Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #1

Marvel

Release Date:  11/25/15

Words:  Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare

Pictures:  Natacha Bustos

The Sitch:

Lunella Lafayette is a preteen super genius who wants to change the world with her super brain. Her fear of the monstrous INHUMAN genes inside her drive her desire to be part of the science that makes the world a better place. Her life is turned upside down when a savage, red-scaled tyrant from the prehistoric past is teleported to a distant future we know as PRESENT DAY.  Together, the pair become not just the most inspiring Marvel Team-Up, but the cutest.

The Confession:

It’s not a secret that I love most anything with a relatable female protagonist, especially of the younger variety. Little girls need all the representation and diversity they can get. Lunella is the hero we both need and deserve. She is proof that the most powerful things can come from the smallest of packages. She is the awkward girl genius that is picked on for not quite fitting in. Her mind is constantly on the next big project, always striving for better despite rejections and facing people who don’t understand her goals. Her determination, bravery, and super brain are all she needs to be the hero all girls can look up to. Lunella is so freaking adorable and kick ass that I made my twelve year old daughter read it. My daughter is often a difficult one to please and she actually liked this one. She was smiling when she said it was “cool.” I knew that she related to Lunella perfectly when upon her returning it to me she immediately initiated her own discussion of evolution. (Yes, I’m shamelessly proud.) Those familiar with Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur will know the other half of this new dynamic duo. There are a few pages that wrap up Moon Boy’s relationship with Devil Dinosaur before he crosses over to Lunella’s brave new world. With Reeder and Montclare writing together one should assume a good story is in good hands.

Bustos’ art fits nicely with the story. There is a grounding realism to her work while, at the same time, being super cute. Her action sequences are clear cut and at a level appropriate for younger readers, that can still be appreciated by adults. The colors are bright and colorful for all ages without taking away any of the validity of the story. I liked seeing how diverse Lunella’s world is, as seen in a realistic school room in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Also, big love to seeing a poster of Neil Degrasse Tyson over Lunella’s bed.

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There is much promise in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur for all readers. If you are looking for something all ages to inspire that special little female in your life, this is the book to start her on. Pull list worthy all the way.

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Super Sikh #1

Super Sikh Comics

Release Date:  April 2015

Words:  Eileen Kaur Alden & Supreet Singh Manchanda

Pictures:  Amit Tayal

The Sitch:

There is a new superhero in the comic world. He fights for justice, equality, and good against evil as any self respecting superhero would, but, even better, is he fights racial and religious stereotypes. He is Super Sikh and as his tagline says, he “loves Elvis, hates bad guys.” Meet Secret Agent Deep Singh who works as an I.T. guy by day and a SAS Special Forces-trained Secret Agent by night. He uses his Sikh principles to guide him to always do the right thing, standing up for injustice and innocents without hesitation and without any other motivations other than doing what is right for the sake of doing the right thing. Super Sikh is not supernatural and has no superpowers. He is trained, educated and is multicultural, making him not just the perfect role model for young people (or old, really) but by just existing he sends the clear and powerful message that he is not so different from us and what we are capable of making the world a better place.

The Confession:

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this first issue of this book. Many thanks to Alden for bringing this to my attention. I do LOVE indie comics the best because there is so much exciting things going on off the mainstream road. I love and respect the idea of using the medium of comics to break down stereotypes and educate the masses, especially when targeted to the younger readers. In the opening pages alone I was sold, seeing Deep Singh fight the big bad, the ego-maniacal Taliban commander Salar Al Amok, who is burning books and “freeing” women of “the curse of education.” Yes, it totally appealed to the multicultural female in me, especially when a little girl draws him a picture of the hero she sees him as: a caped supe, rocking his turban proudly.

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The writing is solid, appealing to all age groups. Alden’s research into the Sikh culture is very impressive. In fact, she is the first known person to actually become Sikh from having done such extensive research for a comic book. I’m especially excited to see more of Deep’s cousin, Preeti, who happens to be an uber-smart tech specialist working for the same organization as her cousin. (Uh, how rad is her Kara bracelet!?)

Tayal’s artwork is outstanding. He has won many Comic-Con India awards and has been published internationally.  His work is simply beautiful to look at and he makes these characters really pop on the page.  His use of color and the way he shows facial expressions are fun as well as beautiful.

