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Friday, May 28, 2010

Weekly Spotlight: Wednesday Comics


Comics fans may remember last fall's Wednesday Comics, a weekly serialization of one-page newspaper-style stories by an all-star roster of writers and artists.  Those strips are collected in all their oversize glory in this big beautiful hardcover, out now from DC Comics!

Familiar faces in the hands of familiar creators abound here.  Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are all featured, as are Sgt. Rock, the Metal Men, and more; Kurt Busiek, Bryan Azzarello, and Kyle Baker contribute, along with famed father-son team Joe and Adam Kubert.  Big alternative names names Neil Gaiman and Mike Allred collaborate for a goofy, eerie Metamorpho: the Element Man.  Dave Gibbons and Ryan Sook go old-school Jack Kirby with Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, and fan favorites Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti bring us the heartwarming adventures of Supergirl and her pets.  Acclaimed creator Paul Pope gives his take on the sci-fi Strange Adventures an inky, retro glamour.

These are comics you can't find anywhere else, preserving the large format and eye-popping colors of the original newsprint in a sturdy, long-lasting tome.  Though it may take some maneuvering to make space for it on your shelf, Wednesday Comics is worth the effort!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Picks for the Week


The Heroic Age Continues! What the heck is Moon Knight doing on an Avengers team? And what's the deal with Nova? Well check out the latest launch in the Marvel Avengers line up and find out. The book is written by Ed Brubaker and the art is by Mike Deodato, so that's quite an A list team to start up this new book. Check it out.


Pick your poison. Is it Thanos or the the "new dark force" that wishes to annihilate the Marvel Universe? Find out what cosmic heroes are called upon to battle the two forces and what the cosmic consequences will be. Written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, with artwork by Brad Walker, the results are sure to pack a healthy punch of action, and plenty of good fun. 


Grant Morrison has been busy spinning his tale of Bruce Wayne's return. Now it looks like Bruce is running around with the Puritans, at least the Joker's not around to stuff the turkey. Let's see where Bruce's adventures will take us next, you know with Grant Morrison it should be a fun ride, and the Frazier Irving artwork makes for a stunning presentation. Enjoy.


Steve Niles and Fiona Staples team up in this new book from IDW. And with Steve Niles at the controls, it's sure to be a fun ride. This team of vigilantes that form the Mystery Society (Nick Hammond and Anastasia Collins) take on all comers in this story dealing with the secrets behind Area 51. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Get Your Kids Reading!

Are you looking for a way to get your kids (or illiterate friends) into reading?  Comics offer an easy way to make kids excited about reading for themselves. Here is a possible map to success.

0. Read to your kids!  
There's nothing that can truly substitute for this experience.  Show them reading is fun, go crazy with the onomatopoeia, be animated, use voices with characters.  By watching you, they will also learn the mechanics of reading.  Pointing to the words or drawing attention to specific letters will all help them down the road, so try to do it intermittently.  If you are occasionally crunched for time, you supplement with some episodes of Super Why (on PBS).

1. Polo/ Owly

Both of these series are text-less. The stories are carried in a purely graphic form.  By reading stories like this, children learn to look at panels in a  sequence.  Also, this can be their first chance to enjoy a story on their own.  Stage One gives them a chance to experience the story and then tell you about it.  Watching a child do this is ten times better than anything you'll find on tv.

2. Tiny Titans/ Johnny Boo
These may seem like a bit of a jump from the first stage, but this is a process.  Your child will not be able to fly through this on their first attempt.  Each of these series contain stories that are short and easy to approach.  Stage Two is about breaking things down.  You can pick a large word and divide it into small parts.  When they get good at sounding things out that way, they won't give up when they see the word "Treehouse".  Don't be afraid to mark up your books to give them reading cues.

3. Usagi Yojimbo/ Magic Trixie
At Stage Three, your kids have mastered the basic skills of reading. With these series, they are getting a little less silliness and a bit more humanity.  There is a range of emotions for both the characters and readers to work through.  Actions and consequences are shown in the stories and it's good for the kids to see.  Cultural and societal exposure comes from all forms of media and comics should not be discounted. 

4.  Bone/ Amelia Rules
This level is similar to the previous one.  Stage Four books have a higher concentration of words per panel.  The stories and concepts are a bit deeper as well, so don't be surprised if readers at this stage start to ask more questions about the characters.  Taking the time to explain actions and consequences with kids is greatly beneficial, whether it's in a book or in time out.

5. Marvel Illustrated Series/ Diary of a Wimpy Kid
With the other books, the young readers worked through worlds full of fantasy and silliness.  In Stage Five, kids can look at characters with a bit more realism to them.  The range of the tone is still vast, but put into a new context.  Teach kids how to relate the world in their head to the world around them.  Seeing less of the black and white that is shown in some stories and learning the shades of gray is important to their literary development just as much as their psychological development.  They will continue to judge the characters for their actions, holding them accountable from their own view point.

As your kids work through this process, take the time to listen when they tell you what they are reading.  Asking questions about what they would change or what their favorite part, enhances the experience for them and highlights creativity.

Get those kids reading, so a trip to the comic shop can be a family experience. When they get here, they just might ask for that $3 comic instead of the $20 toy.

- Ryan