Not all philistines are aliens, but Marty is pretty sure at least one of them is.
Marty Pants is an artist—has been since birth—and he always wears black. However, his teacher, Mr. McPhee, tries to discourage Marty’s artistic tendencies, especially when Marty submits self-drawn comics in lieu of factual essays for assignments. When Marty finds a note saying “AN ALIEN IS OBSERVING YOU,” Marty seeks the advice of his friend Parker. She tells him to stop watching so many alien movies. When Marty finds a folder on Mr. McPhee’s computer marked with the titular instruction, he of course disobeys and spots the word “annihilate.” Of course: McPhee is an alien bent on planetary destruction. Marty must save the world while dodging bullies and avoiding his perfect older sister, Erica (who “changes the spelling [of her name] almost as often as she changes her mood,” which makes for an amusing running gag). However, Marty keeps ending up in embarrassing situations…all while being observed by the quiet new girl, Analie. Can Marty save the world? Off the Mark cartoonist Parisi’s prose-and-cartoon series kickoff is a winner. Clueless, conclusion-jumping, creative kid Marty’s artistic streak and an unexpected twist make this stand out. All the characters are paper white, but Parker’s exuberantly kinky black hair may allow some readers to see in her a child of color.
Just different enough from the others in the genre to be a welcome addition. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 7-11)