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Comic Books

Ravenous Rodents and Sugary Substances

Good grief, there’s been a lot of anthropomorphic content for young folks coming out of Penguin Random House lately! Now there’s Norma and Belly, Volume 1: Donut Feed The Squirrels (whew, another long title too) written and illustrated by animator Mika Song. From the publisher: “Norma and Belly plan to start the day with some pancakes, but when Norma accidentally burns them, these two best friends set out to find a new treat. Chestnuts might be nice . . . but what is that delicious smell in the distance? A new food truck has parked near their tree, and these two squirrels are going to figure out how to get their hands on these ‘donuts’ that it seems to be selling.” There are other graphic novels available in the Norma and Belly series as well.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

Teeth and Tech

…and more graphic novels for young readers, coming to us from Penguin Random House. Possibly the strangest yet for the current crop: Shark and Bot, written and illustrated by Brian Yanish. “Shark loves water. Bot short circuits if he goes near water! Shark recites poetry. Bot recites facts. Can these two really be friends? They’re both a little awkward… They both love comics… And just wait til you see their dance moves when they confront a playground bully.” It’s available now in hardcover. Fun fact: Mr. Yanish works for the Jim Henson Company.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

Snack Pets

We’ve talked before about the works of Paige Braddock, both as a writer and an illustrator. Now they’re back with a new full-color graphic novel, Peanut, Butter, and Crackers Volume 1: Puppy Problems. (Woof, what a title!) “Crackers is a rescue dog who’s a bit on the nervous side, but pretty comfy at home with Butter, a very plump cat who–like all cats–is all about himself. The two pets have a good life: big backyard, nice couch, good eats, and an owner who goes to work every day so they can pretty much do what they want. Enter Peanut, a brand-new puppy with big floppy ears, unabashed energy, and no appreciation for the quiet life. The little dog is a chowhound who dips into everybody’s food bowl. He drools, he chews up stuff, he doesn’t get how stairs work, and he’s afraid of the dark. Yowl! Not to mention he’s hogging their owner’s lap. Even the squirrels in the yard are laughing at this goofy little canine. Butter and Crackers have had it! This puppy has to go! But when the backyard gate is left open (the cat’s idea, of course!) and Peanut wanders out and gets lost, the older animals remember what it was like to be alone–and lonely. Butter and Crackers to the rescue!” It’s available now in hardcover from Penguin Random House.

image c. 2020 Penguin Random House

A Home For Kitties

And here’s another interesting graphic novel we found out about from Harper Collins: A Cat Story is a new full-color work written and illustrated by Ursula Husted. “Cilla and Betto are two friends who need a place to call home. The docks in Valletta are too wet, and the scraps of food too scarce. The city’s streets are too busy, and the humans too unreliable. But what about the quiet garden from old kitten tales—a place where all cats are welcome, and the humans are always kind? Could the stories really be true? As Cilla and Betto embark on a grand adventure to find out, they begin to spin a tale of their own—one that will take them through the art and stories of many journeyers who came before, and that will bring them to a surprising destination.” It’s available now — and hey, at the moment it’s on sale!

image c. 2020 Harper Collins

A Herd-Boiled Detective

Wow! Recently we were contacted by Devon McBride-Wilson, creator of Firewake. Here’s what he had to say: “Rabbit Valley continues to expand its equine portfolio as the second issue of Firewake has gone up for preorder. This comic series follows the down-to-earth veteran detective Firewake and his cocky rookie partner Zaffa as they investigate and pursue the unstable criminal mastermind Sable Nox. Issue 2, Questions, sees Zaffa get closer to Firewake’s niece as he confronts mobsters at the restaurant she waitresses at, while Firewake himself meets the mysterious biomancer mare Fancyber, who says she has information for him.” We like what we’ve seen — and we’ll let the creator explain why. “While Firewake is safe for readers 10 and up, its gritty atmosphere, semi-procedural style and fantastic action break new ground for equine stories. Influences from My Little Pony are mixed with elements from CSI and Batman, and if you’re a fan of those, this is definitely worth checking out.” What he said!

image c. 2020 Rabbit Valley

Not Her Kind of Magical Land

There are some interesting graphic novels for young readers coming soon from Random House. First up is Pacey Packer: Unicorn Tracker, written and illustrated by J. C. Phillipps. They describe it like this: “Pacey’s little sister, Mina, has always said her stuffed unicorn, Slasher, is real – but seriously? He’s a stuffed toy! Then again, he does seem to be leading Mina outside her room and to . . . some kind of weird magical unicorn land? Pacey may not believe in unicorns, but she’s not about to let her little sister be kidnapped, so she does the only thing she can: Follows them to unicorn land (that she totally does not believe in). And for the record, it’s NOTHING like the stories. First off, what’s up with Slasher’s attitude? It’s not Pacey’s fault he’s trapped in a ridiculous stuffed body. And that Alpha Unicorn guy? Not. Nice. Pacey will just be grabbing Mina and taking her home, thankyouverymuch . . . that is, if she can work with the grumpiest unicorn stuffy ever to outsmart the Evil Alpha Unicorn and find the way out – preferably without stepping on any poisonous killer flowers.” Nothing complicated about that set-up, right? The book is out now.

image c. 2020 Random House

Call the Wolf Momma

Previews let us know about Lupina, the new full-color graphic novel from Legendary Comics, written by James F. Wright and illustrated by Liana Buszka. “In the coastal town of Kote, recently brought under the yoke of the Addalian Empire, four-year-old Lupa spends her days getting bullied by her older sister and hiding behind her mother’s skirts. But when tragedy strikes, Lupa finds herself alone in a new world… alone until she’s found by the she-wolf, Coras, and sets off on a journey of discovery… and revenge.” It’s been serialized, but now it’s collected together in one place. Bleeding Cool has a preview from last year.

image c. 2020 Legendary Comics

Find the Pig Wizard

Lightfall: The Girl and the Galdurian is the first graphic novel in the new Lightfall series, written and illustrated by Tim Probert. “Deep in the heart of the planet Irpa stands the Salty Pig’s House of Tonics & Tinctures, home of the wise Pig Wizard and his adopted granddaughter, Bea. As keepers of the Endless Flame, they live a quiet and peaceful life, crafting medicines and potions for the people of their once-prosperous world. All that changes one day when, while walking through the woods, Bea meets Cad, a member of the Galdurians, an ancient race thought to be long-extinct. Cad believes that if anyone can help him find his missing people, it’s the Pig Wizard. But when the two arrive home, the Pig Wizard is nowhere to be found—all that’s left is the Jar of Endless Flame and a mysterious note. Fearing for the Pig Wizard’s safety, Bea and Cad set out across Irpa to find him, while danger fights its way out of the shadows and into the light.” The book is available now in hardcover and softcover from Harper Collins.

image c. 2020 Harper Collins

Spaghetti and a Nice Chianti?

Okay, this has us scared… We just came across this article at Slash Film: “Gary Dauberman is producing Stray Dogs, a movie based on an upcoming Image Comics title from Tony Fleecs [My Little Pony] and Trish Forstner. Plot details aren’t readily available, but the project is described as Silence of the Lambs meets Lady and the Tramp. [!] The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop on the Stray Dogs movie, reporting that Paramount Animation and Gary Dauberman have picked up the rights, with Game Night writer Mark Perez tackling the script.” Image Comics is set to release the Stray Dogs comic in 2021, so we’ll know more of what we’re in for then.

image c. 2020 Image Comics