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Graphic Novel

Kung Fu Fighting. Well, Not Exactly.

Somehow we missed this when it came around last year. Team Taekwondo is a black & white graphic novel series for younger readers, published by Rodale Kids. The first volume is called Ara’s Rocky Road to White BeltIt goes like this: “Ara is the odd turtle out in his family, preferring his rock collection to new or wild adventures—until he meets Baeoh, a confident tiger who practices martial arts. Unsure if he has what it takes to join Baeoh’s taekwondo team, Ara must learn how to come out of his shell, persist through failure, and accept the help of his new friends to complete the Tiger Fitness Challenge.” They go on further to say, “The Team Taekwondo series combines the appeal of graphic novels and martial arts to deliver action-filled, character-building stories. Each book also includes one free lesson at any participating licensed ATA Martial Arts location.” Each book in the series is written by Master Taekwon Lee and Jeffrey Nodelman, and illustrated by Ethen Beavers. Now the second volume, Baeoh and the Bully, was just released to stores as well.

image c. 2018 Rodale Kids

The Bird Pays Him Back

The King of Birds is a new hardcover graphic novel, written and illustrated in full color by Alexander Utkin. It’s published by Nobrow Press: “The King of Birds has victoriously defeated the King of Animals, but he is left gravely injured. He promises a merchant a great reward if he can nurse him back to health. Upon his recovery, they travel far across the land to the domains of the King’s three sisters to claim the merchant’s prize… but can his sisters overcome their greed and give up that which is most precious to them?” This is the first story in the new Gamayun Tales series of Russian folk tales — hosted by the titular Gamayun, a human-faced bird who tells stories. Check out the review over at Broken Frontier. The book is available now.

image c. 2018 Nobrow Press

A Slow Friendship

Now there’s a new full-color graphic novel for young readers, written and illustrated by Graham Annable (director of The Box Trolls). Peter & Ernesto: A Tale Of Two Sloths — pretty straightforward, yes? “Peter and Ernesto are sloths. Peter and Ernesto are friends. But Peter and Ernesto are nothing alike. Peter loves their tree and never wants to leave, while Ernesto loves the sky and wants to see it from every place on Earth. When Ernesto leaves to have a grand adventure, Peter stays behind and frets. The two friends grow even closer in separation, as Peter the homebody expands his horizons and Ernesto the wanderer learns the value of home.” It’s available now from First Second.

image c. 2018 First Second

Bear and Butterfly

Jim Benton is a comic creator known for titles like Dear Dumb Diary, It’s Happy Bunny, and other titles for younger readers with a sense of humor. Now IDW is previewing his latest graphic novel, simply titled Clyde. According to Comics Beat: “Arriving in February from IDW / Yoe Book, Jim Benton’s Clyde is an original graphic novel that follow Clyde the Bear as he moves from Cubville to Grizzly City (with an ex-juvenile delinquent butterfly) to see if The Bad Life is for him”. It’s a ways off still, but look for it in paperback next February.

image c. 2018 IDW Publications

The OTHER Reptile Into Pizza

We came across this: Pizzasaurus Rex, a new graphic novel for teens written and illustrated by Justin Wagner (with inks and colors by Warren Wucinich). “Meet Jeremy Duderman, the most extremely awesome scientific mind of his generation. Too bad everyone’s too busy bullying him or just generally disliking him to realize it. But that all ends today. Jeremy has invented the Reality Alternative Dimensionator (R.A.D. for short), a device that allows Rex Raditude, the Pizzasaurus, to enter our dimension. He’s a guitar-shredding, pizza-loving party animal with only one thing on his mind: BEING TOTALLY RAD, DUDE. But is that enough to stop Emperor Buzzkill and his horde of hapless minions who are bent on ending pizza parties, skateboarding, and all things rad? And can poor, pitiful Jeremy Duderman, quite possibly the dorkiest dude in the universe, help Rex in defeating them?” It’s all available now from Oni Press.

image c. 2018 Oni Press

Hoo Goes There?

Here’s a very unusual graphic novel which comes to us courtesy of Action Lab, called The Ghost, The Owl. “On a cool evening on the swamp, a figure appears dancing across the water. A human figure, but far from a human form. A Ghost, a young girl spirit that seems to have lost its way. A good Samaritan owl decides to help against the wishes of his animal brethren. What mysteries does the ghost girl hold the secrets to and what will happen when she and the owl unlock them together? Will they find out what happened to her? Will she find her way to where she needs to be? What will happen to the animals in the swamp and surrounding forest?” Written by Franco and illustrated by Sara Richard, it’s available now at Barnes & Noble. Meanwhile there’s a preview over at Comicsverse.

image c. 2018 Action Lab

 

Learning to Live with Change

Some of you may recall the Eisner-nominated anthology comic Island, which looked at LGBTQ issues from a variety of perspectives through a variety of artists and writers. Well now Image Comics have taken one selection from Island, called The Pervert, and expanded upon it to full graphic novel length. “A surprisingly honest and touching account of a trans girl surviving through sex work in Seattle, The Pervert is an unflinching debut graphic novel that is preoccupied with work — what we put into our work and what it takes from us.” Needless to say, this is Adults Only material — and by that, we mean grown-ups. Written by Michelle Perez and illustrated by Remy Boydell (Emergency!, Recovery Blogger), it’s available in trade paperback now. Image has a detailed preview (with reviews) at their web site.

image c. 2018 Image Comics

For Your Fashionable Feet

Sara Varon is a comic creator whom we’ve talked about before several times as both a writer and an artist. (Seriously: Look her up!) Now she’s back as both again with her latest hardcover book, New Shoes, published by First Second. They describe it as “… a heartwarming graphic novel about a donkey on a quest to make the perfect pair of shoes.” Really now? “Francis the donkey is the best shoemaker in the village. He uses only the finest materials: coconut wood for the soles, goat’s wool for the insoles, and wild tiger grass for the uppers. One day he receives a special order from his favorite singer: Miss Manatee, the queen of calypso. But he’s all out of tiger grass! To make the perfect pair of shoes, Francis must journey deep into the jungle . . . and that means leaving his village for the first time.” Find it now over at Barnes & Noble.

image c. 2018 First Second

Lonely Girl Meets Only Bird

Dodo is a new full-color graphic novel written and illustrated by Felipe Nunes. Ostensibly for young readers, it actually has more on its mind… “Laila is six years old and she’s been taken out of school following her parents’ divorce. She doesn’t understand why she can’t go to school with the rest of her friends or why her dad never comes by anymore. Laila comes across a mysterious bird, a dodo named Ralph, and befriends the creature that has been living in the part near her house. Through her friendship with Ralph, Laila starts to notice things, things she never wanted to understand.” Check it out at Simon & Schuster.

image c. 2018 Boom! Studios