Monday, August 12, 2013

Two Comics For Your Kids (or the Kid You Still Are on the Inside)

Recently, I was given two graphic novels to read, and it turns out that, even though I had no knowledge of what they were or, initially, who the authors were, I loved them both. I think people who read this might love them as well, and I know I'm personally somewhat sad that my kid won't be able to enjoy either of these for at least 7 years if not more, but as for the rest of us, come along behind the jump for some quick looks at Monster on the Hill by Rob Harrell and the first volume of Chris Giarrusso's G-Man, called Learning to Fly

Rob Harrell is behind Adam@Home, a syndicated comic strip I'm basically unfamiliar with. When I got this book and looked at the cover, my assumption was that it would be a fantasy comic that probably had a lot of heart and didn't do too much for me.

Wow, was I wrong.

Monster on the Hill portrays a society in old England (or is it Olde England?) where the small towns are terrorized by monsters. Terrorized is the wrong word, however, as most of the towns love having a monster wreak havoc upon them, as it's a great tourist attraction. Then there's Stoker-on-Avon, who has a monster, but he doesn't really do much. He hasn't attacked in decades, and the local economy is basically in shambles because people would much rather go to the towns where monsters actually attack. So the townspeople send out one of the local scientists to seek out the monster, figure out his problem, and perhaps get some attacking going again.

It's a surprisingly high concept for a book geared toward kids, and while it's fun for all ages, a lot of what's going on might be lost on kids not fully aware of classic dragon tales and such. That isn't a criticism of this book, however, which is hilarious in its setup and execution, with a lot of fun, random nods to basic stories and classic tropes. It has a message, of course, but it's not in your face, it doesn't beat you over the head. It's just there and it's pretty awesome along with anything else.

This is absolutely a book more people should read. I do hope it doesn't get lost in the shuffle, as it's one of my favorite things I've read this year.

G-Man is a super-fun, very cute middle-grade-level gateway book into the world of superheroes. This is more an omnibus-style book than anything, with two longer-form stories and a pile of small two-page tales about a young boy who gets superpowers and his superhero friends by the guy who brought us Mini Marvels and has branched out into his own original property.

It's really a throwback to when I remember getting Richie Rich and Lil' Devil comics when I was younger, with goofy 3rd grade humor and slapstick comedic violence with massive guns and massive heroes/villains to go with it. I probably read the entire thing with a massive smile on my face, and I was actually pretty sad when it was over. These appear to be getting some rereleases, and that I don't yet have volume 2 in my hand is, frankly, making me a little sad.

Great for anyone who likes superheroes. Great for anyone who knows kids who love superheroes. Great for anyone.

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