All posts by caperaway

About caperaway

I’m a publisher writer of graphic novels and short fiction. Published works include Acts of Violence: An Anthology of Crime Comics, The Grim Collection, Black Salt, and Psychosis.

Comics for Kids 2017

On April 9, 2017, Chad from ComicReaders Downtown was invited to speak at the Sunrise Branch of the Regina Public Library to talk to parents and children about comics and graphic novels for kids. What follows is the list of the graphic novels he talked about, including excerpts from his speaking notes.

super_sons1rvSuper Sons

The last time I was here I ended with a superhero book (The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl) so this time I decided to begin with one. Super Sons, published by DC Comics, features the adventures of Damien Wayne (Batman’s son and current Robin) and Jonathan Kent (Superman’s son and current Superboy).

Jon is what you would expect as the son of Superman and Lois Lane—kind, loyal, smart. He also knows how and when to keep his powers a secret. Damien, meanwhile, is brash, independent, and arrogant. Damien and Jon don’t always get along but they do recognize each other’s abilities and team-up (sometimes reluctantly) to deal with problems that occur when their parents are too busy with their own hero activities.

The Three Thieves

three_thieves2rv
This seven book series is written and drawn by Canadian Scott Chantler. The first graphic novel is called Tower of Treasure. The final, seventh volume, which was published in 2016, is The Iron Hand.

The series takes place in a fantasy world where Dessa is an acrobat in a travelling circus. In the first book, she joins her fellow circus performers (two non-humans) in robbing the royal treasury, thus setting off a series of adventures. Each adventure unfolds in one of the graphic novels and each reveals another thread in the mystery of her missing twin brother.

I read a couple of industry reviews that stated The Three Thieves should be as influential as Amulet or Bone. High praise indeed!

Scott Chantler is also the writer / artist of The Two Generals, a graphic novel based on a diary Scott’s grandfather kept when he was lieutenant in the Canadian military during WWII. That is an exceptional read for older children with an interest in history.

The Nameless City

nameless_city1Another exceptional Canadian graphic novelist is Faith Erin Hicks. The Nameless City is the first of a planned three graphic novel series. The Nameless City is a city that has its name changed each time it is conquered. The most recent conquerors are the Dao. Kaidu is a Dao boy sent to the city for military training. Rat is a girl native to the city.

The first graphic novel focuses on the developing relationship between the two young characters. Dao is one of the conquering privileged. Rat is one of the locals, poor and living on the street. She teaches him how to run along the city’s rooftops. He sneaks her food.

It is evident Faith Erin Hicks has something to say about the current state of the world, regarding how schisms between ethnic groups could be overcome if the time was taken to understand one another. Those are heavy themes for a young readers’ book, but Hicks is a deft storyteller. Those themes are present—and you can explore those with your children—but the core of the story is the two young characters and the friendship they develop.

Over the Garden Wall

gardenwall1rv2Any Adventure Time fans here? Well, Patrick McHale is one of that show’s creators. He is also the creator of the award-winning animated miniseries Over the Garden Wall. The first comic collection is a series of short adventures that take place between the episodes of the miniseries. The second collection is short stories that take place after the events of the miniseries.

The 10-episode miniseries (each episode is 10 minutes long) is tricky to find these days even though it was originally aired in November 2014. It is something worth seeking out. Bizarre, visually interesting traditional animation—not 3D / Pixar stuff. An intriguing story of two brothers lost in “The Unknown”. A woodsman who tends a magical fire. A bluebird with a secret. And “The Beast”, a dark presence that is at the edges of the miniseries, tickling it with eerie moments.

The first comic collection is written by McHale and drawn by the show’s storyboard artist Jim Campbell. The second series is written and drawn by Campbell.

Chimichanga

chimichanga2rvEric Powell is a comic book creator who I often praise at ComicReaders. His The Goon was one of my favourite comics for years. It’s full of monsters, and fights, and slapstick, and weirdness and violence, and humour and even moments of crushing sadness. It’s not for kids.

But Chimichanga is for kids. The original graphic novel—Chimichanga—has Powell’s lush artwork, but also his humour and weirdness.

