One Day a Dot: The Story of You, the Universe, and Everything

Almost no subject is too much for a children’s storybook, with the right approach, and One Day a Dot: The Story of You, the Universe, and Everything is proof. It tackles the formation of the universe in simple, understandable terms, with lovely images following from the Big Bang through the evolution of humanity and civilization. It’s written by Ian Lendler and illustrated by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb. A dot bursts into light and life. It’s given feelings by the […]

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The Little Bookshop Between

Luke Finch emailed me out of the blue to send me a copy of his comic The Little Bookshop Between. I wasn’t sure it sounded like my kind of story, but I loved it. It could be called horror, but it’s very much about hints and attitude, not gore or conventional scares, and there’s a surprising note of optimism under it all. An author coming from being told he needs to write more commercial, escapist work settles down at his […]

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Zen Pencils: Inspirational Quotes for Kids

The quotes in Zen Pencils: Inspirational Quotes for Kids by Gavin Aung Than are oddly chosen. The second is about training to avoid bleeding in battle, attributed to an Armed Forces motto, a strange choice to lead off a book of advice for youngsters. The meanings of several are still argued over by adults, so the “inspirational” nature is questionable. And several are mini-essays, trying the patience of a younger reader trying to understand the point. While a few of […]

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Showtime at the Apollo: The Epic Tale of Harlem’s Legendary Theater

Due out in January is a comic-format reworking of a significant entertainment history. Ted Fox’s 1983 book Showtime at the Apollo: The Story of Harlem’s World Famous Theater has been converted into a graphic novel illustrated by James Otis Smith. Showtime at the Apollo: The Epic Tale of Harlem’s Legendary Theater is clearly an adaptation of a prose work, with text boxes explaining key moments in the location’s history, but the illustrations add more hooks to show the reader just […]

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The Beatles Story

It’s an amazing period we live in, one where great comics from all eras are reprinted in book format and much more easily available than they used to be. The flip side of that boom in collected format is that a lot of publishers are sweeping the corners of the archives to find anything that might reach an audience. The Beatles Story feels like a cash-in, but that may be a side effect of how work from an earlier era […]

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The Altered History of Willow Sparks

The classic idea of a magical transformation, and the lesson of being careful what you wish for, is revisited in The Altered History of Willow Sparks by Tara O’Connor. This high school-set graphic novel does a terrific job with individual moments but doesn’t fully assemble them into a coherent whole. Willow has acne, one good friend, and a part-time job at the local library. Both she and her friend are bullied by the pretty, popular crowd, a situation Willow is […]

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Dash #5 — Return of the Gay Detective

After a three-year hiatus, I was curious to see how this supernatural noir mystery picked up. Smartly, writer Dave Ebersole begins the issue with a “story so far” section that fits nicely into the hardboiled PI’s tendency to monologue, in keeping with the genre, while bringing the forgetful reader up to speed with the current case. After a reminder that Dash was drummed off the police force for being gay, there’s a resurrected Egyptian mummy to stop and a mystical […]

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Check, Please!: #Hockey

Ngozi Ukazu’s immensely popular webcomic Check, Please! is here collected in the first of two volumes. Check, Please!: #Hockey covers the freshman and sophomore years of “Bitty”, a former figure-skating champion who’s playing hockey in college. He’s not your typical athlete, since he’s also an excellent baker and coming to terms with his authentic self. He’s also deathly afraid of being checked on the ice. This comic, like its lead, is adorable. It’s told as if we’re watching Bitty’s video […]

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