Oct. 22, 2013 | 9:58 a.m.
Illustrator Jillian Tamaki and writer Mariko Tamaki remember what it feels like to be on the cusp of growing up, that moment in life where adult problems start to seep into summer days of bicycle-riding and seashell collecting. The Tamaki cousins open a window to that stage of life in “This One Summer” — initially titled “Awago Beach Babies.” Their much-anticipated graphic novel follows Rose and Windy, two girls whose families have always spent lazy summers swimming and building sand castles together in a sleepy cottage town by the beach. But this summer is different as they become wrapped up in the drama of the town’s teenagers, not to mention their own families. The book is due out in May. The cousins first collaborated on “Skim,” their 2008 graphic novel about a Wiccan, Gothic, Japanese-Canadian teenager grappling with depression and sexuality […]
Oct. 10, 2013 | 12:17 p.m.
“Battling Boy,” by alternative comics creator Paul Pope, follows the self-dubbed Battling Boy, the son of a warrior god sent to save a city under siege by deadly monsters. The young hero arrives in Arcopolis with a magic credit card, a book called “The Encyclopedia Monstrosity,” and a dozen enchanted T-shirts, each bearing a different animal totem, which allow him to become clever as a fox, strong as a Tyrannosaurus rex, powerful as a gryphon, etc. Meanwhile in Arcopolis, a girl named Aurora mourns the death of her father, the city’s jetpack-wearing hero Haggard West, and makes plans to take up his quest. “Battling Boy,” out this week from First Second Books, is filled with secret science laboratories, sci-fi ray-blasters, bandage-wrapped monsters and plenty of beast-bashing action. For Pope, the project is a mash-up of everything he loved as a child. […]
Sept. 30, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.
“Puss in Boots,” “Goldilocks,” “Snow White” and more classic fairy tales are getting makeovers in “Fairy Tale Comics,” a new anthology that features stories from all over the world. The book, which hit shelves this week, features 17 fairy tales, adapted by 18 cartoonists, including Gilbert Hernandez, Vanessa Davis, Jillian Tamaki, David Mazzucchelli, Luke Pearson, Emily Carroll and a dozen more. Not least among them is Craig Thompson, the Eisner- and Harvey-winning author of “Blankets,” “Habibi” and “Good-bye, Chunky Rice.” For First Second’s “Fairy Tale Comics,” Thompson adapted “The King and His Story-teller,” by 11th century Spanish writer Petrus Alphonsi. Thompson’s version, “Azzolino’s Story Without End,” follows a king greedy for stories and his court minstrel, weary for want of sleep. What results is an endless bedtime story that leaves both the king and his minstrel counting sheep. Hero Complex […]
Sept. 10, 2013 | 5:05 p.m.
It’s hard to know whom to root for in Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel diptych “Boxers & Saints.” At once humorous and heartbreaking, the books’ 500 combined pages examine both sides of the Boxer Rebellion in turn-of-the-century China, seamlessly weaving magic and history to tell two interconnected stories. “Boxers” follows Little Bao, a peasant boy who learns kung fu and harnesses the power of the Opera gods to free China from the “foreign devils” — Western soldiers and Christian missionaries. “Saints” tells the tale of Four-Girl, an unwanted daughter who finds acceptance (and a proper name — Vibiana) among the Christian missionaries and their Chinese converts. Both protagonists are haunted and inspired by visions of historical figures — Joan of Arc for Vibiana and Ch’in Shih-huang, China’s first emperor, for Little Bao. “Boxers & Saints,” out today from First Second […]
Aug. 28, 2013 | 1:49 p.m.
Tony Cliff’s swashbuckling heroine Delilah Dirk finally has a graphic novel of her own. “Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant,” out this week from First Second Books, follows the globe-trotting, sword-swinging, treasure-stealing character across early 19th century Turkey, where she meets Erdemoglu Selim, a timid tea aficionado who finds himself unexpectedly caught up in Delilah’s misadventures (not to mention her flying sailboat). Cliff first introduced the character in 2007 in the 28-page short story “Delilah Dirk and the Treasure of Constantinople,” which earned an Eisner nod. Another installment found itself in the “Flight: Vol. 5” anthology. Delilah may remind readers of such adventure heroes as Indiana Jones, Lara Croft and even Adele Blanc-Sec. The daughter of a famous Greek artisan and a British ambassador, Delilah’s worldly childhood was filled with sword-fighting, archery and a dash of aristocracy — skills she puts […]
July 08, 2013 | 6:02 p.m.