Lula is a short, bearded girl. She travels with a circus. The circus isn’t very good. “Come see the two-eyed goat.” The strong man is “slightly stronger than a large man” and can “open pickle jars with his bare hands.” But life at the circus changes when Lula receives a strange rock from an even stranger woman. The rock hatches a giant beast—the first actual freak in the freakshow.

It’s a quick read but packs a lot of visual punch. At first glance it can appear creepy, but as you look longer you see the humour.

A second series Chimichanga and The Sorrow of the World’s Worst Face is now underway. That one is written by Eric Powell, but is drawn by Stephanie Buscema.

Warren the 13th

warren1rvBizarre happenings are also at the center of Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye. Warren is the 13th Warren in a long line of Warrens. Each Warren has run the family hotel. Warren the 13th is too young to run the hotel so his uncle runs it. He does a poor job. The once busy hotel is near empty. It is also being torn apart by aunt Annaconda. She’s searching for a treasure supposedly hidden in the hotel—the All-Seeing Eye!

This book is a chapter book with illustrations throughout. It has mazes and secret codes, witches, and a mysterious guest wrapped in bandages who only speaks with cue cards. It has a cast of weird characters, and an engaging mystery. It works as a single body of work, but a second book was released in March 2017.

The Lunch Witch

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The witch in The Lunch Witch is not a villain. She’s not exactly a “good person” either, but you’ll find yourself sympathetic to her plight. Grunhilda is one in a long, long line of witches. She inherited the family’s book of potions, but, alas, the world does not believe in magic anymore. As a result, her potions store closed. She then worked as a “fake witch” at the Salem Haunted Museum, but got fired at her job for “not being scary.”

A person has to work in this world, so she applies to be a cook in a school cafeteria. She gets the job because of her skill at making gross things, plus she has no criminal record. At the school, Grunhilda meets Madison, a girl who is failing her classes and is often late for class.

There is a lot I like about The Lunch Witch—the ridiculous premise, the little girl Madison, Grunhilda’s talking dog, the fact the comic looks like it was drawn on old, dirty paper, including a page that looks like it is burnt! I even like how the writer makes use of thought bubbles—which are bits of text that show you what a character is thinking. A good example is when Madison is meeting with the principal and the principal is seen thinking “Be firm. You’re not her friend” and a few moments later when the principal is talking to Madison about her poor performance at school and she is thinking, “Don’t cry. Don’t cry.” That feels authentic even if this is a graphic novel about a witch working in a cafeteria.

Giants Beware / Dragons Beware

giants_beware2rvClaudette is the main character in Giants Beware and Dragons Beware. Each is a separate story featuring a set of characters: Claudette, a young girl who yearns for adventures filled with fighting giants and dragons; her best friend who is an aspiring princesses; and her little brother, an aspiring pastry chef.

Most interestingly, this is not a book about fighting even though Claudette wants to go out into the wild and destroy giants. This is a story about peaceful conflict resolution. That might seem “dry” in a children’s story, but it is handled very well here. The story does not lose any of its fun. And it is a worthwhile lesson.

Godzilla: The Half Century War

godzilla2rv

That art is from James Stokoe and it is from the graphic novel Godzilla: The Half Century War. Every page of that graphic novel is that jam-packed with detail. It is a stunning achievement.

It’s not necessarily for kids—we don’t shelf it in the children’s section at ComicReaders—but some older kids know about Gozilla, King Kong and other monster movies and when they come to the store and ask about Godzilla we show them Half Century War.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn

Now let me put this up here for a moment.

unicorn2

The little girl is Phoebe. The unicorn is Marigold Heavenly Nostrils.

The first collection starts with Phoebe accidentally hitting the unicorn in the face with a rock. This leads to Phoebe getting one wish, which she uses to make the unicorn her friend. Marigold Heavenly Nostrils—like all unicorns—is very vain, so to her it is no surprise Phoebe would want to be her friend.

Phoebe had hoped having a unicorn for a friend would make her awesome, but as we read Phoebe and Her Unicorn we realize Phoebe is already awesome.

Each page is a gag—much like a comic from the newspaper funny pages—yet there is a larger story here—about a girl seeking acceptance; about a girl looking to make sense of her world; about a unicorn who—as we saw in the panel above—is jealous of a Christmas tree.

