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.
AND GUESS WHAT? We have something exciting to announce! Courtesy of Downtown Bookworks Publishing and DC Comics, you have the chance to win one of two awesome books fit for the toddler in your life — DC Super Heroes: My First Book of Super-Villains and DC Super Heroes: My First Dictionary! Click here and here to retweet with the hashtag #BooksForBabes for your chance to win! Winners will be announced next week!
Powerpuff Girls #1
Written by Haley Mancini and Jake Goldman.
Art by Derek Charm.
When Cartoon Network announced they were bringing back The Powerpuff Girls, I was reeeeally excited, partially because a new generation of kids would now be experiencing the magical buttkicking powers of Blossom, Buttercup, and Bubbles. Now IDW brings us another run of the comic featuring our little (but mighty) heroines dealing with all the mischief and mayhem that comes to their city of Townsville. In the first issue the girls take on a familiar foe, Mojo Jojo, as he has taken over something very sacred to the girls (and me): their television programs! How does he interject himself in all their shows, and how is he snagging some of Hollywood’s most prestigious awards because of it? When the Powerpuff Girls realize why he wants those awards and what it could mean to the world if he gets them, they move in full force to take him down.
Written by Haley Mancini (who voices Princess Morebucks on the show) and Jake Goldman (a writer on the show), the writing duo ensure the story and dialogue stays very much in line with that of the show’s; in fact, it’s so reverent that this entire issue could just as easily been made into an episode. Derek Charm’s artwork is cute and colorful, and is exactly what you would expect from a Powerpuff Girls comic. Overall, a wonderful book for all ages whether they’re familiar with the show or not. (Also, there are 6 variant covers for this issue, including one by a favorite of mine, Paulina Ganucheau, of Zodiac Starforce fame!)
The Adventures of Miru #1
Story by J. McClary and Rick Laprade.
Written by Rick Laprade.
Art by J. McClary and colors by Eleonora Dalla Rosa.
Dragons have been extinct in Gaia for a long, long time, so when a small dragon named Miru falls unconscious from the sky, it sends everyone into a tizzy. When first found by a sentient robot (9Teen) with a mouse co-pilot (Scribbles) they discover this dragon has no memory of the past or who or what he is. They hatch a plan to get Miru to safety and to find out if more dragons are on their way; concurrently, the evil Samsura has been summoned by his minions, who begins to hunt Miru down.
This is a great first issue by creators J. McClary and Rick Laprade, and they set the stage and tone of this series perfectly. Laprade’s writing is fun but focused, keeping the momentum going within the plot setup. Even though I had to reread the expository bits a few times in order to completely understand what was going on, the wording was easy to follow along with. It also helped that McClary’s art and Eleonora Dalla Rosa’s coloring melded into a beautiful explanation of its own. Bright colors and the use of almost-glowing effects made the art beautiful to take in on its own. This is a great comic for anyone into futuristic fantasy or cute dragons. (Sorry not sorry, but Miru is kinda adorable.) I’m looking forward to seeing how his life on the lam will go.
Baba Yaga’s Assistant
Written by Marika McCoola.
Art by Emily Carroll.
This 136-page graphic novel, reintroduces a modernized version of the classic elderly witch of Russian folktales through a teen named Masha, who is poised to become her new assistant. Masha feels isolated and emotionally estranged from her father and his soon-to-be new family, and she decides to respond to a newspaper ad to be Baba Yaga’s assistant. When she arrives at Baba Yaga’s home she is tested physically and magically, but Masha has some hidden powers of her own, alongside a mind full of her grandmother’s stories about how to defeat the old hag.
Marika McCoola takes a character not known by many westerners and weaves a very sweet story about finding one’s independence and purpose, defeating evil with good, and forging a new life by leaving an old one behind. The dialogue is easy to read and can actually be read by those younger than this age group. The book is also divided up into parts/chapters which emphasize certain pieces of the overall plot. Emily Carroll’s artwork compliments nicely and emphasizes the story’s fairy tale feel. I also enjoyed Masha’s recollections of her grandmother’s Baba Yaga stories; through these memories, the artwork becomes dreamier and softer. Overall, this is an enjoyable and cute book worth reading.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
Dark Horse Comics/$17.99
Written by Neil Gaiman.
Adaptation, art, and lettering by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá.
In Neil Gaiman’s 2006 short story-turned-graphic novel (via the talents of Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá), we’re taken back to a thirty-year-old memory of an evening where two teenage boys, Enn and Vic, attend a party full of beautiful, mysterious, and strange girls. Of course, this being a Gaiman story, nothing is as it seems. Read my full review here.
(Where we discuss the classics that everyone should read.)
Good As Lily
Written by Derek Kirk Kim.
Illustrated by Jesse Hamm.
In another solid graphic novel from the now defunct DC imprint Minx, Derek Kirk Kim and Jesse Hamm center this manga-esque story on the idea of meeting both your past and future selves, resulting in a book both unique and heartfelt. At her eighteenth birthday party, Grace tries to destroy a piñata for the treats inside, ultimately knocking herself out, only to find the piñata empty. But after her party, she discovers it’s caused three incarnations of herself to appear. After realizing these three gals are in fact her at ages six, twenty-nine, and seventy, she does her best to get rid of them, only to discover she has to help put something right in their past (or rather her present) in order for them to move on. Of course, she has to do this all while balancing out the normal teen woes of school, parents, and figuring out how to save the school play.
Derek Kirk Kim takes the well-trod plotline of meeting oneself in the future or past, but twists it in a way that resonates with both teens and adults alike. He also seamlessly ties in a dead sister (Lily) and overbearing Korean parents (had to laugh when Mrs. Kwon gave Lona to-go boxes of food to take home—I’ve been there and it’s tasty) that allow the story to feel genuine. Jesse Hamm’s artwork fits well, laying out very detail-oriented panels alongside other oversized panels that really bring all the book’s themes home. I really enjoyed Good As Lily and feel it’s a relatable, funny, and sweet story, for either you or a teenager in your life.
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.