Comics writer Steven T. Seagle has had great success in his collaborations with Danish artist Teddy Kristiansen. Together they created the DC Comics series “House of Secrets” and the semi-autobiographical book, “It’s a Bird,” which earned Kristiansen an Eisner Award for best painter/multimedia artist in 2005. So it’s not surprising that they’ve teamed-up again for the graphic novel “Genius” from First Second Books. Ted Marx, the protagonist of Seagle and Kristiansen’s story, is a one-time prodigy physicist struggling to recapture his youthful glory when he learns about a profound discovery by Albert Einstein that the scientist kept secret into death. As Marx struggles with the knowledge he has acquired, he must also learn how to connect with his own wife and children. The Times’ David Ulin said the book “becomes a paean to the examined life, the life of the […]
June 18, 2013 | 2:44 p.m.
Author Jim Ottaviani has made a name for himself writing graphic novels about some of the greatest minds in science, including Isaac Newton, Niels Bohr and Galileo Galilei. The Eisner Award nominee’s latest comics project, out last week from First Second books, is no exception. “Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas,” beautifully illustrated by Maris Wicks, explores the lives of the three greatest primatologists of the last century and the scientific research these women performed in Africa and Indonesia, studying chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans. Ottaviani, a former nuclear engineer whose other graphic novels include “Two-Fisted Science: Stories About Scientists” and the New York Times bestseller “Feynman,” says that comics and science are a natural fit. Hero Complex caught up with Ottaviani to talk about science, comics and “Primates.” HC: What was the catalyst for this project? […]
May 26, 2013 | 8:02 a.m.
A little more than 10 years into his comics career, writer-artist Matt Kindt has developed into one of the most exciting and original talents in the business, and has suddenly become in-demand to boot, releasing his work through multiple publishers. Kindt’s Dark Horse series “Mind MGMT” is a fan-favorite that’s also won the praise of Kindt’s peers, who’ve raved about the book’s fast-paced, twisty story of covert government psychics. For DC, Kindt has worked on the offbeat superhero titles “My Greatest Adventure” and “Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E.”; and he’s collaborated with his friend Jeff Lemire on Lemire’s recently completed Vertigo series “Sweet Tooth.” Now Kindt has a standalone graphic novel for First Second called “Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes,” about an obsessive, Dick Tracy-like detective who tries to find the pattern in a series of thefts of […]
May 08, 2013 | 5:13 p.m.
“Odd Duck,” by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon, chronicles the quirky friendship between two ducks — Theodora, who swims with a teacup balanced on her head, and her scruffy neighbor Chad, who loves astronomy and snow angels. The tale is a celebration of strangeness, says Castellucci, who admits to being a bit of an odd duck herself. Castellucci has made a name for herself across media as former indie rocker (then known as Nerdy Girl and Cecil Seaskull), filmmaker, opera libretto writer and award-winning author of books and graphic novels, including “The Plain Janes,” “The Year of the Beasts” and “First Day on Earth.” For “Odd Duck,” the Canadian writer teamed up with artist Sara Varon (“Robot Dreams”) to create the story’s whimsical format — a sort of hybrid between comic and picture book (take a peek in the gallery […]
Oct. 02, 2012 | 5:27 p.m.
It’s been 50 years since Madeleine L’Engle’s heroine Meg Murry first lay awake in her attic on “a dark and stormy night” in the pages of “A Wrinkle in Time.” The novel, which followed Meg on a fantastic journey to save her father, became a touchstone for several generations of young readers enchanted by the idea of using a “tesseract” to travel through space and time. A new adaptation from graphic novelist Hope Larson brings L’Engle‘s story to life in gorgeous black, white and blue comic panels in “A Wrinke in Time: The Graphic Novel” — out today from Farrar Straus Giroux imprint Margaret Ferguson Books. Larson, best known for her middle-grade graphic novels “Mercury,” “Chiggers” and “Salamander Dream,” is signing books on Friday, Oct. 19, at 7 p.m. at Secret Headquarters in Los Angeles. Hero Complex caught up with […]