Superb. (Graphic short-story anthology. 7-12)

EXPLORER

THE MYSTERY BOXES

An outstanding out-of-the box anthology from renowned comics veteran Kibuishi.

Kibuishi’s Flight series for adults (collected in Flight, 2011), spurred a spin-off, Flight Explorer (2008), a volume specifically written for a younger audience. Both anthologies were strong on art but held no cohesive theme; this volume preserves the strong artistic stylization of its predecessors, but also employs a unifying theme—"what’s in the box"—throughout the slick and imaginative collection. The seven tales, from artists both established and up-and-coming, span the spectrum from a serious and moralistic tale of war and vengeance in “The Soldier’s Daughter” to seriously silly and fun alien hijinks in "Whatzit" to a dark and creepy yarn about doll that comes alive with a sinister purpose in "Under the Floorboards" to the light and sweet "Spring Cleaning," replete with wizards and reunited love. This volume eloquently demonstrates how well short stories work in the comics medium and Kibuishi's masterful chops as an editor. By cleverly applying the thematic catalyst to an already-winning formula, Kibuishi deftly fends off staleness. With eye-popping full-color art and palettes ranging from candy-colored to ethereal earth tones, this is both a visual feast for the eyes and a healthy helping of thought for the soul.

Superb. (Graphic short-story anthology. 7-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-4197-0010-1

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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Formulaic but rousingly gruesome in some spots and thought-provoking in others.

I SURVIVED THE ATTACK OF THE GRIZZLIES, 1967

THE GRAPHIC NOVEL

From the I Survived Graphic Novel series , Vol. 5

A child mourning the loss of her mom “bears” witness to the consequences of strewing the natural landscape with garbage.

In this graphic-novel adaptation of a 2018 entry in Tarshis’ long-running I Survived series—in which invented storylines are layered over historical incidents—it’s 1967, and Mel (Vega in the original, though her last name is never mentioned here) has reluctantly agreed to continue a family tradition in the wake of her mother’s death by visiting her grandpa in Montana’s Glacier National Park. She is terrified when a bear attacks the cabin door one night. Later, she and Cassie, a writer friend of her mom’s, meet up with a researcher whose own father had been bloodily killed in an earlier attack and discover that a local resort has been dumping garbage nearby to draw bears for a nightly show that people, including even park rangers, avidly gather to watch. That evening, in a narrow escape that is also put to use as an opening teaser, Mel herself is savagely wounded. Two deaths that occurred in real life that summer, plus the shooting of the bears involved (talk about blaming the victims!), happen offstage, but the live and dead bears in Pekmezci’s neatly drawn wilderness scenes look feral enough to have readers attending closely to the safety guidelines in the backmatter—and understanding the dangers of letting wild animals become dependent on our detritus. Like others in the series, this one follows a predictable trajectory, but readers should find it absorbing. Mel is brown-skinned, Cassie appears to be Black, and the researcher is light-skinned.

Formulaic but rousingly gruesome in some spots and thought-provoking in others. (afterword, photos, timeline, resource lists) (Graphic novel. 9-11)

Pub Date: May 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-76691-2

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2022

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An apparent tribute to Victorian-era antiquarianism and all the gaping research holes therein.

A NATURAL HISTORY OF MAGICK

David compiles a curio collection of surface-level research into the various historical practices feeding current New Age magick.

Introduced as a mysteriously found “scrapbook,” dated 1925, of one Conrad Gessner, the book maintains its sense of authenticity with bland Eurocentrism. Beginning with “A Brief History of Magick,” David (as Gessner) provides a first-person narration of magick practices through a typical Western timeline: ancient Egypt, classical-era Greece and Rome, and “Modern,” with a single spread dedicated to both the entire African continent (exclusive of Egypt) and the Middle East. Following this (brief indeed!) history, each spread provides an overview into a single form of magick, including divination, alchemy, potion-making, and more. Notably absent is any explicit mention of Christianity (a fairly major contemporaneous counterpoint), any explanation of the relationship between star signs and the stars, and the entire continents of North and South America, bar a single sentence mentioning Machu Picchu and one throwaway mention of vague “First Nations peoples’ ” associations with the moon. Also, nowhere in the text is an explanation of the difference between occult “magick”—with a K—and stage “magic”—without. It’s pleasantly and thoroughly illustrated in pencil and watercolor, with diverse humans and nods to the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck. Still, despite the cloth binding and ribbon marker, readers will find more amusement in Candlewick’s venerable ’Ology series.

An apparent tribute to Victorian-era antiquarianism and all the gaping research holes therein. (Fiction. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7112-6207-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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