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July, 2021:

He Ain’t Heavy

Chunky is a new full-color graphic novel, written and illustrated by Yehudi Mercado. The publisher says this: “In this full-color middle grade graphic memoir… Yehudi Mercado draws inspiration from his childhood struggle with his weight while finding friendship with his imaginary mascot, Chunky, as he navigates growing up in a working class Mexican-Jewish family.” So what’s it about? “Hudi needs to lose weight, according to his doctors. Concerned about the serious medical issue Hudi had when he was younger, his parents push him to try out for sports. Hudi would rather do anything else, but then he meets Chunky, his imaginary friend and mascot. Together, they decide to give baseball a shot.” From there, things get more complicated. Take a look at the web site to find out just how much! It’s available in hardcover or trade paperback.

image c. 2021 Harper Collins

We Take In Strays

Animal Rescue Friends is a new full-color graphic novel miniseries for young readers, written by Gina Loveless and Meika Hashimoto, with art by Genevieve Kote. “Welcome to Animal Rescue Friends, where any stray can find a friendly face—furry or otherwise. This first collection of middle-grade comics includes five tales of found family: A lonely girl living in the suburbs finds happiness with a stray pit bull; a protective mama ferret and her six kits learn to trust a shelter volunteer; a shy boy stands up for himself with the help of a strong-willed bunny; a cantankerous cat helps to mend a troubled relationship; and the shelter’s unofficial mascot eventually finds a home.” Check it out now.

image c. 2021 Andrews McMeel

London Calling

The Tale of the Outcasts is a new black & white manga series written and illustrated by Makoto Hoshino. The publishers describe it like this: “An engrossing new fantasy manga series in which a downtrodden orphan girl develops an unexpected friendship with a beastly immortal… This is the story of Wisteria, an orphaned girl lost in darkness, and Marbas, an immortal being who shares her loneliness. The unlikely companions met on a quiet, uneventful night, and they set off together in search of the light. What begins as a chance meeting on the edge of the late nineteenth-century British Empire soon becomes a full-fledged journey to find their place in the world.” The first two volumes are available now from Seven Seas Entertainment, with more on the way.

image c. 2021 Seven Seas Entertainment

When Your Spirit Animal Hates You…

Look, we’re just gonna let the folks at Source Point Press explain THIS one… “Ten years after a freak incident at the zoo, Yuki finds herself attending a prestigious college on the road to success, unaware that a panda bear from that fateful day has been hunting her down to exact bloody revenge. Nothing can prepare you for this outrageous comedy filled with epic fights, awkward romance, supernatural powers, and plenty of zigs and zags. Put up your pigtails! Sharpen your claws!” Written by Graham Misiurak and illustrated by A. L. Jones, Yuki vs. Panda is available now as either a physical comic or a free PDF. And, you have GOT to see the trailer for the animated series as well…

image c. 2021 Source Point Press

Friendship is Monstrous

A new full-color graphic novel for young folks, written and illustrated by Kaeti Vandorn: It’s called Monster Friends. “Two friends: one big, one little. One old, one young. One grumpy, one cheerful. Both: Monsters! Reggie’s plan is to spend the whole summer brooding over his latest adventure gone wrong. But his friendly and curious neighbor, Emily, won’t let him sit alone and unhappy in his house forever! Despite their differences, these two monsters make the perfect pair of explorers. And with a map to make, a beach party to plan, and a sea monster to find, Reggie will have to learn to talk about his feelings and let new friends in!” Find out how, now, in hardcover from Random House.

image c. 2021 Random House

On to a Larger Universe

A couple years ago we told you about Star Beasts, an independent comic series written by Stephanie Young and illustrated by Allyson Lassiter. Well now Oni Press have picked up the series and compiled it together into a new softcover graphic novel. “Bandit is a pup on Earth who leaves his family to join the secret order of the Star Beasts – cosmic creatures sworn to protect Earth and spread goodness throughout the universe. Only thing is, he’s having trouble fitting in. But when powerful relics are suddenly stolen, the Star Beasts must band together to find the deadly galactic fossils before Pluto’s evil emperor, Khaos Krill – he wants to build the Novataur, an ancient monster that could wipe out all of Earth’s species!” Look for it on shelves later this month.

image c. 2021 Oni Press

Lonely Girl meets Helpful Dog

Sometimes the simplest and most true-to-life stories are the most interesting and educational. Such might well be the case with the new graphic novel from Remy Lai called Pawcasso. (Gotta love that title.) “Every Saturday, Pawcasso trots into town with a basket, a shopping list, and cash in paw to buy groceries for his family. One day, he passes eleven-year-old Jo, peering out the window of her house, bored and lonely. Astonished by the sight of an adorable basket-toting dog on his own, Jo follows Pawcasso, and when she’s seen alongside him by a group of kids from her school, they mistake her for Pawcasso’s owner. Excited to make new friends, Jo reluctantly hides the truth and agrees to let “her” dog model for an art class the kids attend. What could go wrong? But what starts as a Chihuahua-sized lie quickly grows Great Dane-sized when animal control receives complaints about a dog roaming the streets off-leash. With Pawcasso’s freedom at stake, is Jo willing to spill the truth and risk her new friendships?” There are preview pages over at the publisher’s web site.

image c. 2021 Henry Holt & Company

Hog vs. Hell

We are not gonna top the title of Ham Helsing: Vampire Hunter. We won’t even try. We’ll just tell you it’s a new hardcover graphic novel, written and illustrated by Rich Moyer. “Ham Helsing is the descendant of a long line of adventurers and monster hunters–who don’t often live to rest on their laurels. Ham has always been the odd pig out, preferring to paint or write poetry instead of inventing dangerous (dumb) new ways to catch dangerous creatures. His brother Chad was the daredevil carrying on the family legacy of leaping before looking, but after his death, it’s down to Ham. Reluctantly, he sets out on his first assignment, to hunt a vampire. But Ham soon learns that people aren’t always what they seem and that you need a good team around you to help save your bacon!” Ooo, pretty scary kids!  Look for it now from Penguin Randomhouse.

image c. 2021 Penguin Randomhouse

Those Meddling Ducks

A very new take on some very familiar Disney characters comes to us in Duckscares: The Nightmare Formula, a new hardcover graphic novel from Amulet Books. “Huey, Dewey, and Louie — the world-famous nephews of Donald Duck — are off on a globetrotting adventure! When the boys are suddenly (and confusingly) selected for a prestigious exchange program, they head off to Germany, where they learn about soccer, the local culture… and a spooky plot plaguing their new friends. What’s all this about a haunting?” Written by Tommy Greenwald and illustrated by Elisa Ferrari, Duckscares is available now. There’s also a review over at Comic Book Resources too.

image c. 2021 Amulet Books