Alphabetical Index of First Second

City of Spies

The appeal in this charming young adult graphic novel is how freshly City of Spies recombines familiar elements, from screwball comedies to Harriet the Spy. Evelyn dreams of being an old-fashioned superhero (like Bart Simpson does) while she’s adjusting to living with her free-spirited aunt (like Mame) in 1942 New York. Evelyn’s dad has sent her to spend the summer with Aunt Lia while he gets married again, and the poor girl just wants some stability and a decent role […]

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Brain Camp

I was curious about this summer camp mystery for two reasons: as a former kid genius, I loved the idea of a story set among smart kids, and I very much enjoy the work of artist Faith Erin Hicks (Zombies Calling, The War at Ellsmere). The second, at least, was not disappointing. Perhaps I’d created the wrong impression in my head about Brain Camp, written by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan, but I was let down. The “creating prodigies” aspect […]

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Foiled

Foiled is an oddly paced story of a girl discovering she’s intended for greater things and ultimately a prologue to a larger story yet to come. (A second volume is promised, to conclude the tale written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mike Cavallaro.) The plot’s familiar but well-told, as would be expected by Jane Yolen, who has hundreds of fantasy titles under her belt. Aliera’s not well-off, so her mother bought her fencing foil used, which is why it’s […]

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Prime Baby

Due out in April from First Second is Gene Luen Yang’s newest book, Prime Baby. It’s 64 pages for $6.99 in paperback. However, there’s no need to wait — the story was originally serialized in The New York Times Magazine and you can still read it all online. Based on doing so, I have to admit, I still don’t get Yang’s work. I know he’s highly acclaimed for American Born Chinese, but I couldn’t recommend or finish it because of […]

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Kaput and Zosky

Kaput and Zosky are evil aliens who want to conquer other planets but are terrifically bad at just about everything. As expected from a Lewis Trondheim project (with additional art by Eric Cartier), they’re also wonderfully cartooned and flat-out hilarious. Often, Kaput and Zosky do end up ruling, but it’s by accident, and then they can’t get rid of their new status fast enough, since they have no sense of achievement when that happens. They land on planets with gambling […]

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Life Sucks

Life Sucks when you’re a vampire without the exotic bearing, the classy clothes, and the family fortune. Dave only wanted a job as a convenience store night manager, but his boss, Radu, turned out to be a bloodsucker in more ways than one. Dave got turned into a thrall so Radu could order him around without paying him. Dave’s now a vampire, and it’s nothing but a drag. He used to be a vegetarian, but even now, he refuses to […]

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Little Vampire

Little Vampire contains three stories for all ages: “Little Vampire Goes to School”, “Little Vampire Does Kung Fu”, and “Little Vampire and the Canine Defenders Club”. The first two were previously published individually in 2003, but the latter, the most heart-warming, is newly translated. They’re as straightforward as their titles suggest, with charm that permeates situations any kid can relate to. In the first, the Little Vampire wants to go to school, so his ghost and monster friends make it […]

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Vampire Loves

Four of Joann Sfar’s graphic novellas are collected in English as Vampire Loves, featuring Ferdinand, a depressed vampire with an unlucky love life. As the book opens, Lani, a tree-girl, is attempting to return to Ferdinand. She cheated on him with his friend, but she’s willing to come back, although she takes no responsibility and blames him for not trusting her. He doesn’t want her back, but he hopes she returns, even leaving the door open when he goes out […]

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