A comic horror tour de force.

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THE LAST HALLOWEEN

THE CHILDREN

When nightmarish creatures attack, the fate of humanity rests in the hands of a 10-year-old girl.

It is Halloween night, and all young Mona wants to do is trick-or-treat, but her parent is unable to take her. In the dark and gloom of night, monsters descend, and Mona finds herself absorbed into a motley but friendly crew of creatures: tween vampire Ringley, creepy living doll Robert, teenage ghoul Shirley, and Banjo the wereopossum. The nightmarish monster scourge has been unleashed by the presumed death of the Phagocyte, a magical being who keeps the balance between worlds. Can Mona and her friends find the Phagocyte’s heir before the monsters devour all of humanity? In this spectacularly wrought graphic offering, writer and artist Howard’s illustrations are unquestionably striking, utilizing a perfect mood-setting black-and-white pen-and-ink scheme and grabbing its reader with both the scope of its imagination and its clever use of perspective, including fish-eye shots. Despite its prepubescent protagonist, this is not a middle-grade tale; Howard has a keen eye for creative gore that may deter the squeamish, however, those who forge on will be utterly captivated by its unexpected heart and dark humor. Although Howard’s first volume in a proposed series is a hefty doorstop at nearly 450 pages, expect readers to blaze through it at wildfire speed and absolutely demand more. Mona’s parent is nonbinary; most characters appear to be White.

A comic horror tour de force. (character list, reader questions, guide to making a comic) (Graphic horror. 14-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-945820-66-3

Page Count: 442

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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THE ODYSSEY

Hinds adds another magnificent adaptation to his oeuvre (King Lear, 2009, etc.) with this stunning graphic retelling of Homer’s epic. Following Odysseus’s journey to return home to his beloved wife, Penelope, readers are transported into a world that easily combines the realistic and the fantastic. Gods mingle with the mortals, and not heeding their warnings could lead to quick danger; being mere men, Odysseus and his crew often make hasty errors in judgment and must face challenging consequences. Lush watercolors move with fluid lines throughout this reimagining. The artist’s use of color is especially striking: His battle scenes are ample, bloodily scarlet affairs, and Polyphemus’s cave is a stifling orange; he depicts the underworld as a colorless, mirthless void, domestic spaces in warm tans, the all-encircling sea in a light Mediterranean blue and some of the far-away islands in almost tangibly growing greens. Don’t confuse this hefty, respectful adaptation with some of the other recent ones; this one holds nothing back and is proudly, grittily realistic rather than cheerfully cartoonish. Big, bold, beautiful. (notes) (Graphic classic. YA)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-7636-4266-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2010

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A heartwarming, funny story filled with richness and complexity.

PUMPKINHEADS

Autumn loving, they had a blast; autumn loving, it happened too fast.

Having worked together in the Succotash Hut at the pumpkin patch for years, best friends and co-workers Deja and Josiah, who goes by Josie, ditch work and find love on their last night, heading out in search of Josie’s unrequited love, the girl who works in the Fudge Shoppe. Deja, a witty and outgoing girl who attracts—and is attracted to—boys and girls alike, is set on helping the shy, rule-following Josie move out of his comfort zone before they part ways for college. Deja encourages Josie to take a chance and talk to the girl of his dreams instead of pining for her from afar. Not to be dissuaded by his reticence, Deja leads Josie to multiple stops in the Patch in search of the almost-impossible-to-find Fudge Girl, with every stop taking them in a new direction and providing a new treat. As they journey through the Patch—chasing a snack-stealing rascal, dodging a runaway goat, and snacking their way through treats from fudge to Freeto pie—they explore the boundaries of their friendship. Visually bright and appealing in autumnal reds, oranges, and yellows, the art enhances this endearing picture of teenage love. Deja is a beautiful, plus-sized black girl, and Josie is a handsome, blond white boy.

A heartwarming, funny story filled with richness and complexity. (Graphic fiction. 14-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62672-162-3

Page Count: 224

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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