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Monsters

Hard Times for Humans

While we were exploring the LA Comic Con we met John J. Perez, a prolific comic book writer. Among his projects is a comic called Archon, illustrated by Monika Maccagni and Bobby Hernandez and published by Action Lab. “Gareth Thompson, a Vietnam veteran and single father, has just accepted a Security Job at the new fantasy-themed Hotel and Casino, The Archon. On his first day he discovers his co­-workers are not simply people in costumes but actual creatures of Myth and Legend hiding in plain sight.” More recently though, Mr. Perez has been running a Kickstarter campaign for his new comic series — Social Fiends, illustrated by Javier Martin Caba. “Forty years after the collapse of human civilization vampires and werewolves have crawled out of the shadows to reclaim the day. Fallout blocks out the the sun and sea level rise has made all coastal cities diseased swamps. Hell for humans. Paradise for fiends. In New York City, renamed ‘Neoropa’, an alliance of fiends have banded together to create a quasi Anarcho-Syndicalist commune. Unfortunately, power corrupts and the vampire elite have placed themselves at the top of the City State’s power structure – relegating werewolves to government serfs.” John’s official web site has information on these and other projects too.

image c. 2022 John J. Perez

Hatching A Plot

Sometimes you really just gotta love the titles of Japanese media creations. Reincarnated As A Dragon Hatchling. You’re going to remember that one, yes? And it perfectly describes this new black & white manga written by Nekoko and Naji and illustrated by Rio. “If you woke up as a sentient egg in some random forest, I bet you’d be confused, too. That’s exactly what happened to me in the oddest turn of events…Being reborn as a little egg has its challenges, but luckily, with all these monsters out to eat me, I’m gaining experience quick. Once I bust out of this shell, a cool new form better await me–that is, if I survive long enough!” And that’s just the first volume. You’ll find even more from Seven Seas.

image c. 2021 Seven Seas Entertainment

Hello Beastie!

Kraken Me Up (gotta love that) is a new hardcover graphic novel for beginning readers, written and illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler. “Izzie can’t wait to debut her pet at the county fair. While the other children have brought pigs or chickens, Izzie brought a…Kraken! Even though everyone thinks Kraken is big and frightening, he is not. He’s like Izzie, sweet and shy. Kraken and Izzie use creativity and humor to win over the crowd in this hilariously adorable comic.” Find out more over at the Random House web site.

image c. 2021 Penguin Random House

You Think YOU’VE Got Weird Parents…

Check this out: “After sneaking out against her mother’s wishes, Artie Irvin spots a massive wolf—then watches it don a bathrobe and transform into her mom.” Furry fans love reading sentences like that, don’t we? It’s Artie and the Wolf Moon, a new full-color graphic novel written and illustrated by Olivia Stephens. “Thrilled to discover she comes from a line of werewolves, Artie asks her mom to share everything—including the story of Artie’s late father. Her mom reluctantly agrees. And to help Artie figure out her own wolflike abilities, her mom recruits some old family friends. Artie thrives in her new community and even develops a crush on her new friend Maya. But as she learns the history of werewolves and her own parents’ past, she’ll find that wolves aren’t the scariest thing in the woods—vampires are.” It’s available now in paperback from Lerner Publishing.

image c. 2021 Lerner Publishing

Hot Love between Human and… Not

We literally stumbled across the writer Christine Warren, whom we had not heard of before — but we found her novel Born To Be Wild at a used book sale. Since 2003 Christine has written a slew of hot adult-oriented fantasy romance novels, usually involving a human getting wrapped up with a non-human shapeshifter of some sort. Her series include The Others (as human/animal shapeshifters call themselves), Gargoyles (no connection to the Disney series but it shares some ideas), and Alphaville (specifically werewolves). Her web page at Fantastafiction has a summary for each and every book, if you like your romance explicit and your lovers of a different species.

image c. 2021 St. Martin’s Press

Oh, Diddley…

Look, folks, we can’t make this stuff up. (If we could we’d be writing it instead of reporting on it!) Check out the first Adventures of Team Pom graphic novel, called Squid Happens. “When oddballs Agnes, Roberta and Ruby discover a shared passion for synchronized swimming, the trio become Team Pom. But between snack time, their favorite TV show, and raising pigeons, it can be hard to find time to practice. This crew of self-proclaimed weirdos are tired of their loser status in the pool. But on their way to gain the respect and free snacks they deserve, they stumble upon a lonely giant squid. Will he be the secret weapon they need for synchronized swimming stardom? Will they be able to outwit the sinister strangers in bowler hats, or will they end up with ink on their faces?” Anthropomorphics includes all kinds of animals… Squid Happens is written and illustrated by Isabel Roxas, and it’s available now from Flying Eye Books.

image c. 2021 Flying Eye Books

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

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

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