March 12, 2012
by Mrs. McGriff
I am plowing my way through the graphic novels that have been piling up on my desk. Some of them I snatched up from the bargain books at our last book fair. Some of them have been gifts from students who are helping me beef up my collection.
Arana: The Heart of the Spider by Fiona Avery (Scholastic 2005)
I think superhero fans will like this graphic novel. Anya is a reluctant recruit to the secretive spider society. Miguel believes that she is the chosen one, to be the next hunter. When he saves her life from an attack by the Wasps, she is bound for life. All she wants is to be a normal high school student. Will she come to terms with and claim her destiny before it’s too late? The color illustrations in this one seem to explode off the page. I really need to slow down and look more at the pictures when I read a graphic novel.
The Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan) Graphic Novel adapted by Robert Venditti (Hyperion Books 2010)
I loved the original Percy Jackson series, so I wasn’t sure what I would think of a graphic novel adaptation. I was pleasantly surprised. The color illustrations bring the story into vivid pictures. The dialogue captured the fast-paced adventure of Percy’s first quest with Anabeth and Grover. I wouldn’t want to replace the original completely, but this adaptation stands nicely alongside. It’s much more faithful to the heart of the story than the movie was.
Mystic: Rite of Passage by Ron Marz (CrossGen Comics 2003):
I enjoyed the story in this graphic novel, first published in a series of comic books. Two sisters–one responsible and one not–find their lives turned upside down. Just as the responsible Genevieve is about to be accepted as Guild Master of one of the magic guilds on Ciress, the rite goes horrible wrong. Party girl Giselle finds that she is now host to all seven of the magic guild spirits. Whether she likes it or not, she is now the most powerful magician on the planet. It’s too bad she hasn’t prepared for it at all. With a talking squit (looks like a shaggy puppy) as her only ally, will Giselle survive the magic that now possesses her and those angry magicians who want it back? For once, the artwork caught my eye as much as the words. These color illustrations burst off the page. I just might be getting the hang of these graphic novels.
The Path: Crisis of Faith by Ron Marz (CrossGen Comics 2003)
This graphic novel is much darker than the above one by the same writer. Set it the land of the samauri warriors, it involves war, betrayal, and the loss of faith. Todosi dedicated his life to the arts of war while his brother Obo San dedicated his life to serving the gods. After the gods take Todosi’s life, Obo San vows to use their own weapon against them for revenge. But first he must survive the wrath of his emperor and the demons of an invading army. My favorite part of this graphic novel is the interview with the penciler, Bart Sears, in the back. After reading it, I understood much more what he accomplished with the two page spread layout, the dark images, and his penciling technique.
Rebound by Yuriko Nishiyama (Tokyo Pop 1997)
I successfully finished my first manga novel. I am surprised that it is a basketball story! Who knew that manga included sports fiction? Not me until today. Nate Torres and his high school basketball team, Johnan, won the Tokyo championship. Now they are on their way to Sapporo to play again in the National Championships. They hope to avoid a repeat of last year’s first round loss, but this year they have to get past Kyan Marine Industry–a team full of tough players who don’t mind playing rough. Oh yeah, there might even be a few girls to provide a distraction. I thought this was a fun story once I got the hang of reading from right to left. It might even bring in new fans (of sports stories) to graphic novels.
Harlequin Pink: Idol Dreams written by Charlotte Lamb & art by Yoko Hanabusa (Dark Horse Manga 2006)
I’m starting to get the hang of reading from right to left–and to the variety of topics and genres available through manga. This is a love story that will please readers looking for something light and fluffy. Quincy wins a contest she didn’t eve enter (thanks to her little brother Bobby) for a date with pop idol Joe Ardness. Now she is caught up in a weekend of celebrity with her heart torn between Joe (Is he just using her for the publicity) and Brendan (Can her heart still be satisfied with her dad’s partner in their veterinarian practice?) There’s lots of swooning and flashing cameras in this story even if there’s not much else. It’s even printed in pink ink!