Whether sports fans, fantasy enthusiasts, or just comics lovers, readers will be eager for more adventures with this...

FANTASY SPORTS

From the Fantasy Sports series , Vol. 1

A young wizard apprentice and a brutish tomb raider rebound from a deadly pickup game.

Wiz-Kid, a teenage intern, has learned that her reassignment request has been denied; she is mandated to continue assisting Mug, a temperamental, muscle-bound tomb raider. Each at odds with the other, they are sent out into the field to acquire magical artifacts, coming face to face with He of the Giant Steps, a cunning guardian mummy. In order to get the job done, they have to consent to the “ancient law,” which in this case requires Mug to best Giant Steps in a game of basketball. Seldom does Wiz produce her wand—once to light dark areas and again to distract Giant Steps during the match. She may be an intern, but she serves as the lead, an astute and agile heroine who gives readers a new, strong female character in the comics world. A scene in which she steals the ball from Giant Steps and flips him the middle finger is hilarious, albeit a tad out of character. Bosma’s manga-inspired panels toggle among fiery orange-reds (for hotheaded, muscle-bound Mug), cool hues (for smart, collected Wiz), and neon yellow-greens (for foul, ancient Giant), representing each athlete. Bosma successfully blends fantasy, myth, and sports to kick off this new modern comic(al) series.

Whether sports fans, fantasy enthusiasts, or just comics lovers, readers will be eager for more adventures with this unlikely duo . (Graphic fantasy. 12-18)

Pub Date: July 14, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-907704-80-2

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Nobrow Ltd.

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2015

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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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Gorgeous and troubling.

HEART OF DARKNESS

Cartoonist Kuper (Kafkaesque, 2018, etc.) delivers a graphic-novel adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s literary classic exploring the horror at the center of colonial exploitation.

As a group of sailors floats on the River Thames in 1899, a particularly adventurous member notes that England was once “one of the dark places of the earth,” referring to the land before the arrival of the Romans. This well-connected vagabond then regales his friends with his boyhood obsession with the blank places on maps, which eventually led him to captain a steamboat up a great African river under the employ of a corporate empire dedicated to ripping the riches from foreign land. Marlow’s trip to what was known as the Dark Continent exposes him to the frustrations of bureaucracy, the inhumanity employed by Europeans on the local population, and the insanity plaguing those committed to turning a profit. In his introduction, Kuper outlines his approach to the original book, which featured extensive use of the n-word and worked from a general worldview that European males are the forgers of civilization (even if they suffered a “soul [that] had gone mad” for their efforts), explaining that “by choosing a different point of view to illustrate, otherwise faceless and undefined characters were brought to the fore without altering Conrad’s text.” There is a moment when a scene of indiscriminate shelling reveals the Africans fleeing, and there are some places where the positioning of the Africans within the panel gives them more prominence, but without new text added to fully frame the local people, it’s hard to feel that they have reached equal footing. Still, Kuper’s work admirably deletes the most offensive of Conrad’s language while presenting graphically the struggle of the native population in the face of foreign exploitation. Kuper is a master cartoonist, and his pages and panels are a feast for the eyes.

Gorgeous and troubling.

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-393-63564-5

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: Aug. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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