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Hardcover Books

Sweet and Innocent Books for Kids

… or so it would seem. More strangeness we found at the L.A. Comic Con. This time in the form of Reacharound Books. These folks specialize in cute illustrated picture books for kids… that are not. How so?  Well two of the books from their first set (called “Season One”) should be of special note to furry fans: Brenda’s Beaver Needs a Barber and Spank the Monkey Lends a Hand. See where this is going? The funny thing is all of their books are perfectly innocent on the surface — not a single dirty word or picture in any of them. Welcome to the world of double entendre! The books are written by “Bimisi Tayanita” and illustrated by “Sumguyen Bangladesh” — names may have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. So check out their web page, buy the books, and let your children wonder what the heck you’re laughing your head off about.

Image c. 2017 Reacharound Books

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Quest of the Vegetables

Cucumber Quest is a popular on-line fantasy adventure comic for young readers, written and illustrated by Gigi D.G. Now it’s been assembled by First Second into a new full-color graphic novel, Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom. It goes like this: “What happens when an evil queen gets her hands on an ancient force of destruction? World domination, obviously. The seven kingdoms of Dreamside need a legendary hero. Instead, they’ll have to settle for Cucumber, a nerdy magician who just wants to go to school. As destiny would have it, he and his way more heroic sister, Almond, must now seek the Dream Sword, the only weapon powerful enough to defeat Queen Cordelia’s Nightmare Knight. Can these bunny siblings really save the world in its darkest hour? Sure, why not?” The first volume is available now, in hardcover or trade paperback.

image c. 2017 First Second

The Inner Life of Plushies

There’s an interesting new hardcover book coming soon called Toys Talking. Here’s what they say at Drawn & Quarterly: “Always there to comfort and listen, stuffed animals provide a reassuring presence in many a childhood. With Toys Talking, acclaimed illustrator and author Leanne Shapton explores their inner lives, to reveal that their thoughts and feelings are just as complicated as our own. The concerns of these bunnies, bears, and ducks range from the mundane to the existential, and with each new pairing of character and text, we see a deeper portrait of their pensive, quiet world. Shapton holds a mirror to our own lives, to our insecurities and concerns, by revealing that the objects who comfort us have worries of their own. This board book brings Shapton’s gorgeously minimal brushstrokes to a younger audience, and will leave children and parents alike brimming with the beauty and melancholy of self-reflection.” Marketed for children, it’s more a sort of visual poetry. Look for it in November.

image c. 2017 Enfant

North, But Not Alaska

And the Christmas comic flood continues, this time with a new title from Action Lab — Northstars Volume 1: Welcome to Snowville. “Holly, the daughter of Santa Claus, and Frostina, the Yeti Princess, must put their differences aside to save the town of Snowville before Christmas is lost forever. They travel through an exotic underground world to save Christmas from the devious Krampus and his oafish Straw Lads.” Krampus who looks like an evil reindeer, it seems. They also said this: “Northstars is what you get if you combine Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer with Adventure Time. Like the classic Rankin/Bass specials, it’s a wonderful world where holiday characters such as Santa and his daughter, Holly, rub shoulders with winter warlocks, snow dragons and fall fairies. Like Adventure Time, there is a wry sense of humor and a colorful, quirky cast of characters that both kids and adults will enjoy.” The first ultra-sized hardcover issue is written by Jim Shelley and Haigen Shelley, with illustration by Anna Liisa Jones. Look for it later this month.

image c. 2017 Action Lab

The Fox Returns

According to Previews, a classic British black & white wildlife comic called Marney the Fox is available again, now in a hardcover collection. We got this from Blimey, the Blog of British Comics: “Just to cover the basics; Marney the Fox appeared in Buster weekly from the issue dated 22nd June 1974 to 11th September 1976. This fictional story of a wandering fox cub was written by Scott Goodall and illustrated by John Stokes. The artwork was absolutely superb and many consider it to be amongst Stokes’ best work. (The artist himself regards it as some of his best too.) One thing that made Marney the Fox exceptional is that, unlike most other Buster adventure strips, it played up the emotional content.” The new collection is available now from Rebellion/2000AD.

image c. 2017 Rebellion/2000AD

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Once Upon A Time There Was A Wolf

Lion Forge have brought a new dark fantasy for young readers to North America with the English edition of The Little Red Wolf, written and illustrated Amelie Flechais. As edited and translated by Andrea Colvin, it goes like this: “A young wolf, on a journey to bring his grandmother a rabbit, is charmed by the nice little girl who offers to help him… but nice is not the same as good. A haunting fairy tale for children and adults alike.” It’s available now in hardcover.

image c. 2017 Lion Forge

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Where First We Met Lyra

On the heels of the news that Philip Pullman’s new Book of Dust novel is finally coming out we have word that Knopf Publishing have collected the recent graphic novel of The Golden Compass into a single large hardcover, The Golden Compass: Complete Edition. Adapted from the original novel by Stephanie Melchio and illustrated by Clement Oubrerie, the Complete Edition is available now. Publisher’s Weekly says, “The story’s signature fantasies—the dæmons, the armored mercenary polar bears, and the alethiometer—are realized with compelling force. [This] retelling will bring Pullman’s work new fans and give previous readers new pleasure.” Look for it at Amazon.

image c. 2017 New Line Cinema

Meet The Dinosaur Next Door

Bolivar is a new hardcover graphic novel written and illustrated by Sean Rubin and published by Archaia. Here’s what Sean says on his blog: “When a young girl named Sybil moves to New York, she discovers that her next-door neighbor is a little unusual, even by local standards. Bolivar is the world’s last living dinosaur, but everyone in the city is too busy to notice him.When Sybil and Bolivar are pulled into an adventure that spans from City Hall to New York’s Natural History Museum, Bolivar must make a choice: He can continue to live unnoticed, or he can let the city see who he really is.” Turns out that Bolivar is already under development at Warner Brothers as a feature film, possibly to be directed by Kealan O’Rourke. Stay tuned for more about that.

image c. 2017 Archaia

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Crackers, Gromit!

It’s a given that everyone does an “Art of…” book for their new animated features these days. Sometimes there are even retrospective “Art of…” books for various studios. Aardman Animation, however, had not jumped on that bandwagon — until now! The Art of Aardman is a new hardcover (available now from Simon & Schuster) that celebrates 40 years (!) of the house that brought us Wallace and Gromit, Chicken Run, Shaun the Sheep and so much more. Featuring a forward by founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton, it takes a behind-the-scenes look at Aardman through the sketchbooks of such famous directors as Nick Park, Richard Starzak, and others.

image c. 2017 Simon & Schuster