Category Archives: Graphic Novel Challenge 2010

Trickster: Native American Tales A Graphic Collection by Matt Dembicki

Trickster: Native American Tales A Graphic Collection

Edited by Matt Dembicki

Fulcrum Publishing, Golden CO, 2010

Borrowed from the library.

Trickster is a character that shows up in mythologies and folklore all over the planet.  The Monkey-King in China, Reynard in France and, of course, Raven in the Pacific Northwest.   This anthropomorphic animal plays tricks, disobeys rules and goes against conventional behavior.  We find him or her everywhere.

This beautiful collection of Native Americans tales pairs native story-tellers with graphic artist in a book that celebrates North American indigenous cultures.  There is history, moral dilemmas and wonderful teaching in these stories.  The various voices and artistic styles bring great variety to these pages and some of my favorite graphic artists are represented, including Micah Farritor and editor Matt Dembicki.


Filed under Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels, Review

Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation

Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation

by Michael Keller, Illustrated by Nicolle Rager Fuller

Rodale, New York, 2009

Borrowed from the library.

Published during the 150th anniversary year of the publication of On the Origin of Species, this book is a beautiful presentation of some of the strongest parts of Darwin’s argument for the evolution of species and his theory of natural selection. The beginning of the book gives some  historical and biographical information on Darwin’s background and his introduction to scientific observation. Text from Darwin’s work is woven through the stunning illustrations and Keller has made every effort to update Darwin’s ideas with our present understanding of how life evolves.

Fuller’s illustrations are beautiful and add to a basic understanding of a scientific theory that changed western science, culture and religious belief.  Having read parts of The Voyage of The Beagle and studied some of Origin in an evolutionary biology class,  I found this book a wonderful introduction to Darwin’s theory.


Filed under Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels, Science, Science Books 2010

Clan Apis by Jay Hosler, Ph. D.

Clan Apis by Jay Hosler, Ph.D.

Active Synapse, Columbus, 2000

Borrowed from the library.

I first learned about this wonderful graphic novel at DogEar Diary.  Thanks, Jeane!

Jay Hosler is a professor of biology who is also a comic book artist!  Clan Apis, drawn in black and white, tells the story of a young bee and her hive mates.  It is packed with lots of information about hive structure, bee life cycles, behavior and the honey bee’s place in the world.

We first meet Nyuki in her larval stage and follow her through her changes as she matures.  Her conversations with older bees explain  the division of labor in a hive, hive social structure, pollen collection and honey production.  Leaving the hive she has many adventures, all containing interest information about honey bee ecology.

Clan Apis is beautifully illustrated, full of humor and adventure, a perfect introduction to bee biology.  I easily see it drawing in a reluctant reader and, just maybe, helping to create a budding life scientist. I plan on adding a copy of it to our school library.  I also plan on reading  Hosler’s The Sandwalk Adventures.


Filed under Animals, Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels, Review, Science Books 2010

Children of the Sea: Volume 1 by Daisuke Igarashi

Children of the Sea: Volume 1 by Daisuke Igarashi

Translation by JN Productions

Viz Media, San Fransisco, 2009

Borrowed from the library.

The first manga I have managed to get through!  For some reason my brain has a hard time wrapping around the right to left format.

Ruka is having a hard time.  Shuttling between her parents is difficult, she is having trouble at school and feels out of place everywhere.  She dreams of a ghost she had seen in the aquarium where her father works, a ghost that turns into light.  Then she meets two brothers,  Umi and Sora.  While the adults around these children struggle with a mystery of disappearing fish, Ruka, Umi and Sora discover a connection and begin to find out things about their past and about their future.

What drew me in was the sea, what kept me there was Igarashi’s stunning artwork.  The library only has volume 1, I am going to have to fine or buy volume 2.

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Filed under Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels, Manga, Review, Young Adult

Sandman:The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell

Sandman: The Dream Hunters by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Hunter

Vertigo, DC Comics, New York, 2009

Borrowed from the library.

For the tenth anniversary of the Sandman series Neil Gaiman, with help from Japanese artist Yoshitaka Amano,  wrote a tale combining  the mythology of Morpheus with elements of Japanese myth and folktales.  The story worked so well that readers and critics believed the story was ancient.

Now P. Craig Russell has used his artistry to produce the story in graphic form.

A young monk lives by himself in a small temple.  A fox and a badger make a wager.  Who ever can drive the monk from his home will call the place their own.  So begins this story of magic, demons and a love that was never meant to be.

