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.
Fwendly Fwuit: Winter Wonders #1
Written and illustrated by Mickey Lam.
It’s Wonder Day. Strawberry and Banana are excited to spend the day with each other playing with their new toys. What’s a “Wonder Day?” Think of a different version of Christmas in an alternate world, where anthropomorphic fruit and alien-like creatures live their lives just like you and me. And thus begins the series of Mickey Lam’s newest creator-owned comic, Fwendly Fwuit: Winter Wonders. Perfect for little ones in this age group. Read my full review here.
Adventure Time Comics #1
Written by Art Baltazar, Katie Cook, Tony Millionaire, and Kat Leyh.
Art by Art Baltazar, Katie Cook, Tony Millionaire, and Kat Leyh.
In this first issue of a new ongoing Adventure Time series, the folks over at KaBoom! invited some familiar writer/artists to take characters from the Land of Ooo and showcase them in their own particular voices and artistic style. From Art Baltazar’s story about Finn’s adventure in Toothpaste Land all the way to Kat Leyh’s tale of Finn becoming crafty with squirrel wood, the silly absurdity that makes Adventure Time a favorite for kids of all ages is highlighted throughout these stories. And the fun will continue each month with new stories from different writer/artists.
This book is great for fans who know the other works from the creators, but it could also be a great launch point, introducing their different styles to new readers. I appreciate the anthology feel of having different, eclectic stories in one book, and having them not necessarily be complementary in plot or style. I really enjoyed this first issue and think it’ll be a great addition to the growing family of Adventure Time comics.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Amazing Adventures #13
Written by Matthew K. Manning and Caleb Goellner.
Art by Chad Thomas and Buster Moody; colors by Heather Breckel.
In issue #13 we begin the first part of “The Drip,” the new story arc featuring Donnie doing what he does best… science stuff. Okay, that’s a little simplified, but he is burning the midnight oil trying to find a cure to help Splinter return to his human form, with no luck. The rest of the guys — err, turtles — are goofing off with a bottle of found electrolyte water when Donnie realizes it may be the missing piece to his cure. However, a drop of the water causes a reaction and a little droplet forms with a personality of its own! And from my guess, this little guy is going to be more harmful than helpful.
Matthew K. Manning moves the action along quickly in this first issue. He establishes the main plot with Donnie, while the supporting crew uses humor and friendly concern throughout. I really love Chad Thomas’ artwork and Heather Breckel’s coloring, and what it brings to this book. Their effects (like when Donnie has passed out, but as he opens his eyes, it’s all blurry) are great and provide an interesting visual. The secondary story written by Caleb Goellner, and its artwork by Buster Moody, provide a different look and feel as the Turtles get inspired by a cool 90s band and want to become musicians themselves. All in all, a really fun read.
Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection
Drawn and Quarterly, 2015
Written and illustrated by Kate Beaton.
I don’t remember how or when I stumbled upon Kate Beaton’s site Hark! A Vagrant, but once I found it I was instantly enamored of her ability to joke (in cartoon form) about the sacred cows of history, literature, and any other idea that fancied her. It gave me such enjoyment I visited the site daily to see what she would post. When the first book came out (also named Hark! A Vagrant) I was happy to see some of the site’s work within its pages, and last year the sequel Step Aside, Pops: A Hark! A Vagrant Collection arrived. It was a continuation of the same humor fans of the site and first volume have loved.
Whether she is educating you on Ida B. Wells, showing you how Wonder Woman behaves during her time off, or what the rest of a Nancy Drew book cover’s story will tell you, Step Aside, Pops will leave you laughing your bum off. I also appreciate the footnotes she provides that give us her inspirations for various comic strips, or tells us the historical context/significance so we can understand why we are laughing at the jokes. I will give one warning that there is some language (F-bombs), but they are used so sparingly it should be okay for your mature teen. Y’know the kind: the one that would totally giggle over the idea of our Founding Fathers at an amusement park. It should also be noted that Beaton won the 2016 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication for this book, and deservedly so.
(Where we discuss the classics that everyone should read.)
Binky the Space Cat (A Binky Adventure)
Kids Can Press, 2009
Written and illustrated by Ashley Spires.
Binky the Space Cat is the first in a series of books by writer/illustrator Ashley Spires about a tuxedo kitty who lives with his two humans (a woman and her son) in a quaint little home in any-town U.S.A. Binky believes, as I like to think all housecats believe, that he is the ruler of the home, there to protect his humans from the “aliens” (aka bugs), that fly around the house.
You see, Binky is no ordinary housecat; he has been recruited by Felines of the Universe Ready for Space Travel (F.U.R.S.T.) through a message at the bottom of his food bag. His mission? To build a spaceship and head off into space to stop aliens… and that is exactly what he does. He realizes, however, that this isn’t an easy thing to do when one is attached to one’s humans. Who else would look after them if he leaves? What is a kitty to do? He finds his true purpose by making some big decisions, and in the end discovers what destiny truly entails. Get it? En-tails? Like, cats have tails. Okay, I’ll show myself out.
Binky the Space Cat is a very delightful and cute story that allows us to get inside the mind of an imaginative housecat. Spires does a great job at making the book accessible for children who are new readers, as well as those who have a few years under their belt. The soft cartoonish artwork is done in a combination of panels and full page spreads that allow the flow of the story to move quickly. I really enjoyed this children’s graphic novel and think that any cat lover who knows their kitty has more on their mind than just their next meal will appreciate it.
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.