It’s also about how friends help each other—as we see here in the following slide:

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[ComicReaders is a proud supporter of the Regina Public Library. It was an honour for me (Chad) to be invited once again to talk to parents and children about graphic novels for younger readers.]

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Board Game Arrivals (Week of November 7)

ComicReaders received several new board games this week and several bestselling games were restocked after being unavailable for a number of months.

NEW ARRIVALS

Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails (read more)

Overkill The Halloween Slasher Party Game: Arguably two weeks late (because Halloween was almost two weeks ago), Overkill is a party game driven by cards where you compete to create the most ridiculous horror-movie inspired kill.

Tiny Epic Western: The Tiny Epic family of board games is a well-reviewed series of games that apply various genres onto a core set of game mechanics. Tiny Epic is often a Kickstarter darling and it was no different with Tiny Epic Western. If you missed the Kickstarter do not despair because the game is now available at ComicReaders.

Burger Up: Did you ever flip burgers at a fast food joint or work a grill at a greasy spoon? Well, now you relieve those halycon days with Burger Up, a card matching puzzle game that looks to recreate the art of making burgers. There is an expansion out, too: Burgers of the World!

Zany Penguins: In this card game, your tribe of penguins is trying to take over the control of Earth. Unfortunately, other players’ tribes want to do this, too. This looks like a crazy little game for the family.

Junk Art: There are 10 different ways to play this game all out of the one box, all based on the idea of building “art” out of junk– the junk being wooden pieces of various shapes, sizes and colours. We here at ComicReaders dig a good dexterity game. Junk Art looks like it wants to be in the same family as Bandau, Hamsterolle, Villa Paletti, and others games of that ilk.

Escape from Colditz Anniversary Edition: One player are the German guards. The other players are officers hoping to get their prisoners to escape the infamous Nazi prison Colditz. This classic from the 70s gets a deluxe anniversary printing. The original game was developed by Brian Degas in collaboration with Major P R Reid, a British Army officer who was held at and eventually escaped the real Colditz Castle.

Arkham Horror The Card Game: Arkham Horror is the latest edition to Fantasy Flight Games’ series of Living Card Games (LCG). This family of games already includes Netrunner, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. To us, Arkham Horror seems like a replacement for the discontinued Call of Cthulhu (LCG).

The Others: CMON Limited (Cool Mini Or Not) has enjoyed numerous successes with their miniatures-based board games such as Blood Rage, Zombicide and Zombicide Black Plague. The Others is one of their more recent releases which was originally a Kickstarter but is now available in stores such as ComicReaders. A very detailed description of the game came be found on BoardGameGeek.com.

The Mysterious Forest: The Mysterious Forest is a cooperative memory game inspired by The Wormworld Saga.

Queen Games Releases: Other new releases this week include a number of games from Queen Games, including London Markets, Liguria, World Monuments, and Risky Adventure.

HOT RESTOCKS

Camel Up: You are spectators to a Camel race, placing bets on the outcome and manipulating the progress of the race. A fantastic party game that does not feel like a party game.

Carcassonne Big Box: This edition of the “Big Box” contains Carcassonne, 7-8 player extension, The River, Inns & Cathedrals, Trades & Builders, Wheel of Fortune, and Hills & Sheep.

T.I.M.E Stories: You are members of a team of psychic, time-travelling investigators charged with sending your consciousness into the past to prevent a temporal calamities. When you play this game, you will fail, and then you restart the game, taking what you’ve learned to advance the game. And then you fail. And then you take what you learned to advance the game. You do this until you succeed. And then you go buy one of the expansions which presents you with a new case to unravel. T.I.M.E Stories is the game no one talks about because they don’t want to ruin the experience for you.

Karuba: This 2016 Spiel des Jahres nominee has sold out almost immediately the two previous times we received it. If you’ve been wanting this one please don’t wait too long to pick it up.

Note: ComicReaders receives new product several times during any given week. We do not post all new releases or all restocked games, comic, graphic novels, toys, etc. The best way to see our selection is to visit our stores. You can also call with inquires. 

Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails

ticket_to_ride_sails

Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails is the latest edition to the Ticket to Ride family of board games.  This stand-alone game includes a world map, meaning you will have to move across water, which is where sails come in. Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails has similar game mechanics as classic Ticket to Ride, but some new mechanics, too, including separate train and ships decks, and some route cards that include more than 2 cities.

We anticipate Ticket to Ride: Rails & Sails to be a hot item during the holiday shopping season. Ticket to Ride has been a best-selling game for families during this period for several years so we expect the same for Rails & Sails.

Magic: The Gathering League

foil_tokens

ComicReaders Downtown is starting a MTG League that will run every Saturday in November 2016 from 12pm – 5pm. Details can be found on SaskGames.com and ComicReaders’ MTG Facebook page, including format, entry fee and prize list. ComicReaders’ participation in this League gives us access to 30 premium, foil, double-sided, promo token cards. These will arrive after the League wraps, but will be reserved for active participants of the League. (Any extras will be used as prizes at future events.) You can sign-up for the League by expressing your interest at FNM, contacting the store through social media or old school telephone (306-779-0900).

Weekly Wanderlust – April 5, 2013

Weekly Wanderlust typically features reviews of comics released in the current week, but this one is a selection of comics from recent past weeks.

comeback5Comeback #5 (of 5)
Image Comics
(w) Ed Brisson
(a) Michael Walsh

Ed Brisson’s time-travelling miniseries comes to a close. The best thing I can say about Comeback is that it is not a mind-f… that collapses under the weight of its own ambitions.

Brisson’s time-travel plot is tight. Few characters. A narrow window of time. Simplistic, really, if you boil it down to the essentials, which are this: Time travel is illegal. A Federal agent is trying to shut down an organization using it to profit from people that would pay a lot of money to reclaim the lives of recently departed loved ones. And, wisely, Brisson presents us with a few simple, logical rules of how time travel works in his world.

Continue reading Weekly Wanderlust – April 5, 2013

Weekly Wanderlust – Shipped January 16, 2013

billy_loch4Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities and the Orm of Loch Ness
Dark Horse Comics
(w) Eric Powell w/ Tracy Marsh
(a) Kyle Hotz

FC 32 pgs $3.50

The creator of The Goon, one of my favorite ongoing series, and artist Kyle Hotz decided to team Billy the Kid of western legend with sideshow freaks and set them on a series of self-contained adventures in which they fight and protect other grotesqueries. Each features a title that is a mouthful, beginning always with Billy the Kid’s Old Timey Oddities.

The Orm of Loch Ness comes to an end and it does so in a way that holds true to the tone of this particular adventure. There is always violence and dread in these comics, but those are usually tempered by Billy’s tom-foolery. That comedy, I found, has all but disappeared. The result is a tense read with ghastly shocks throughout.

I’m not complaining. (Chad Boudreau) Continue reading Weekly Wanderlust – Shipped January 16, 2013

Weekly Wanderlust – Shipped January 9, 2013

I celebrated my first year as a comic shop owner and the anniversary has gotten me nostalgic. I think back to when I was just a customer at ComicReaders on Grant Road and that leads me to fond memories of writing for ComicReaders.com. I interviewed comic creators and wrote reviews, blurbs of which would sometimes eventually adorn back or even front covers. I still have a print out of the email Roman Dirge sent me after he found my review of Lenore online, and, to this day, if you look at a collection of Elephantmen you will find a snippet of a review I wrote.

In honour of those good times, I shake the dust off Weekly Wanderlust—a weekly column in which ComicReaders.com regulars like Hnetka, Tillusz, Boudreau, Cameron, Hintze, Brennan, and others told comic readers what they thought about the current week’s releases. Continue reading Weekly Wanderlust – Shipped January 9, 2013

Holiday Hours

Long weekend holiday hours are as follows:

ComicReaders Downtown
Friday, June 29: 10am – 9pm
Saturday, June 30: 10am – 5pm
Sunday, July 1: Closed
Monday, July 2: 12pm – 5pm

ComicReaders South
Friday, June 29: 10am – 6pm
Saturday, June 30: 10am – 5pm
Sunday, July 1: 12pm – 5pm
Monday, July 2: 12pm – 5pm