Category Archives: Comics

And Then I Read: GRAVEYARD SHAKES by Laura Terry

Image © Laura Terry.

Scholastic has been putting out some fine comics in recent years, and this is one of them. Katia and Victoria are sisters who are starting at a new high-class private school. Victoria is anxious to fit in, but finds herself rejected and laughed at by the rich snobs she approaches. Katia is defiantly quirky and refuses to make any effort to fit in, even when she finds a music class and teacher that seem perfect for her piano-playing talent. In a nearby graveyard, or rather beneath it, a mysterious man named Nikola is trying to prolong the tenuous life of his son, Modie. To do so, he must once again steal the life of a child. Modie is against this, but Nikola and his henchman plan to kidnap someone from the school to carry out his plans.

When Katia and Victoria meet for lunch in the graveyard, their different styles clash, and Katia decides to run away from school. Victoria tries to find her and bring her back, but falls into the clutches of Nikola. Katia, with the help of a friendly ghost, is determined to save her sister, but must face the terrors of the world below the graveyard to do it.

The story and art are charming, just a bit scary and with good doses of humor. At 202 pages for $10.77 (or $7.99 Kindle) on Amazon, this is quite a bargain, and should appeal to teenage girls. I read an uncorrected proof given to me at Baltimore Comic-con in which only a few pages were in color, so I’m not sure if all of them are in the final book, but either way, this is well worth a look.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: GREEN LANTERNS #17

Image © DC Entertainment.

This is the second and concluding part of a rather fun Batman crossover, done the way crossovers used to be: characters in the book you’re reading interact/team with characters in ONE other book for an issue or two. This is not only fun but smart marketing. Give your readers a taste of another series and perhaps they will try it. As opposed to the massive crossovers where you have to buy a lot more books to even follow the story, creating ill-will and disgruntled fans. (My humble opinion!)

Batman has asked Simon and Jessica, Earth’s current Green Lanterns, for help with a recent menace in Gotham City that seems to involve the power of the Yellow  Lanterns: random citizens are being overwhelmed with fear…of Batman! Even Alfred is taken over by it, and he’s trying to kill Batman. Behind it is Batman’s fear-mongering foe The Scarecrow. Do Simon and Jessica have the willpower to overcome Scarecrow’s Yellow Lantern-powered fear machines? Nicely done by writer Sam Humphries, artists Eduardo Pansica and Julio Ferreira, colorist Blond and letterer Dave Sharpe.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: THE FLASH #19

Image © DC Entertainment.

Part two of “Sins of the Father” has Flash and Kid Flash in Australia with Captain Boomerang, prisoners of a crime/terrorism gang called The Weavers. Digger (Boomerang) was sent there alone by Amanda Waller of Suicide Squad, and the addition of costumed heroes has made his job harder. Wally (Kid Flash) is trying to find out what happened to his real father, and Digger might have the answers, if they can get out of the mess they’re in. The conversation in this one was as interesting as the action, always a good thing.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: BUG! #2

Image © DC Entertainment.

Despite the presence of many characters drawn by Jack Kirby and/or Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, this book definitely has the “Young Animal” vibe. Forager has been sent back in time and to a very different place, the Himalayas in World War Two, where he’s dropped into a mission to take back the hidden city of Nanda Parbat from the Germans, with the mission soldiers being The Losers (Gunner and Sarge at first), Sandman and Sandy, Blue Beetle and the Bazooka Boys (Brooklyn Brand and Buddy Blankenship). These characters at first think Bug is an enemy robot, then the costumed hero The Red Bee, and finally they listen to who he really is and accept his help.

The German operation is being run by a young General Electric, the villain who sent Bug into this mess in the first place. Then we have the actual robots, amusingly designed with giant plug heads, Abominable Snowmen, the rest of The Losers (already prisoners of the Germans), a strange little girl, and the six-armed blue-skinned goddess Rama Kushna. Does this all make a story? Yes, an entertaining one, if rather odd and sometimes illogical and dreamlike, but that’s the Young Animal model. Lee Allred’s story kept me turning pages, and the art by Michael and Laura Allred is highly groovy, as always.

Recommended.

And Then I Read: ASTRO CITY #47

Image © Juke Box Productions.

A few issues back there was a super-cat story, and this time it’s a super-dog, G-Dog, a human-Corgi meld created by a magic medallion. Andy is a small-time thief who picks up the amulet, and when he gets home to his Corgi puppy, Hank, something happens that creates G-Dog, a creature with Andy’s mind and Hank’s canine abilities. Hank’s part of the meld does more for Andy than he first realizes. Somehow Andy knows that Hank disapproves of his thievery, and wants them both to do good by fighting crime. This change in Andy’s direction brings him many new opportunities, and a new girlfriend, Esme. But Andy is in debt to bigger criminals, and won’t get out of that so easily.

Damn, this is cute! Fun to read, charming, and wise, too, which is no surprise for this title. Joining writer Kurt Busiek is artist Mike Norton of BATTLEPUG fame, and it continues to the next issue, which I’m looking forward to.

Recommended.