You may remember my lament over the death of a truly excellent new comic that I posted here some time ago (A PSA About Comics). Well, since then I’ve been spending a lot more money at my local comic shop on monthly issues and trades – and enjoying the heck out of following books from month to month. There’s a slew of excellent titles on the shelf right now, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites that I’m reading right now. In this post I’ll be talking about titles that are 100% kid-friendly (some of which I’ve already pre-ordered for my J Graphic Novel collection!).
Abigail and the Snowman by Roger Langridge, published by Boom!Studios
Abigail and the Snowman is a charming short-run comic (it’s at 3 out of 4 issues, with the fourth one due out this month) about Abigail, a young girl who lives with her dad, and the relationship she develops with Claude, a yeti on the run from a secret government organization. It’s a book that deals with issues real kids face – Abigail and her father struggle with money, Abigail struggles with making friends because they move so often, etc. – but couched in a sweet, fantastical story as Abigail helps Claude find his real home. Recommended for ages 6-8, but really, everyone’s going to enjoy this one.
Feathers by Jorge Corona, published by Archaia
Feathers is a steampunky adventure that’s also a short-run (six issues, two of which are currently available) about a young boy named Poe who runs around at night with goggles on and is covered in feathers. In contrast to Poe is Bianca, a wealthy girl from the privileged part of the city, who runs into Poe while running away from her controlling family. So far, Feathers is a fun Victorian romp with a message about classism and judging books by their covers, but it has the promise of developing into a bigger fantasy story full of prophecy and adventure. Ages 8-10, and anyone who enjoys a good steam engine in their fiction.
Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan, Brendan Fletcher, and Karl Kerschl, published by DC
I’m really excited to see DC exploring the city of Gotham outside of Batfamily stories (for adult readers who are also horror fans, I can’t recommend Gotham by Midnight highly enough), and also developing stories inside Gotham that are accessible to younger readers (the new Batgirl of Burnside is another example of this). While Gotham Academy doesn’t escape the shadow of the Bat completely, it doesn’t need to – nor should it. Rather, it shows us what goes on in a different environment that’s still effected by the hero and villain mythology Gotham encourages. Olive Silverlock, Maps Mizoguchi, and their supporting cast of characters are students at Gotham Academy, a prestigious prep school – while the boarding school setup could invite a lot of cliches and tired tropes, GA embraces them and moves on, developing its characters past their archetypes and giving its heroine, Olive, a remarkable amount of room for her own development past “self-exiled loner.” Lots of great female characters and a wonderfully diverse cast make this book a great tween read.
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, and Carolyn Nowak, published by Boom!Studios
I don’t know that it’s possible for me to say enough good things about Lumberjanes. Set in a girl scout-type camp, where the campers hunt supernatural creatures, solve ancient prophecies, and eventually save the world from tricky mythological figures, Lumberjanes still finds room to show you the amazing friendships between the core cast of five, their fellow campers, the camp counselors, and so on. This truly is a book that trumpets “Friendship to the Max!” while celebrating hardcore ladytypes of all creeds and ages. Personally, my favorite scene is when Ripley, the spritely and energetic clown of the group, ends up riding a velociraptor into camp – a velociraptor she eventually befriends and shares a tearful goodbye with. Recommended for all ages.