This soldier of fortune’s worst nightmare: Pink PowderPuff Summer Camp for Girls!
Ten-year-old Rip Haywire and his talking dog, TNT (whose temperament doesn’t match his name), usually accompany Rip’s adventurer dad on dangerous missions. They recover jewels from jungle temples, save Arabian towns from sorcerous chewing-gum manufacturers, rescue climbers from a yeti, and even battle alien robots in space. But Dad wants Rip to have friends his own age, so he sends Rip and TNT to camp (and has his buddies fortify security to make the camp escape-proof). Rip’s trapped for the summer with (ugh) girls. Then he meets Breezy, who promises intel about a secret way out if Rip will help her find gold at an “Indian pyramid” and give the credit to her grandfather, a frustrated adventurer. The mission and the summer don’t go as expected, but Rip does make friends. Thompson’s tongue-in-cheek parody of he-man, boys’ adventures is chock-full of black-and-white comic-style panels and dotted with mazes and rebus puzzles (answers at the back). Rip’s over-the-top past exploits (biting sharks, fleeing mummies, psychoanalyzing an anaconda) are goofy fun, but though the story is clearly satiric, it does nothing to question stale adventure-story tropes, and there is no apparent attempt at ethnic diversity among the campers.
Saturday-morning–cartoon high jinks—and that’s about it. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-12)