Russell’s artwork is a perfect match for this story, beautifully drawn and inked.  I was brought back into the world of the Dream King in a way I never expected.  Now I really have to dig out my original Sandman comics and read through them again.  Highly recommended for adult readers.


Filed under Fantasy, Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels, Once Upon Time IV, Review

Korgi: Book 1 by Christian Slade

Korgi by Christian Slade

Top Shelf Productions, Portland, 2007

Borrowed from my library.

A lovely, wordless fantasy graphic novel created by a former Disney animator.

Korgi tells the story of Ivy, her dog Sprout and their adventures in Korgi Hollow.  The artwork is black and white pencil drawings and the action moves along surprisingly quickly, due to the wonderful expressive nature of Slade’s characters.  Ivy and Sprout learn new things about each other and about their surroundings. I loved this little book and am anxiously waiting for Book 2 from my library.

More of Christian Slade’s artwork can be found here.

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Filed under Childrens, Fantasy, Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham

Illustrated by Many Fabulous Artists

DC Comics, New York, 2006

Borrowed from the library.

Wow! I have always enjoyed the Fables graphic novels but this one has to be my favorite so far.  The premise?  Snow White as Shahrazad, telling tales to the ruling Sultan.

The stories are varied.  Some from fairy tales, some from mythology.  All illustrated by different artists and illustrators including Charles Vess, James Jean, Mark Buckingham, Jill Thompson and Tara McPherson.  For mature readers, this one is brilliant.

A great choise for a graphic novel read for the Once Upon A Time IV challenge!


Filed under Fantasy, Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels, Review

Copper by Kazu Kibuishi

Copper by Kazu Kibuishi

Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic, New York, 2010

Borrowed from the library.

I first learned about Kazu Kibuishi through his amazing Flight collections.  When I heard he had a book for young readers I had to see it.  Based on Kibuishi’s webcomic, Copper is visually lovely and contains gentle stories about friendship and trust.

Copper and his dog, Fred, have interesting adventures together.  Fred is often down-hearted and fatalistic but Copper always manages to put a pleasant spin on things and Fred learns a lot about humans and their behavior.  The characters are cute, but not too cute, and the art is beautiful.  The comic is available on the website but it is wonderful to hold the book in your hands.


Filed under Childrens, Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels

Whatever Happened To The World Of Tomorrow? by Brian Fies

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow?

by Brian Fies

Abrams ComicArts, New York, 2009

Hopping a train to the New York Worlds Fair of  1939 we follow Buddy and his Pop through multiple versions if the World of Tomorrow presented at the exhibition.  Of course, time is fluid in the comics so we are able to follow these two through the development of rocketry and on into space flight.

Fies uses different forms to express the energy and inventiveness of this wonderful age of discovery.  Classic comic style art, photo montage and collage add to the  excitement as Buddy and Pop enter the “Space Age” and then share the disillusionment and sadness at the end of this era of exploration.  They go one to discover that maybe we haven’t lost our love for exploration after all, maybe it has just taken a different path.

Fries feels that somewhere along the way to the 21st century we lost sight of a hopeful future.  He makes a wonderful statement in his introduction:

Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? is an appreciation of, and an argument for, an increasingly rare way of thinking, creating, working and living that has value.  There was a time when building for the future was inspirational.  Ambitious.  Romantic.  Even ennobling.  I think it can be again.

This is a fun, and very creative graphic novel, particularly if you enjoy the comics of the mid 20th century.


Filed under Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels, Review

The Storm In The Barn By Matt Phelan

The Storm In The Barn

By Matt Phelan

Chandlewick Press, Somerville, 2009

Borrowed from the library.

Interestingly, this beautiful graphic novel is, like The Castaways,
about the dust bowl years of the depression in the mid-west.

Jack Clark, eleven years old and facing the normal problems of growing up and feeling the disruptions in his family also faces the devastating effects of the drought.  He sees a strangle light in n abandoned barn.  Is it real or is he beginning to suffer some strange illness brought by the dust?

In a story filled with mystery and beautifully drawn and painted, Matt Phelan brings us a images of Mid-west during the 1930’s   and of a young boy facing the challenges of growing up.

The Storm In The Barn has won the Scott O’Dell Award for historic fiction.  Make sure you visit Matt Phelan’s site to learn more about this wonderful book.


Filed under Graphic Novel Challenge 2010, Graphic Novels