A sweet and quirky romance sure to set hearts racing.

When the stakes are high, can an unlikely underdog team win the big race?

After falling into an underground cavern, sweet high schooler Ken Takamoto’s entire life changes: He meets the ghost of legendary Dante Willow, known as Speed Demon. Twenty years ago, Dante famously died during the Hex Americana car race against his rival—and then-boyfriend—Mason Higgs. Ken, a racing enthusiast, now finds himself entangled with Dante, who wants to find closure so he may pass over. Hex Americana founder Nate Orson, who trained Mason, challenges Ken to race for the Grand Prix, ultimately pitting him against Seth, Orson’s own son, who is now trained by Mason. Will Ken be able to win the race and also help the ghost he loves? Wolf’s full-color stand-alone graphic novel is wonderfully clever and weird, blending auto racing, fantasy tropes, and swoony romance. Readers are treated to everything from gnomes, a mechanically talented cyclops, a ghost prospector, and even Baba Yaga (who, of course, has a chicken-legged car). The worldbuilding is immersive and imaginative and offers recognizable parallels to our world as Ken navigates homophobia and toxic masculinity. In this delightfully nuanced and intricate tale of relationships, Wolf explores not only romantic love, but the challenges in parent-child relationships and friendships. Ken is gay, has light-brown skin and black hair, and refers to himself as “Yokai-American”; other humanoid characters are diverse in appearance.

A sweet and quirky romance sure to set hearts racing. (Graphic fiction. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 29, 2023

ISBN: 9781945820762

Page Count: 380

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: June 8, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2023


From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced...

A pairing of the text of the Scottish Play with a filmed performance, designed with the Shakespeare novice in mind.

The left side of the screen of this enhanced e-book contains a full version of Macbeth, while the right side includes a performance of the dialogue shown (approximately 20 lines’ worth per page). This granular focus allows newcomers to experience the nuances of the play, which is rich in irony, hidden intentions and sudden shifts in emotional temperature. The set and costuming are deliberately simple: The background is white, and Macbeth’s “armor” is a leather jacket. But nobody’s dumbing down their performances. Francesca Faridany is particularly good as a tightly coiled Lady Macbeth; Raphael Nash-Thompson gives his roles as the drunken porter and a witch a garrulousness that carries an entertainingly sinister edge. The presentation is not without its hiccups. Matching the video on the right with the text on the left means routinely cutting off dramatic moments; at one point, users have to swipe to see and read the second half of a scene’s closing couplet—presumably an easy fix. A “tap to translate” button on each page puts the text into plain English, but the pop-up text covers up Shakespeare’s original, denying any attempts at comparison; moreover, the translation mainly redefines more obscure words, suggesting that smaller pop-ups for individual terms might be more meaningful.

Even so, this remains Macbeth, arguably the Bard of Avon’s most durable and multilayered tragedy, and overall, this enhanced e-book makes the play appealing and graspable to students . (Enhanced e-book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 9, 2013


Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013


From the Campfire Graphic Novels series

A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

The timeless tale of the young and disaffected Danish prince who is pushed to avenge his father’s untimely murder at the hands of his brother unfolds with straightforward briskness. Shakespeare’s text has been liberally but judiciously cut, staying true to the thematic meaning while dispensing with longer speeches (with the notable exception of the renowned “to be or not to be” soliloquy) and intermediary dialogues. Some of the more obscure language has been modernized, with a glossary of terms provided at the end; despite these efforts, readers wholly unfamiliar with the story might struggle with independent interpretation. Where this adaptation mainly excels is in its art, especially as the play builds to its tensely wrought final act. Illustrator Kumar (World War Two, 2015, etc.) pairs richly detailed interiors and exteriors with painstakingly rendered characters, each easily distinguished from their fellows through costume, hairstyle, and bearing. Human figures are generally depicted in bust or three-quarter shots, making the larger panels of full figures all the more striking. Heavily scored lines of ink form shadows, lending the otherwise bright pages a gritty air. All characters are white.

A solid introduction for budding lovers of the Bard. (biography of Shakespeare, dramatis personae, glossary) (Graphic novel. 12-18)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-93-81182-51-2

Page Count: 90

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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