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. 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 […]
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 […]
April 10, 2013 | 11:18 a.m.
Dark Horse’s “The Adventures of Superhero Girl” — available now — collects a comic strip that Faith Erin Hicks wrote and drew for the Halifax alt-weekly The Coast for several years beginning in the late ’00s, about a well-meaning, super-powered Canadian gal who doesn’t get enough attention for all the good work she does. The same could’ve been said about Hicks a few years ago, though not so much anymore. One of the most in-demand cartoonists in the business, Hicks has three other books coming out this year besides “Superhero Girl,” and says that she’s in a place in her career right now where she’s turning down illustration assignments. That’s a long way from where Hicks was when she began “Superhero Girl,” at a time when she says she was “poor and desperate enough to spend an entire day working […]
Oct. 05, 2012 | 3:01 p.m.
According to ancient Jewish mysticism, there are 36 people, called lamed-vavniks, who are divinely chosen to save the world. This Kabbalistic legend served as the inspiration for “The Thirty Six,” a comic by writer Kristopher White. The book’s hero Noam is a member of the 36, armed with Moses’ staff and charged with protecting the other 35 — some of whom don’t even know they’re lamed-vavniks. White funded the first volume of the story through Kickstarter, and the comic was recently a finalist in the Burbank International Film Festival‘s comic book and graphic novel category. Hero Complex caught up with White to talk about “The Thirty Six.” HC: Can you talk a little about the book’s inception? You mentioned a Sunday school class? KW: Absolutely! For several years after college, I taught Sunday school at Temple Israel of Hollywood. It […]
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 […]
Oct. 01, 2012 | 3:18 p.m.
Graphic novelist Mark Siegel intertwines themes of obsession, loss and redemption in “Sailor Twain: The Mermaid in the Hudson,” a new book from First Second. “Sailor Twain” transports readers to the misty decks of the Lorelei steamboat, whose captain finds a wounded mermaid in the Hudson River. He becomes her nurse, and she becomes his secret muse. Meanwhile, the boat’s seemingly lascivious owner keeps a siren-related secret of his own, and an enigmatic writer may hold the answers to both men’s questions. Siegel, primarily known for writing picture books for children, released the nearly 400 charcoal-drawn pages of “Sailor Twain” as a web comic over two years. Hero Complex caught up with Siegel to talk about the book, out in hardcover Tuesday. HC: This book is nine years in the making. Can you tell us a little about that journey? […]
Sept. 14, 2012 | 1:56 p.m.
It’s been a big year for Louie Del Carmen, director of Cartoon Network’s new series “Dragons: Riders of Berk” — based on the 2010 DreamWorks animated feature “How to Train Your Dragon.” He is also a story artist on the studio’s upcoming animated feature “Rise of the Guardians,” due in theaters Nov. 21. And he debuted the second installment in his comic series “Steel Noodles” at Comic-Con International this summer. Though Del Carmen began working in animation more than 15 years ago — his credits include “Rugrats,” “Kim Possible” and “Kung Fu Panda” — his entry into the world of comics has been fairly recent. Hero Complex caught up with Del Carmen to talk about “Steel Noodles,” which follows an old man and a mysterious girl who must evade would-be captors and survive on a desolate planet. HC: How did […]