? Cool, then let’s move on.
It’s no surprise that when reading books for kids of all ages, both Gotham Academy and Lumberjanes are two of that I pick up regularly. They’re similar in that they have a diverse cast of characters with strong personalities and opinions. In the first issue of this dynamite team up, we get a good balance of both groups as they investigate some disturbing clues in their respective settings, before they end up running into each other in the middle of the woods. Of course, that’s when the bug juice hits the fan and the non-stop action leaves us gasping with the uneasy feeling of “Oh great! What’s gonna happen now?”
Chynna Clugston Flores, best known for her teen comedy comic, Blue Monday, does a fantastic job with these beloved characters. She keeps the tone and dialogue fast and witty, with genuine moments sprinkled throughout. The interactions between the characters are also fun and not forced. Rosemary Valero-O’Connell and Maddi Gonzalez’s artwork, synced up beautifully with Whitney Cogar’s coloring, let these characters blend together very well. These artists cleanly define the visual elements inherent for each character, from Olive’s hair color to Mal’s undercut and signature red plaid shirt. I really enjoyed the first issue in what I think will be a sweet crossover series, and I’m sure you will too.
Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Pink #1
BOOM! Studios /$3.99
Written by Brenden Fletcher and Kelly Thompson.
Art by Daniele Di Nicuolo.
Colors by Sarah Stern.
Letters by Ed Dukeshire.
Fans of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are in for a real treat: here comes a six issue miniseries featuring Kimberly Hart, aka the Pink Ranger. The creative forces behind this book are some of the best in the business right now. Pink is giving me life! Read my full review here.
(Where we discuss the classics that everyone should read.)
Fantagraphics Books, 1998
By Daniel Clowes.
There are treasures found in pop culture — a song, a movie, a show, or in this case, a book that truly transport you to a particular time and place. As a card-carrying child of the Nineties, Daniel Clowes’ Ghost World does that for me. However, since bored, unaffected teen angst is alive and well, I recommend this book for anyone who’s ever actively rebelled against conventional society — or, at least, those who believed they did.
Ghost World follows two teenage best friends, Enid and Becky, on their day-to-day shenanigans at crummy diners, stuffy record stores, and the Anywhere, USA town in which they live. It also deals with what it’s like to endure those naggingly persistent growing pains; to discover what life holds after high school, figuring out what one wants out of living, and how fleeting it can be to have a partner-in-crime by your side.
Originally serialized in the mid-90s comic book, Eightball, Fantagraphics as collected eact installment of Ghost World into one nice collection. Daniel Clowes’ writing is conversational and feels realistic. There are some f-bombs to be found here, and Enid and Becky are candid with their thoughts on many subjects, ranging from sex to music to their own messy feelings. Clowes’ artwork (all done in shades of blue, black, and white) definitely sets the mood for these stories, of which there are 8 in total. A good summer read for those independent high schoolers who need a break from their required reading lists.
That’s it for this week! Has Books For Babes help you out at all? We want to know! Feel free to send feedback our way in the comments section below.