Quirky, unconventional, and a lot of fun.

READ REVIEW

ANOTHER CASTLE

GRIMOIRE

A royal damsel, finding herself in distress, decides to save the day—and not one, but two kingdoms.

Clad almost entirely in bubble-gum pink, with artfully windblown scarlet tresses and pinkish-brown skin, Princess Artemisia of Beldora at first glance seems to be a typical princess—until she throws a pair of scissors through a darling songbird she identifies as a spy. The princess is awaiting a proposal from pale-skinned Prince Pete, a nice guy but not much of a fighter. The scrappy princess is soon kidnapped by the monstrous Lord Badlug, who killed her mother and now imprisons her in his castle in his kingdom, Grimoire. Rather than waiting for her prince to come, she vows to free herself and save both her own kingdom and Grimoire. Artemisia finds unexpected allies in Badlug's lands: the rightful prince of Grimoire, a black man; his on-again,off-again monster boyfriend; and a kindhearted gorgon who stuns but can’t petrify. Together they seek to defeat Badlug and his monsters. Their medieval-ish world is evinced through an unabashedly vibrant palette of candy-tinged hues among neatly delineated panels. There is a diverse mix of skin tones, genders, orientations, and ages among both humans and monsters; this motley crew gives a broad range of readers someone to identify with and to root for. The conceit of the princess saving the day may not be entirely new, but don't let that be a deterrent: Wheeler's take is offbeat and fresh.

Quirky, unconventional, and a lot of fun. (Graphic fantasy. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62010-311-1

Page Count: 152

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2016

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Delightfully snarky existentialism that reads like the millennial descendant of “Love Is.” (Graphic fiction. 14-adult)

SMALL HOURS

A MRS. FROLLEIN COLLECTION

Originally a webcomic, Minelli’s vignettes ruminate on life, love, and anxiety.

Black-and-white (with the occasional color accent), this anthology collects a series of mostly four-paneled comic strips (with the occasional six- or eight-panel length bits). Populated mainly by an unnamed female character and her similarly unnamed boyfriend, this bitingly observant collection depicts the most mundane aspects of everyday life and relationships—sharing a bed with a partner, feeling anxiety in a world seemingly overwhelmed with unending horrors—through an empathetically humorous lens. Most of the sketches examine more adult problems, however many, like those focusing on self-doubt or finding joy, are universal. In the wordless piece “Thank You,” the unnamed main character sits on her bed in a dark room and cries only to be comforted by the arrival of her dog. In another, “So Cute,” the male character reflects on how adorable his girlfriend is while sleeping—until she farts on him. The foreword by Jonathan Kunz and Elizabeth Pich explains their theory of #sadbutfunny and describes how Minelli strives to impart readers with a sense of hope. With a nod toward introversion, all things comfy, and love of geek culture, expect this to resonate with fans of webcomic “Sarah Scribbles” by Sarah Andersen or Book Love by Debbie Tung (2019). Both unnamed characters are white.

Delightfully snarky existentialism that reads like the millennial descendant of “Love Is.” (Graphic fiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62010-715-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2020

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Readers will look forward to the next volume.

DODGE CITY

From the Dodge City series , Vol. 2

The multicultural members of the hapless Jazz Pandas dodgeball team try to win while dealing with their personal issues.

New member Tomás, who is Latinx, is looking for a place to belong, but his athletic abilities are sorely lacking. Drew, the African-American female team captain, has skills but is under stress from all the extracurricular activities she is doing for her college applications. Elsie, an athletic white teen, wants to play well but misses the romantic relationship she once shared with Drew. East Asian Judith is a fierce competitor, while Huck, who is Deaf, communicates through his phone. Amardeep is Sikh and probably their best player, but he is often missing. In addition to their losing record and internal squabbles, the team has a reputation for cheating, something that led Judith’s brother to quit. Drew decides to give up being captain, and the role falls to Tomás as they head into the championship tournament a bit banged up and about to face their rivals, the Kettle Balls—but Chase’s return gives them a boost. This is an action-packed comic with vibrant, bright, full-color drawings in a style that highlights the constant movement of the sport. Multiple relationships and the team backstory are revealed without slowing down the plot, and the variety of ethnicities and genders apparent through the drawings also add to the appeal.

Readers will look forward to the next volume. (Graphic novel. 14-18)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68415-247-6

Page Count: 112

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

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