An entertaining, colorful adventure with a striking hero.

THE SAGA OF EVIL MONKEY MAN SEASON ONE

In this debut graphic novel, a man-turned-monkey dodges authorities while searching for a way to reverse the lab experiment that transformed him.

A lab explosion rocks the quiet hamlet of Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island. Mike Ross crawls out of the rubble, quickly alarmed upon realizing he’s a giant monkey. He can still talk, but that doesn’t placate locals, who flee from his sight or attack him. Fortunately, Lina Chin, who runs a kung fu studio, sympathizes. She and Mike head back to the lab, where they find scientist Dr. Menke Moon, a fully conscious head in a jar, and his odd assistant, Manny. Moon explains that his “project” was transport; he intended for Mike to switch places with a baboon, not to form a hybrid. When Moon promises he can “fix” Mike, their small group travels east to locate several necessary items. Meanwhile, FBI agents investigate the explosion and, in little time, pursue the monkey man. Mike and the others try staying ahead of the agents, though the hardest part seems to be keeping him hidden, especially once media outlets pick up the story. Seals’ breezy novel, which collects his comic book series’ first four “episodes,” is madcap fun. The tale is primarily visual. A flashback, for example, shows Moon—before he was just a head in a jar—brandishing a syringe for a project “volunteer.” And feds are depicted unknowingly passing by their monkey fugitive more than once. Bizarre turns sometimes unfold with nary an explanation, as when Mike and his friends apparently time travel. But as this book is the first installment of a trilogy, readers will hopefully learn in later volumes such things as the purpose of Moon’s key items (for example, a golden helmet). Mapa’s artwork is pristine, right down to characters’ facial expressions, from Moon’s maniacal grins to Mike’s scowls. This novel also includes the story’s genesis, which Seals based on a friend’s song, and its original five-page one shot, illustrated by Angelo Ty “Bong” Dazo.

An entertaining, colorful adventure with a striking hero.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73583-682-9

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Monarch Comics, LLC

Review Posted Online: Feb. 17, 2021

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Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times...

ROMEO AND JULIET

From the Campfire Classics series

A bland, uninspired graphic adaptation of the Bard’s renowned love story.

Using modern language, McDonald spins the well-known tale of the two young, unrequited lovers. Set against Nagar’s at-times oddly psychedelic-tinged backgrounds of cool blues and purples, the mood is strange, and the overall ambiance of the story markedly absent. Appealing to what could only be a high-interest/low–reading level audience, McDonald falls short of the mark. He explains a scene in an open-air tavern with a footnote—“a place where people gather to drink”—but he declines to offer definitions for more difficult words, such as “dirges.” While the adaptation does follow the foundation of the play, the contemporary language offers nothing; cringeworthy lines include Benvolio saying to Romeo at the party where he first meets Juliet, “Let’s go. It’s best to leave now, while the party’s in full swing.” Nagar’s faces swirl between dishwater and grotesque, adding another layer of lost passion in a story that should boil with romantic intensity. Each page number is enclosed in a little red heart; while the object of this little nuance is obvious, it’s also unpleasantly saccharine. Notes after the story include such edifying tidbits about Taylor Swift and “ ‘Wow’ dialogs from the play” (which culls out the famous quotes).

Pub Date: May 10, 2011

ISBN: 978-93-80028-58-3

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2011

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

MACBETH

From the Wordplay Shakespeare series

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

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: The New Book Press LLC

Review Posted Online: Nov. 7, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2013

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