Benny and Penny: Just Pretend

BennyBenny

Benny and Penny: Just Pretend, by best-selling children's book author Geoffrey Hayes, is an adorably illustrated graphic novel that features a day in the life of a sister and brother mouse duo. Benny is having fun playing pirates and Penny wants to join the fun. But big brother Benny will not be found playing with his pesky little sister. He tries to make her hide so good in hide and seek that she won’t find him again and then he’ll get to play all by himself. He soon finds out that maybe playing with someone, even your annoying crybaby little sister, is more fun than playing pretend by yourself. Hayes learned a similar lesson in his youth thanks to his tag-along little brother.

Free Comic Book Day!

Free Comic Book DayFree Comic Book Day

It's that time of year again. Spring is upon us and, along with being the birthday of Niccolo Machiavelli, Saturday, May 3 is Free Comic Book Day! What is Free Comic Book Day, you ask? It is a wonderful day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world give away comic books to anyone who comes into their stores. Local comic book shops that are participating include Get Your Game On, Vault of Midnight, and Fun 4 All. I'm especially looking forward to Tiny Titans! Too busy to go to the comic book store this Saturday? Fear not, true believer! Everyday is "free comic book day" at the library. AADL has thousands of comics and graphic novel titles available for checkout.

Fuzzy Times

The most recent collection of Get Fuzzy comics is titled Loserpalooza. Get Fuzzy is one of the funniest newspaper comics of all time, rivaling the ranks of Calvin and Hobbes, Foxtrot, and The Far Side. While we are on the topic of hilarious comics, give Unshelved a look the next time you are online. This is a funny interpretation of library life, through the eyes of reference librarian Dewey.

Meet Mat in Malaysia, in Lat's Graphic Novel, Kampung Boy

Kampung Boy by one of the most beloved cartoonists of Southeast Asia, Lat tell the story of Mat, a Muslim boy growing up on a rubber plantation in rural 1950s Malaysia. The sequel, Town Boy follows Mat as he attends boarding school, moves to the city and experiences budding romance and a growing passion for art. Recently available in the US Lat's autobiographical stories will take you to a time and a place that barely exists in Malaysia anymore. The warm and expressive pen-and-ink drawings will draw you into Mat's world.

Shazam!

Jeff Smith's take on Captain Marvel is finally available in the collected edition, Shazam! The Monster Society of Evil, and it's one of my favorites from 2007. Those of you who know and love Smith's Bone will not be disappointed. Captain Marvel has been brought into the present day world, but Smith has nailed the childlike quality of the hero perfectly. His art, his story, his dialogue, pacing, the sheer sense of wonder on display all reflect the age of the hero, young Billy Batson. Great story, great art.

Whiteout: Melt

U.S. Marshall Carrie Stetko is back in Antarctica in Whiteout: Melt, this time to investigate the mysterious explosion of a Russian research depot. Novelist Greg Rucka and Illustrator Steve Lieber team up on this beautifully done (and most deserving) Eisner winner. Lieber's brushwork is amazing, plus he's a master of zippotone!

If you missed the first four issue mini-series "Whiteout" (from Oni Press 1998), you can read the complete first issue for free at comicspace. Rumor has it that Rucka and Lieber are working on the third (and final) chapter of Carrie's story, "Whiteout: Thaw". The only hint Rucka has given is "Carrie's leaving the ice – the only question is how." A movie, directed by Dominic Sena and starring Kate Beckinsale as Carrie, is in the works and due for release in 2008.

Chicken and Cat

Comics artist Sara Varon seamlessly entered the realm of picture books with Chicken and Cat. She creates an abundantly cute and simple world in which chickens, cats, raccoons, bunnies, dogs, humans, and other creatures (all with built in pockets) can happily coexist--meaning ride bicycles and rollerskate in the same park and buy things from one another. Her illustrations are charming and amiably cluttered. One can't help but smile.

Kafka and Comics

In Kafka's The Trial, Josef K. finds himself the subject of undefined charges by an authority that is also never clearly defined. It is now 1986 and the accused 'K.' is in America for The Appeal. The great Will Eisner has added an interesting twist to the story--the judge is now the defendant. Eisner has a wonderful technique for flashbacks and the outcome of the new "trial" is priceless.
Peter Kuper has also done a wonderful job interpreting The Metamorphosis and Give It Up!:and other short stories. His black and white drawings, reminiscent of woodcut prints, result in a noisy, in your face, American take on German Expressionism.

Comics Workshop for Teens! Today!!

Hey! Want to learn more about comics? Working on a webcomic or graphic novel? Need some help developing your characters and making them more expressive?

Comics artist Jerzy Drozd will be at the Pittsfield Branch at 6:30pm today to teach you how. The focus of the workshop will be exploring, developing, and expressing the inner lives of comics characters in humorous stories.

Comics AND Science!

What better format through which to explore science than comics? Jim Ottaviani does a splendid job of introducing us to the scientists who shaped the 20th century (including one of my all time favorites Richard P. Feynman). His informative writing is enhanced by the illustrative stylings of many talented artists.

Jim Ottaviani will be at the Kerrytown Book Festival this Sunday (September 9) appearing on the Future of Comic Art panel with Jerzy Drozd, Kay Fedewa, and Chad Sell.

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