NEOMAD INTERACTIVE COMIC

In an electric mix of live video clips, CGI effects and neon-hued comics pages, young Aborigines have exciting adventures both in Western Australia’s Pilbara Desert and in outer space.

The stories center around the scruffy Our Gang–style Love Punks, faces painted to resemble the mottled, elaborate hangout they have built from recycled junk. In the first two episodes, they take a flying car for a joy ride, then encounter the echidna god Jiribuga. Meanwhile, the Satellite Sisters play a fast-paced zero-gravity game and watch over Earth from orbit to protect it from falling space junk. In the finale, the two groups combine to rescue a spaceship full of tourists from being swallowed by the sky god Mingkala. The children are comfortable in front of the camera, the dialogue never sounds artificial, and both the video and the graphic segments show top-drawer production values. The comics pages are particularly noteworthy: They often alter inventively when swiped rather than just turn and feature melodramatic voice-overs activated by tapping dialogue bubbles, and they were created in part by the young cast itself. Furthermore, tapping bilingual lines a second time causes a translation to appear—or, for effect, sometimes not: “An ancient gigantic angry sky god! It’s trying to suck us into its muji!” Pranks and banter fly as the young cast hilariously hams its way through the plot, but there are also earnestly delivered messages about the importance both of environmental conservation and of respecting traditional beliefs.

Dazzling. (includes three “making of” featurettes) (iPad graphic-novel app. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 24, 2013

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: BighART

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low.

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DOG MAN AND CAT KID

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 4

Recasting Dog Man and his feline ward, Li’l Petey, as costumed superheroes, Pilkey looks East of Eden in this follow-up to Tale of Two Kitties (2017).

The Steinbeck novel’s Cain/Abel motif gets some play here, as Petey, “world’s evilest cat” and cloned Li’l Petey’s original, tries assiduously to tempt his angelic counterpart over to the dark side only to be met, ultimately at least, by Li’l Petey’s “Thou mayest.” (There are also occasional direct quotes from the novel.) But inner struggles between good and evil assume distinctly subordinate roles to riotous outer ones, as Petey repurposes robots built for a movie about the exploits of Dog Man—“the thinking man’s Rin Tin Tin”—while leading a general rush to the studio’s costume department for appropriate good guy/bad guy outfits in preparation for the climactic battle. During said battle and along the way Pilkey tucks in multiple Flip-O-Rama inserts as well as general gags. He lists no fewer than nine ways to ask “who cut the cheese?” and includes both punny chapter titles (“The Bark Knight Rises”) and nods to Hamilton and Mary Poppins. The cartoon art, neatly and brightly colored by Garibaldi, is both as easy to read as the snappy dialogue and properly endowed with outsized sound effects, figures displaying a range of skin colors, and glimpses of underwear (even on robots).

More trampling in the vineyards of the Literary Classics section, with results that will tickle fancies high and low. (drawing instructions) (Graphic fantasy. 7-10)

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-545-93518-0

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

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What a wag.

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DOG MAN

From the Dog Man series , Vol. 1

What do you get from sewing the head of a smart dog onto the body of a tough police officer? A new superhero from the incorrigible creator of Captain Underpants.

Finding a stack of old Dog Man comics that got them in trouble back in first grade, George and Harold decide to craft a set of new(ish) adventures with (more or less) improved art and spelling. These begin with an origin tale (“A Hero Is Unleashed”), go on to a fiendish attempt to replace the chief of police with a “Robo Chief” and then a temporarily successful scheme to make everyone stupid by erasing all the words from every book (“Book ’Em, Dog Man”), and finish off with a sort of attempted alien invasion evocatively titled “Weenie Wars: The Franks Awaken.” In each, Dog Man squares off against baddies (including superinventor/archnemesis Petey the cat) and saves the day with a clever notion. With occasional pauses for Flip-O-Rama featurettes, the tales are all framed in brightly colored sequential panels with hand-lettered dialogue (“How do you feel, old friend?” “Ruff!”) and narrative. The figures are studiously diverse, with police officers of both genders on view and George, the chief, and several other members of the supporting cast colored in various shades of brown. Pilkey closes as customary with drawing exercises, plus a promise that the canine crusader will be further unleashed in a sequel.

What a wag. (Graphic fantasy. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-58160-8

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Graphix/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2016

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