Just try to put it down.

READ REVIEW

THE CHANCELLOR AND THE CITADEL

Frantz introduces readers to a world of spirits suffused in tension and magic in her debut solo graphic novel.

The citadel is a tightly guarded spirit fortress. The world outside is full of chaotic human unrest. Between them stands the chancellor—a cloaked figure whose face is perpetually hidden in the shadows of a hood. Sometimes called a witch, sometimes a “window walker,” the chancellor’s true identity is unknown. Her powers are all but limitless, to the benefit of those she protects and the detriment of those who threaten her and her people. But that kind of power comes at a cost; it breeds fear among those who don’t understand it, and innumerable atrocities have been committed in the name of fear. Frantz immerses readers in a world that feels so much bigger than the brief glimpse readers get here they will dearly hope for more. It is no small talent to so effectively deploy the unknown and the unseen in a narrative to create such visual and textual richness. Even with an inviting and masterfully paced art style, the exploration of violence begetting violence cannot help but be heavy, but the added questions of magical powers, the origin of a city of spirits, and the chancellor’s role in it all break up the density. The world Frantz creates is a racially diverse one.

Just try to put it down. (Fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-945820-26-7

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Iron Circus Comics

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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A delightfully quirky series whose eccentric charms haven’t faltered.

THE CASE OF THE FORKED ROAD

From the Bad Machinery series , Vol. 7

In this seventh installment, the sleuths from Griswold’s Grammar School unravel yet another case involving a mysterious portal and a time-bending troublemaker.

Once again, the six young British gumshoes find themselves in the midst of something both puzzling and strange. As puberty looms, the group—three girls and three boys—has become divided along gender lines. The girls begin to watch an unusual student who is always—and somewhat anachronistically—rambling on about communists, while the boys start investigating a malevolent trio of classmates. With the discovery of a wormhole in their science lab and the changing of recent events, the group must converge and figure out a way to stop the time-traveling wrongdoers from rewriting history. As Allison’s series has progressed, the characters have aged with it, bringing increasing complexity to each case but maintaining its whimsy and never taking itself too seriously. Like its predecessors, this volume relates a complete case and works well as a stand-alone, though it has enough quiet in-jokes to reward devoted followers. Allison’s attention to detail in his characters is playful, with an especially keen eye to his protagonists’ stylish sartorial choices. However, those seeking diversity may be happier elsewhere; his mainstays are nearly all white, save for one who is black.

A delightfully quirky series whose eccentric charms haven’t faltered. (Graphic mystery/fantasy. 10-14)

Pub Date: May 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62010-390-6

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2017

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Taking advantage of a very fast-growing fan base, this outing aims to expand Olatunji’s branded empire with a video...

KUNG FU HERO AND THE FORBIDDEN CITY

A COMEDYSHORTSGAMER GRAPHIC NOVEL

YouTube sensation ComedyShortsGamer takes his signature blend of hilarity and hijinks on an unbelievable journey into the fantastical Beijing underground with his brother/nemesis, KSI.

With over 9 million subscribers and 3 billion views on his YouTube channel, Olatunji has become an icon of sorts for his idiosyncratic mix of gamer culture, internet pranks, and viral challenges. First published in the U.K. in 2017, this graphic novel allows Olatunji to bring some of the more costly “crazy ideas that go on in [his] head” into print, embracing the adolescent ridiculousness that brought him and his brother international fame. The plot: In an effort to bring the family together—and get the boys away from video games—the Olatunjis take a family trip to Beijing, where one intricate Deji-led prank leads the Triad crime syndicate to believe he may have heroic kung-fu powers and pose a threat to their takeover of the Forbidden City. All this is further complicated with a stereotypical (if not just downright problematic) pseudo-Chinese mythological quest that has world-ending implications. These characters might as well have been stolen from bad gamer archetypes: the “smokin’ hot love interest,” the street punks and the crime boss with “bad ass haircuts,” and let’s not forget Shi—a beer-drinking, cigar-smoking, woman-ogling, “very inappropriate”–talking, animated Chinese lion dog statue. A clue to the tale’s end is noted in Deji’s introductory character bio: “It’s usually some freaky twist of fate that gets Deji out of sticky situations.” This whole ordeal seems nothing but a sticky situation.

Taking advantage of a very fast-growing fan base, this outing aims to expand Olatunji’s branded empire with a video game–inspired graphic fantasy but delivers nothing more than cheap prepubescent thrills. (Graphic fantasy. 12-14)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4091-7428-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Trapeze/Hachette

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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