This beautifully absurd, sometimes maddening comic book gives new meaning to “Can’t we all just get along?” (Graphic science...

THE SEVENTH VOYAGE

STAR DIARIES

This time-travel story poses a philosophical question: If you could meet yourself, would the two of you get along?

In this graphic adaptation of Lem’s 1957 short story (first published in English in 1976), a solo astronaut named Ijon Tichy is stuck in a time loop, and he keeps meeting past and future versions of himself. But rather than helping one another out, the multiple versions keep squabbling endlessly, for so long that, eventually, there are elderly Tichys onboard the ship. The many arguments make the story—almost by definition—a little repetitive, but they give Muth an excuse to paint dozens of hilariously baffled, nearly identical (all white) people in matching jumpsuits. For a story with only one character, the panels are surprisingly crowded. His artwork is as expressive as usual, but he’s adopted a different style from the one so recognizable in his Zen Shorts picture books, not quite realistic, not quite cartoonish. It’s almost as though he created a new, constantly befuddled species just for the book. The central joke is strung out a bit too long, and the introduction, written by A. Fraude on April 1, is mildly amusing but feels like padding. The solution to Tichy’s problem, though, when it finally arrives, is poetic, funny, and rather sweet.

This beautifully absurd, sometimes maddening comic book gives new meaning to “Can’t we all just get along?” (Graphic science fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-545-00462-6

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Fans of the series will be delighted.

CLASH

From the Click series , Vol. 4

Can Olive stay positive when a social-climbing bully moves to town?

In her fourth adventure, sixth grader Olive Branche is on top of the world until new girl Natasha begins to encroach on her friendships, slowly and methodically freezing her out of her many different social circles. Relentlessly optimistic Olive tries to stay genial despite Nat’s overt jibes, but when Nat takes it to a new level and ruins Olive’s carefully planned Halloween party, Olive finally confronts her. When Nat finds herself consequently ostracized, empathetic Olive has a change of heart and extends her an olive branch (groan). Olive and Nat’s relationship is highly idealized, bordering almost on wish fulfillment; Nat’s backstory offers some explanation for her behavior, but she is accepted back into the fold more easily than may seem realistic. Olive’s appeal is in her unceasing Pollyanna-like sunniness and her ability to be accommodating and find the best in every situation. Though consistent in tone with its predecessors, in this entry Olive does have some moments of anger (albeit quickly reconciled); her portrayal here is the most human she’s been throughout the series. Although this is the fourth installment, each volume is mostly self-contained, making this equally accessible for established and new readers. Olive and Nat read as White; the supporting cast is inclusive and diverse.

Fans of the series will be delighted. (Halloween costume craft ideas, author Q&A) (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 20, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-358-24220-8

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Etch/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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Captain Amazing, the muscled hero of Metro City, is aging, and after a botched takedown of four nefarious villains, he...

SIDEKICKS

A veritable bonanza of capes, heroes and pets with superpowers abounds in illustrator Santat’s first solo graphic novel.

Captain Amazing, the muscled hero of Metro City, is aging, and after a botched takedown of four nefarious villains, he decides he is in need of a trusty sidekick. Unbeknownst to Captain, his own pets are clamoring for the job (and for more quality time with their beloved owner). Fluffy, his hamster, has yet to discover his superpower, but this rodent has a lot of heart. Manny the cat (who has the ability to electrocute bad guys) had run away after his beloved toy Nummers went missing, but the prodigal cat returns just in time to help the Captain. Roscoe (a.k.a. Metal Mutt) has a gruff exterior but is fiercely loyal. Shifty, the newest addition to the family, is a color-changing chameleon who adds a dose of comic relief. The lovable menagerie of crime-fighting pets offers lots of laughs and a boisterous and exuberant storyline; Santat’s illustrations are clear, engaging and neatly stacked into easy-to-read panels. While there is no mention of a sequel, subsequent volumes would certainly fly off the shelf faster than a speeding bullet, so here's hoping.

Pub Date: July 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-439-29811-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2011

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