Alphabetical Index of First Second

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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Shackleton: Antarctic Odyssey

One of the most amazing things about the explosion of graphic novels in the current era is how many great non-fiction comics have come out. One might argue whether or not book publishers are too focused on “graphic memoir” these days, but if I can read more stories like this bizarre true-life story of Ernest Shackleton, Antarctic explorer, I don’t mind. The early 1900s was the “heroic age of Antarctic Exploration”, where daring men struggled to find out more about […]

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The Zoo Box

First Second reaches out to younger readers with the just-past-a-picture-book The Zoo Box, written by Ariel Cohn. It’s a simple story — Erika and Patrick are left home to tuck themselves into bed, but they wind up opening the zebra-striped zoo box in the attic instead — so the lasting appeal is the simple, charming art of Aron Nels Steinke. The kids love animals, and they’re promised a trip to the zoo tomorrow if they behave. After the events of […]

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This One Summer

This One Summer beautifully captures the feel of a lazy, timeless summer, as written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki. The season portrayed also quietly marks a transition for Rose, a girl just entering adolescence. Rose and her parents have gone to Awago Beach, on the shore of a lake, as they do every year. It’s a tradition for them, as is Rose hanging out with the slightly younger neighbor girl Windy. But this time, we can tell […]

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Andre the Giant: Life and Legend

Review by KC Carlson Andre the Giant: Life and Legend by Box Brown is wonderfully small story about a wonderfully giant man. Andre Rousimoff was born with a rare condition called acromegaly, a syndrome often associated with gigantism. Unfortunately, besides just being large, other symptoms that affected Andre included aging prematurely, his brow and jaw growing more pronounced, and his heart, organs, and joints not being able to keep up with his growth. After finally being diagnosed as a young […]

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