The thing that strikes me the most about Smile is how utterly and completely normal it all is. Telgemeier’s chronicle of her dental problems and general angst during her junior high and high school years, though entertaining, and certainly fraught with melodrama, wouldn’t exactly fall under the realm of trauma, on the same level that, say, Stitches does. And while few of us have had our front teeth knocked out and spent our formative years in a variety of dentists offices, most of have had the other sort of problems Telgemeier narrates, like trouble in school, unrequited crushes, dysfunctional friendships, etc.
Perhaps the most striking thing is how Telgemeier handles these occurrences with relative intelligence and grace. Not that she doesn’t fret mind you, but rather that she so rarely trips herself up on the way to adulthood. So congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Telgemeier. You raised your daughter right.
The noted children’s book publisher Scholastic has had great success with their comics-oriented Graphix imprint, mainly thanks to their colorized volumes of Jeff Smith’s Bone. And it looks like they’re going to continue their publishing onslaught this year. Already we’ve seen the release of Copper by Kazu Kibuishi and Missile Mouse by Jake Parker. Want to find out what’s coming up next. Read on, read on …
Like the Sunday newspaper, it’s time once again for another round of What Are You Reading. Our guest this week is Ryan Sands, who can be found over at the Same Hat blog, recommending and even translating (Tokyo Zombie) some great, and occasionally bizarre manga (and I mean that in a good way).
To see what Ryan and the rest of us are reading this week, click on the link below. Then let us know what books you’re enjoying and want to recommend (or not) in the comments section.
Nancy Vol. One
by John Stanley
Drawn and Quarterly, 128 pages, $24.95.
When faced with the challenge of adapting Ernie Bushmiller’s classic comic strip to longer comic book format, John Stanley’s response was simple and economical: Turn her into Little Lulu.
That’s the only conclusion I can come to after reading this collection of stories in D&Q’s ongoing “John Stanley Library” project. Nancy is pretty much Lulu with frizzier hair, Sluggo is a thinner and slightly more benign Tubby. There’s even a snotty rich kid and bratty little boy similar to Wilbur and Alvin. Stanley even repeats one of his Tubby stories involving a burglar almost note for note.
That doesn’t make Nancy a bad book by any stretch of the imagination. Mediocre Stanley is still miles above most people’s best work. The best stories here though are the ones involving Oona Goosepimple, an odd, Wednesday Addams-type girl who supernatural antics cause no end of anxiety for poor Nancy. It’s those stories where Stanley — freed of the Bushmiller formula — really gets inventive and inspired. If the ratio of Oona stories increases as the volumes do, then I’ll keep buying these books as long as D&Q are able to get them out.
Reviews of Moomin, Amulet and more can be found after the jump …
Little Mouse Gets Ready
by Jeff Smith
Toon Books, 32 pages, $12.95.
Children’s comics don’t get more basic than this. Little Mouse wants to go play in the barn with his brothers and sisters, but first he has to get dressed. He does so step by step showing readers important things like how to button your shirt (and illustrating a narrative sequence of events). Then there’s a punchline and rimshot, the end.
Smith’s art is lush and spry here. I especially liked Little Mouse’s Warner Brothers-style reaction at the end. There’s no denying it’s a cute book, made by an extremely talented guy. But this is really a book for preschoolers and those just learning to read. If you know someone like that, then Little Mouse will make a great gift. But older Bone fan, even those still in elementary school, aren’t going to get too much out of this, beyond a chuckle or two at the end.
Next to Marvel’s big news today, the best revelation coming out of SDCC for me so far is the announcement that Jeff Smith is going to do more Bone books. And, in case you were wondering what these new series will look like, Smith has the cover art up for Tall Tales and a rough for Quest for the Spark over at his Web site.
After a bevy of announcements earlier in the week about movie deals and video-game adaptations, Comic-Con International officially kicked off Thursday with news of the hiring of an industry veteran, and three significant book acquisitions.
IDW Publishing revealed that Bob Schreck, a longtime senior group editor at DC Comics, will join the company as senior editor in October. He’ll focus on developing new projects and new talent.
An editor at Comico and Dark Horse, Schreck co-founded Oni Press with Joe Nozemack in 1996. Three years later he joined DC Comics, where he oversaw the Batman line and, eventually, edited the All-Star titles and developed new projects for Vertigo. He was laid off in January during a wave of major cutbacks by Warner Bros.
Day One’s major publishing news came from Scholastic, Drawn & Quarterly and Dark Horse.
Scholastic announced that Jeff Smith will release new Bone titles with co-writer Tom Sniegoski, beginning in summer 2010 with Bone: Tall Tales. The fall will see the expansion of the Bone world with the first book in the Quest for the Spark trilogy, overseen and illustrated by Smith and written by Sniegoski.
Drawn & Quarterly acquired the rights to Daniel Clowes’ new graphic novel Wilson, the cartoonist’s first book not to be originally serialized in Eightball. The title, described as a “portrait of the modern egoist,” will debut in May 2010.
Dark Horse, meanwhile, rolled out an overview of its convention announcements, which include plans to release all three volumes of the popular European noir series Blacksad.
In other Thursday highlights: