Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Kid-Friendly Comics, 12/23/09



Since new comics are released every Wednesday here in the States, I thought I'd organize a list of the kid-friendly comics available this week.  I've included links to previews where available.  Thanks to iFanboy for the list of new releases, and to Comic Book Resources for the previews. 

Only one comic is available on December 30th, but since I was busy with the holidays last week, I'm now posting last week's comics.

WALL-E #1 looks great...it's written by J. Torres, whose Days Like This I recently read and plan on reviewing soon.  I've used a picture book version of "WALL-E" in a sci-fi unit in my classroom, so I'm eager to check out the tone of this book.

Click on the titles of any of the collected editions and you'll be taken to my Amazon store, where you can order the titles at big discounts!

Single Issues:  
Collected Editions: 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Kid-Friendly Comics, 12/16/09


Since new comics are released every Wednesday here in the States, I thought I'd organize a list of the kid-friendly comics available this week.  I've included links to previews where available.  Thanks to iFanboy for the list of new releases, and to Comic Book Resources for the previews. 

I'm interested in The Complete Alice in Wonderland that begins this week; it's written by the same team that is writing The Complete Dracula, which I've enjoyed so far.

Also, check out my Amazon store, where almost all of the collected editions are discounted, some up to 30 percent!

Single Issues:  
  • Amazing Spider-Man #615 ($2.99)
  • Batman: The Brave and The Bold #12 ($2.50)
  • Betty & Veronica #245 ($2.50)
  • The Brave and The Bold #30 ($2.99)
  • The Complete Alice in Wonderland #1 ($4.99)
  • Jughead's Double Digest #156 ($3.99)
  • Marvel Super Hero Squad #4 ($2.99)
  • Marvelous Land of Oz #2 ($3.99)
  • Simpsons Comics #161 ($2.99) 
  • Superman/Batman #67 ($2.99)
  • Tales from Riverside Digest #36 ($2.69)
  • Tales of TMNT #65 ($3.25)
  • Tiny Titans #23 ($2.50)
  • Transformers #2 ($3.99)
  • Transformers Bumblebee #1 ($3.99)
  • Transformers Timeless Fall Special: Wings of Honor ($4.95)
  • Uncle Scrooge #386 ($2.99)
  • Walt Disney's Comics & Stories #701 ($2.99)
Collected Editions: 
  • Finding Nemo: Reef Rescue Trade Paperback ($9.99)
  • Showcase Presents: Wonder Woman Vol.3 Trade Paperback ($17.99)
  • Transformers Animated Vol. 12 Trade Paperback ($7.99)

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Review: “Alan's War: The Memories of G.I. Allan Cope”


Emmanuel Guibert
First Second
2008


When it comes to World War II stories, I've always separated them into two basic categories; stories of the victims of the concentration camps and stories of the soldiers.  The former I find fascinating, the latter...not so much.  Full disclosure here -- I'm an English teacher, and nearly every year of my career I've taught a novel told from the perspective of a Holocaust survivor.  Reading such gut-wrenching stories with my classes sometimes four times a day, there was a time in which I could recite whole passages of Elie Wiesel's Night from memory.   My students, who had themselves had suffered some pretty awful family traumas, found inspiration in the spirit of the prisoners of the concentration camps.  Unfortunately, novels that were classroom-appropriate and detailed the soldiers' stories were often bogged down by military jargon, making them impenetrable to my students (and admittedly, myself).  What I find unique about Alan's War is it's accessibility. Writer Emmanuel Guibert, through conversations with Cope, presents a soldier who understands his audience.  Military strategy is broken down into simple terms without trivializing the missions Cope and his company embark upon.  Couple this accessibility with the fascinating encounters between Cope an an eclectic cast of characters, and I've finally found a WWII soldier's story that I can sink my teeth into.  Oh, and did I mention that Alan's War is a graphic novel?  The best of this medium uses art to explicate what the written word cannot, and Alan's War does just that, with cinematic flair.

Written and drawn from interviews with Cope over a five-year stretch, Alan's War humanizes WWII without stumbling into war story tropes (i.e. the bloodthirsty/incompetent/father-figure leader & his rag-tag group of fresh-faced and naive soldiers).  Instead, Guibert literally paints a picture of the simple lessons a young man learns in the army.  Cope, a naturally gifted student, quickly ascends the ranks of the United States Army, but never loses the awe for the seemingly endless (and often fruitless) missions that take him all over Europe.  Throughout Alan's War Cope meets simple Swiss families and world renown poets, has friends disappear for years only to reappear in the strangest places, and revels in the few quiet moments he is allowed to enjoy as the War comes to an end.  Guibert's chooses which moments to illustrate quite well.  Though cross-sections of tanks and overhead illustrations of battlefields would not be out of place in the typical WWII story, Guibert forgoes this in favor of beautiful watercolors of French countrysides and shadowy back-lit trips in train-cars.  As the war comes to an end and Cope and his company sleep in requisitioned houses throughout Europe, it is the quiet moments that Cope seems to enjoy most, and it is those quiet moments that Guibert paints so well.

As his journey begins, Cope decides that it is his adventure alone, and for that reason there is no need to fear wherever the war might take him.  And it is here that Cope seems to explain just what is most appealing to me about this story -- that Alan's War, as the memories of one modest, thoughtful soldier, is a different story than I've read before.



NOTE: Take a look at Guibert's artistic process below.  Amazing!




Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New Kid-Friendly Comics, 12/9/09


Since new comics are released every Wednesday here in the States, I thought I'd organize a list of the kid-friendly comics available this week.  I've included links to previews where available.  Thanks to iFanboy for the list of new releases, and to Comic Book Resources for the previews. 

I know that I'll be grabbing the DC Universe Holiday Special -- they're pretty darn good every year, and have some heartwarming (if schmaltzy) stories about heroism that would be great to use in the classroom.   

This week, a reprint of JLA: Year One would be a nice pickup for students who want to get to know the whole DC universe.  Pick it up at my Amazon store, where almost all of the collected editions are discounted, some up to 30 percent!

Single Issues:  
Collected Editions: 
  • Amazing Spider-Man: Red-Headed Stranger Premiere Hardcover ($19.99)
  • JLA: Year One Trade Paperback ($19.99)
  • Marvel Adventures Spider-Man Vol. 11: Thwip Digest Trade Paperback ($9.99)
  • Runaways: Good Die Young Trade Paperback ($16.99)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New Kid-Friendly Comics, 12/4/09


Since new comics are released every Wednesday here in the States, I thought I'd organize a list of the kid-friendly comics available this week.  I've included links to previews where available.  Thanks to iFanboy for the list of new releases, and to Comic Book Resources for the previews. 

Note: Comics will be released on Thursday this week!

I'm excited for the new volume of Beanworld -- though I've only read one issue, I've heard it's fantastic for middle school students.  Pick it up at my Amazon store!  Almost all of the collected editions are discounted, some up to 30 percent!

Single Issues:  
  • Archie Double Digest #204 ($3.99)
  • Betty #183 ($2.50)
  • Cartoon Network Action Pack #44 ($2.50)
  • Donald Duck & Friends #348 ($2.99) 
  • Free Realms #4 ($3.99)
  • Incredibles #3 ($2.99)
  • Looney Toons #181 ($2.50)
  • Political Power #5: Ted Kennedy ($3.99)
  • Simpsons Winter Wingding #4 ($4.99)
  • Sonic the Hedgehog #207 ($2.50)
  • X-Babies #3 ($3.99)
Collected Editions: