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May 24, 2015

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Spring Graphic Novels: From Science to Superheroes

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Nothing is quite as it seems in this spring’s graphic novels, from the bad science in Darryl Cunningham’s How to Fake a Moon Landing to the reality-show superheroes in Tiger & Bunny. But there are some familiar faces as well, with a new Star Trek story, a graphic-novel version of Stephenie Meyer’s New Moon, and the return of the classic Disney game manga Kingdom Hearts. There’s plenty here to keep readers sprawled in their hammocks all summer long.

How to Fake a Moon LandingCUNNINGHAM, Darryl. How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial. Abrams ComicArts. April 2013. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781419706899.

Gr 7 Up—A great choice for skeptics and the science-minded, this book examines the myths behind seven different cases of bad science, from chiropractic to global warming denial, and ties it all up with a thoughtful essay on the scientific method.

LARSON, Hope. Who Is AC? illus. by Tintin Pantoja. S & S/Atheneum. April 2013. pap. $14.99. ISBN 9781442426504.Who is AC?

Gr 7 Up—An ordinary girl in a small town suddenly becomes a Sailor Moon-style superhero—but her new role has plenty of complications. This graphic novel feels like the beginning of a series: the characters are solid, and the book has an intriguing premise, with the characters’ online lives taking on physical form, but many plot points, including the shadowy deus ex machina, are left unexplained.

JOHNSON, Mike. Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness. illus. by David Messina. IDW Publishing. April 2013. pap. $17.99. ISBN 9781613776230.

Star TrekGr 7 Up—Kirk, Spock, and the rest of the Enterprise crew face off against a former Enterprise captain who is involved in a civil war in this prequel to the recently released movie Star Trek: Into Darkness. Like the movie, this graphic novel (which was originally released as a four-comic miniseries) features the young versions of the original cast. The plot is classic Star Trek, mixing moral dilemmas with clever twists, and the clear-lined, colorful art is easy to follow.

OTTAVIANI, Jim. Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. illus. by Maris Wicks. First Second. June 2013. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781596438651.

PrimatesGr 7 Up—Ottaviani, who is well known for his non-fiction graphic novels about the history of science, tells the story of the three well-known women, all students of Louis Leakey, who went into the wild to study primates in their natural habitat. The story focuses on the women and their lives as scientists, living in their subjects’ natural habitat but also dealing with human obstacles, such as poachers and, occasionally, the unwanted attentions of Leakey himself.

SHEN, Prudence. Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong. illus. by Faith Erin Hicks. First Second. May 2013. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781596436596.Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong

Gr 7 Up—It’s the robotics team versus the cheerleaders in a battle for funding—until they team up against the grownups and set out to win the money they need in a battle-robot contest. Like the TV show Glee, this book explores the different tribes in a high school and the ways they interact, with plenty of comedy and a few poignant moments as well.

AMANO, Shiro. Kingdom Hearts, Final Mix, Vols. 1 and 2. Yen Press. May 2013. pap. $12.00 each. ISBN 9780316254205 (vol. 1), 9780316254212 (vol. 2).

Kingdom HeartsGr 8 Up—This manga is one of several series set in the world of the Square Enix/Disney game Kingdom Hearts; it was originally released (in a different format) by TokyoPop. The story, which is complete in these two volumes, revolves around a young boy, Sora, who is searching for his missing friends. In a parallel story, Goofy and Donald Duck search for their king, Mickey Mouse, who has disappeared from the Disney Castle.

NISHIDA, Masafumi. Tiger & Bunny. illus. by Mizuki Sakakibara. Viz. April 2013. pap. $9.99. ISBN 9781421555614.

Tiger & BunnyGr 8 Up—Superheroes compete against one another not only to fight the bad guy, but also to score points in a reality show in this manga, which is based on the anime of the same name. The title characters are an aging superhero and a newcomer who are tossed together as a team by their bosses, despite the fact that they can’t stand each other.

New MoonMEYER, Stephenie. New Moon, Vol. 1. illus. by Young Kim. Yen Press. April 2013. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780316217187.

Gr 11 Up—The Twilight saga continues as Bella and Edward face new obstacles in this graphic adaptation of the second novel in the series. This is the first of a two-volume set, with the second volume due out in July 2014.

SOULE, Charles. Strange Attractors. illus.by Greg Scott. Archaia. Tr $19.95. May 2013. ISBN 9781936393626.

Strange AttractorsGr 11 Up—A graduate student becomes the disciple of an aging mathematician who is convinced he is keeping New York City from descending into chaos by making small changes, basically manipulating the Butterfly Effect. The authors come up with some imaginative scenarios that will ring true to any New Yorker, and it all comes together in an exciting climax. It’s a good choice for readers who appreciate the “aw, cool!” aspects of science, and the real-world setting makes it accessible to those who might otherwise shy away from science fiction.

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Brigid Alverson About Brigid Alverson

Brigid Alverson, the editor of the Good Comics for Kids blog, has been reading comics since she was 4. She has an MFA in printmaking and has worked as a book editor and a newspaper reporter; now she is assistant to the mayor of Melrose, Massachusetts. In addition to editing GC4K, she writes about comics and graphic novels at MangaBlog, SLJTeen, Publishers Weekly Comics World, Comic Book Resources, MTV Geek, and Good E-Reader.com. Brigid is married to a physicist and has two daughters in college, which is why she writes so much. She was a judge for the 2012 Eisner Awards.

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