Alphabetical Index of First Second

Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean

Science Comics: Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean is one of two debut books in a new non-fiction graphic novel line from First Second, and it’s wonderful. Just as she did in Human Body Theater, Maris Wicks takes a complex scientific subject and makes it both understandable and beautiful. Our narrator is an adorable cartoon of a glasses-wearing fish who wants to show us its home in the coral reef. Five chapters cover what coral is, the different types, how […]

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Hippopotamister

Coming out in May is a charming children’s book by John Patrick Green (Quicken Forbidden, Teen Boat). Hippopotamister sends its title character, a hippopotamus from a run-down zoo, out into the world to try on different hats as he works to find the right job. Now, although the story is aimed at younger readers, this is something I can certainly relate to, from needing to find a new occupation to a past-its-prime business making its “employees” unhappy to the way […]

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Sweaterweather

Sara Varon’s Sweaterweather is more than a reprint. It includes the material from the 2003 Alternative Comics volume of the same name, her first book, but it’s now twice the size, with more charming encounters among simple, cute creatures (similar to her Bake Sale). I particularly appreciated the short notes introducing each story. Each provides some context to the piece, including when it was made and sometimes the author’s inspiration. Since the stories are often wordless, or light on text, […]

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Human Body Theater

Human Body Theater is a whimsical exploration of our own anatomy. Maris Wicks (Primates, Yes, Let’s) makes an important (but sometimes dry) subject amusing and educational. As seen on the cover, her anthropomorphized body parts are adorable! Eleven chapters cover the main systems of the body, including digestive, immune, skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, excretory, nervous, reproductive, hormones, and the five senses. The digestive chapter may be a favorite of younger readers, since it covers poop, burps, farting, and vomit, as […]

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Last of the Sandwalkers

It’s been too long since Jay Hosler (The Sandwalk Adventures, Clan Apis) brought out one of his amazing true science comics. He’s got a gift for explaining complex biological topics in entertaining adventure stories. Last of the Sandwalkers continues that trend with the story of a group of beetles seeking to learn more about their desert civilization. Lucy, a scientist, is keeping a journal of their expedition, based on her idea to explore. She’s accompanied by the knowledgeable Professor Bombardier, […]

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Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula

The unique conceits of Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula by Andi Watson make a charming fairy tale for all ages, although I suspect adults will better identify with Decomposia’s struggles. Although a princess, she’s overworked. Her father stays in bed all day and has left all the work of running the kingdom to her, although he won’t recognize her contributions and effort. He’s also a hypochondriac and a food faddist, which means they can’t keep a chef. That’s important, because […]

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Sleepless Knight

Sleepless Knight by James Sturm, Andrew Arnold, and Alexis Frederick-Frost uses the characters from the Adventures in Cartooning series of kids’ books about making comics to tell a straightforward (if goofy) story. The only nod to the series’ history of instructional how-tos are a few endpapers showing how to draw the book’s four main characters: the Knight, Edward the horse, a rabbit, and a bear. The Knight and Edward are going camping. Although poor Edward is completely overloaded with unnecessary […]

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In Real Life

It’s a timely topic, the struggle of a young woman to play an immersive video game, but the recent explosion of debate over the place of women in gaming has unfortunately overtaken the events of In Real Life. It’s unfair of me to wish that the story of this graphic novel better reflected what everyone’s been forced to talk about over the past few months, but because the world has moved past this book, even though it’s just been released, […]

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