If you can get a copy of this cool comic in your hot little hands you will not be disappointed. In fact, I hope Super Sikh book all schools can begin to carry in their libraries! If you are at Metropolis, ask us how we can help you get it. If you are online please check out their online store:  http://www.supersikhcomics.com/.  Help get the word out on this one, Super Sikh deserves to be distributed to the masses at large.

Super Sikh Kickstarter Video

Silk #1

Marvel

Release Date:  2/18/15

Words:  Robbie Thompson

Pictures:  Stacey Lee

The Sitch:

Having been bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker in the first arc of Amazing Spider-Man as well as having spent time traversing through the Spider-verse alongside Spider-Woman, Cindy Moon is on her own in New York City.  Cindy is searching for her past and defining her future, while “webbing up wrong-doers” as Silk.

The Confession:

Finally I am inspired to get excited about comics again.  I mean really excited, like the day I was given that tattered box full of old comics from my dad.  The world of comics has not always been so considerate of the female readership.  We had to make do with the exploitation of the women depicted in comics (Duh, the ridiculousness of revealing costumes?  Please, how could a girl keep her identity secret in a mask and a ribbon barely covering her naughty bits and at the same time kick some major ass?) and the blatant disrespect (Uh, I don’t think I have to explain the “Women in Refrigerators” phenomenon, do I?  Google it.) of our roles in stories.  Being a mother to two growing girls I’m appalled that this is still an issue.  Imagine my joy when I stumble upon more and more of these comics for girls to enjoy without that tickling feeling of exclusion us older ladies felt in the not-so-distant past!  Also, I have to say, there cannot be enough good Asian female superheroes.  The little Asian girl in me is seriously happy right now.

But I digress…

Silk #1 – I’m sold. Intrigued even.

Sure, it’s not completely original.  Silk’s life mirrors her male predecessor in many ways, same radioactive spider, family issues, working her day job at the Daily Bugle, and the general struggle with balancing normal life and superhero life.  Maybe that will be enough to grab the interest of both longtime readers of comics and those just beginning.  She does gets a strong and respectable introduction by a relatively unknown team of creators. In fact, I did not know that Robbie Thompson is a writer of TV’s Supernatural until after I read the issue.  It made sense that while I was reading it, it felt pleasantly familiar.  There are little treasures of smart snark sprinkled throughout which made the story move forward quickly with an already established and easily investable heroine.  I like that.

The art by Stacey Lee gives the book a youthful vibe. It’s a bit cartoony but with a lot more emotion in regards to characterization.  It’s almost manga-ish and almost realistic-ish, if that makes any sense.  Basically, it is simply pretty to look at, fluid and fun to follow, and gives enough whimsy to the the action to hook all levels and types of comic book lovers.

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Get Silk on your pull list now.

Skyward #1

Action Lab

Release Date:  7/31/13

Words:  Jeremy Dale

Pictures:  Jeremy Dale

The Sitch:

Quinn is a young boy living an idyllic life in the woods with his mentoring father, loving mother, and loyal family dog until a man from his father’s past comes for a visit and changes Quinn’s world forever.

The Confession:

This is a familiar story of boy with the idyllic life meets the cold hard truth of life.  That’s not to say it’s bad.  I picked this one up because it looked like a promising all ages kind of book, something not so easy to find these days.  It’s sort of classic.  These are the kind of stories I grew up with in which a young person, usually a boy, faced with great and sudden loss, is forced to grow up too soon.  He has no choice but to embark on an adventure that will make him into the man he’s destined to be.  In this case it’s Quinn.

Dale seems at home in this kind of storytelling.  The story moves along with ease quite quickly.  The reader gets a sense of Quinn’s peaceful and happy life just before it gets turned upside down.  The first book is always the setup, and the reader can quickly get a sense of all the characters save one, Quinn’s mother.  She gets the woman in the refrigerator treatment and is my biggest complaint.  To be fair, I learned there was a preview of Skyward on Free Comic Book Day’s Rush Zone also by Dale from Action Lab.  It did depict a strong female character that I assume will be coming up in the story so I’m not too upset just yet.

Dale’s artwork is consistent with the story.  It has a more all ages accessible look to it.  He uses a lot of vibrant colors so that even the dark parts of the story don’t look so dark.  The characters are well defined and detailed with that youthful vibe.  It almost has that cartoony look but if you look again, it’s just a bit more than that, again, consistent with the story.

That being said, it’s still not a bad read.  Especially if one is looking for something to read along with their kiddos.  I am actually more than hopeful that Dale will show me how to forgive him for throwing mom into the fridge.