Delicious fun that’s out of this world.

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LIGHTS, CAMERA, SNACKTION!

From the Space Battle Lunchtime series , Vol. 1

An Earth pâtissière is beamed up to an intergalactic cooking competition reminiscent of Iron Chef.

With oversized glasses, light skin, and a hairstyle reminiscent of Lucy’s from “Peanuts,” Peony spends her days whipping up culinary delights at the bakery where she works. However, one fateful day, she is visited by a bespectacled frog who invites her to participate in a competition to find "the greatest chef in the galaxy." Suddenly, Peony finds herself on Space Battle Lunchtime, a televised show staged in an out-of-this-world kitchen with alien ingredients (literally) and odd appliances unlike anything she’s ever seen. Undaunted by her exotic surroundings, Peony finds that her relentless optimism and cooking know-how help her persevere and woo the extraterrestrial judges. Threatened by her success, her ET opponents are not above sabotage, and Peony soon discovers the lengths some of them would go to ensure she does not win. Will Peony survive, or is this just the way her cookie crumbles? Riess' series opener is highly imaginative and enjoyable, with strong worldbuilding working joyfully alongside bright and humorous illustrations. An odd yet well-spun mixture of food fiction and space tales, with a dash of pop culture, this unusual charmer defies genre conventions and seems to revel in its own sheer individuality and campy wonder.

Delicious fun that’s out of this world. (Graphic science fiction. 7-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-62010-313-5

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Oni Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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Brutally explicit visuals add immediacy to a serviceable but not exceptional historical overview.

WORLD WAR ONE

1914-1918

From the Campfire History series

Graphic in both senses, a history of the War to End All Wars with a fictional overlay.

The narrative uses the experiences of British Tommy George Smith in the trenches to put a human face on the broader pictures of events in various theaters of the war. It opens with the almost-accidental assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, then goes on to tally land and sea battles, the exploits of T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) and other iconic figures. It covers technological advances, from poison gas to tanks, and distinctive events like the Christmas Truce. George’s bitter judgments of “the generals” who ordered millions of “[y]oung lives thrown away for no real reason” accompany scene after scene of sodden, muddy misery, bullets blasting into soldiers’ bodies and fields strewn with corpses. The war behind the lines and at home is rarely seen, and though other participants occasionally step in for a few panels, the point of view is so Anglocentric that the German and even Russian sides merit barely a glance. Most of the casualty figures and other statistics are buried in the text, and though backmatter includes notes on a Croix de Guerre–winning homing pigeon and other animal “heroes,” there is no index or bibliography.

Brutally explicit visuals add immediacy to a serviceable but not exceptional historical overview. (maps, sheet music) (Graphic fiction/nonfiction hybrid. 11-14)

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-93-80741-85-7

Page Count: 116

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: March 31, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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HARRY HOUDINI

A clumsy graphic biography of the renowned illusionist. Capturing the last six weeks or so of Houdini’s life, it shows him as a hardworking perfectionist with the ultimate “show-must-go-on” attitude. Taking a young apprentice under his wing, Houdini teaches him the art of magic, up to his untimely death. The boy’s uncle, a fan, contributes interstitial “journal entries.” As biography, this book is hugely problematic. Odd inconsistencies within the narrative include a faux–New York Times article from the day of Houdini’s death; readers may well think the text is from the actual publication, when in fact it is not. With no source notes or other background information provided, there is no way for readers to know where the author has taken artistic license. Also conspicuously missing are any recommendations for further reading or suggestions of websites to visit. Singh’s art is bland, leaving a dull patina on typically exciting subject matter. Skip this altogether and grab Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi’s exquisite—and better-researched—Houdini: The Handcuff King (2007). (Graphic biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: July 27, 2010

ISBN: 978-93-80028-25-5

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Campfire

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2010

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