Monday, March 10, 2014
Benny Breakiron appears like a regular little boy. However, he's not quite regular because he's incredibly strong. Not only that, but he can run extremely fast, is able to leap massive heights, and has breath so powerful it can blow all the leaves off trees. He can do all these things, except when he has a cold; then he's just like an ordinary boy. No one knows Benny's secret, but none of the children Benny's age want to play with him because he always breaks their toys.
One of Benny's friends I an older gentleman named Monsieur Dussiflard who runs a taxi cab. In BENNY BREAKIRON #1: THE RED TAXIS, Monsieur Dussiflard is being put out of business by a new taxi company in town: the Red Taxi Company. When Dussiflard does get some business he finds himself threaten by company employees and they destroy his taxi. When Dussilfard goes to speak with the owner of the company, he accidently discovers some knowledge and is kidnapped. Benny figures out what has happened and sets out to rescue him.
Before reading BENNY BREAKIRON #1: THE RED TAXIS, I had never heard of Benny Breakiron before. The comic was drawn by Peyo, the creator of the Smurfs. The stories have some similar patterns and devices. However, Benny is a much different character than any of the Smurfs. His adventures are more akin to something out of Tintin.
I enjoyed BENNY BREAKIRON #1: THE RED TAXIS. I wasn't sure what to expect and it was a pleasant surprise. I only wish there was some kind of origin tale in the story about Benny. For instance, was he born with his powers or did they develop over time and who are his parents? Perhaps questions such as these will be revealed in later volumes.
Sunday, March 09, 2014
THE FUZZY BUNCH is a collection of "Get Fuzzy" comic strips that ran in newspapers from May 24, 2010 - April 23, 2011. Before opening the book I was already amused by the title and cover of the book which parodies THE BRADY BUNCH. "Get Fuzzy" usually includes a couple of longer running storylines and several week-long storylines. THE FUZZY BUNCH isn't any different in that regard to any other "Get Fuzzy" collection. However, THE FUZZY BUNCH has one of my favorite "Get Fuzzy" storylines of all time: Bucky's hypothesis that Muppets are genetically-engineered Cold War Communist creatures. This storyline goes on for over six weeks total and it's hilarious. Shortly after the end of that story, Bucky upsets Fungo the Ferret by covering the hallway walls with post-it notes filled with falsehoods about ferrets (or weasels in Bucky's language). In retaliation, Fungo steals Bucky's closet door and seals the entryway in. It's a very funny story. I haven't always enjoyed "Get Fuzzy." However, after I started reading it for a while I got hooked. I became disappointed with the strip when the focus between Bucky, Satchel, and Rob was lost. With THE FUZZY BUNCH and the previous collection in the series, THE BIRTH OF CANIS, it appears "Get Fuzzy" has gotten its groove back and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
When I first started reading DAYTRIPPER, I was impressed with the illustrations. The illustrations are beautiful and although not photographic-like, they capture the essence of everything around them. The illustrations in the book feel quite real.
DAYTRIPPER was written by two Brazilian twins. It follows the life of Bras de Olivia Domingos. It takes a little while to understand what's happening in the book as the book jumps forward and backward in the history of Bras' life. Not only that, but most of the chapters end in his death. That's because Bras spends the early years of his adult life after college writing obituaries for a newspaper. He is the only son of a famous Brazilian author and, like his famous father, Bras has a knack for the written word. DAYTRIPPER explores some of the major events and some of the smaller events in his life. Bras wants to live a life full of meaning and he often finds himself questioning if he truly is.
Although the chapters where Bras dies aren't true, much of the story in those sections is. They are just alternative ways Bras life could have ended and, I believe, they are ways he imagines how they could have. The book explores some very deep and universal questions, such as when do you truly begin living (is it the day you are born? After your first kiss? When you truly fall in love for the first time? After you get your first job? When you're married?). Most people just exist in life, but Bras follows the call (even though he doesn't know it) that all of yearn for, the call to truly live.
Upon initially reading DAYTRIPPER, I was confused. It took me awhile to figure out what was going on with the story. Although I still prefer more traditional narratives (instead of the one in this book that mixes the actual story with fictional endings), the device ends up working in DAYTRIPPER.
Overall, DAYTRIPPER is an interesting read with some excellent illustrations. Not everyone will enjoy reading the book, but if you can accept the storytelling device, it makes for a compelling tale.
Tuesday, March 04, 2014
Monday, March 03, 2014
Sunday, March 02, 2014
The little blue donkey Ariol and his friends are back in ARIOL #3: HAPPY AS A PIG, the third collection of Ariol comics. ARIOL #3: HAPPY AS A PIG contains several different stories about Ariol and his friends. The stories in this collection are:
“After School” – Ariol is walking his secret crush, Petula, home from school and she questions why Ariol always wants to walk her home.
“The Submarines” – Ariol’s best friend, Ramono, comes over to play soccer. Before leaving, Ramono wants to check out the basement, a place Ariol does not want to explore.
“Mrs. Capra” – Mrs. Capra is the woman who watches Ariol while his parents are at work. This is a story of a typical night between Mrs. Capra & Ariol.
“Poetry” – Ariol is supposed to memorize a poem for school, but instead writes a poem to Petula.
“Grandpa-Diving” – Ariol and Ramono play at the beach with Ariol’s grandpa.
“The Book-signing” – Ariol’s dad takes him to a book signing of the artist who draws “Thunderhorse.”
“At Ramono’s” – Ramono invites Ariol over to his house to watch “Thunderhorse” on tv.
“The Light in the Hallway” – Ariol wants the hallway nightlight left on at night so he can play with his toys.
“Granny in the Subway” – Ariol’s grandma goes with Ariol on a trip through the subway station.
“Today’s Report” – Ariol, Ramono, and Bizzbilla are supposed to give a report on volcanoes at school. Ariol and Ramono haven’t done as much work as Bizzbilla. Bizzbilla almost reveals her secret crush on Ariol.
“The Videogame” – Ariol is playing a video game instead of doing his homework. His dad takes his game away and then Ariol’s mom takes it away from Ariol’s dad.
“Before Dinner” – Ariol and Ramono are at Ariol’s grandparents.
Ariol is a fun little comic and it’s exciting to see the characters develop and continue to grow in ARIOL #3: HAPPY AS A PIG.
BIG NATE: I CAN’T TAKE IT! is a collection of colored “Big Nate” comic strips. Big Nate is just a typical middle school student. Most of these comics have appeared in previous “Big Nate” collections. However, this is the first time some of these strips have been available for purchase in color. Unlike many other comic strip collections of other strips, there aren’t any ongoing storylines in “Big Nate” strips. There are some reoccurring themes, events, and scenarios e.g Nate’s hate for his teacher Mrs. Godfrey, how messy he is, his skill at chess, playing goalie for his soccer team, etc. However, that’s about as complicated life gets for Big Nate. Brand new versions of BIG NATE: I CAN’T TAKE IT! include a poster of the book’s cover.