Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

I bought this at the Kiddo's school book fair in the Spring. Read it to the Kiddo during our visit to the US.

Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days
Publisher: Amulet Books (a division of Abrams; series website at wimpykid.com)
Date: 2009
Writer: Jeff Kinney
Artist: Jeff Kinney

This volume tells the story of Greg Heffley's summer vacation, although his parents are the real stars of this installment in the series. Greg's mom's relentless and ill-fated efforts to have the "Best Summer Ever" in spite of a budget crunch lead to one disaster after another. Meanwhile Greg''s dad has a defining show of emotion that leads to the dog referenced in the title.

The jokes were a bit mixed. There were some funny ones, some that fell flat, and a few that the Kiddo thought were hilarious (Greg's dad mistaking the trash can at the fast food drive-through for the speaker).

In the end, I would have liked to have seen more from the dog storyline, and less of Greg's on-again-off-again (and borderline abusive) friendship with Rowley.

Rating: 5/10

Friday, July 14, 2017

Star Wars #33

Our travels in the US continue. We spent last weekend in Annapolis MD, where we attended my cousin's wedding. In addition to wedding-based activities, we toured the US Naval Academy, saw Spider-Man: Homecoming (loved it!), and stopped by Capital Comics, where the Kiddo picked out this recent Star Wars issue.

Title: Star Wars
Issue: 33
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Date: September, 2017
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Letterer: VC's Clayton Cowles
Editor: Jordan D. White, Heather Antos
Cover: Mike Mayhew

This takes place between episodes 4 and 5, with Luke and Leia are stranded together on an uninhabited island located on a mostly-ocean planet.

Making the wise decision to completely ignore any potential awkwardness resulting from this scenario, the story focuses on Leia, whose narration adds some depth to her character while at the same time explaining how the Princess ended up with some wilderness skills.

This is a nice interlude without a lot of major plot implications. The visuals are good and the insights into Luke and Leia are interesting. There are enough twists to make a decent self-contained story.

Rating: 6/10


Friday, July 7, 2017

Darth Vader and Son

This is what the Kiddo picked out on our recent visit to Million Year Picnic in Cambridge MA.

Title: Darth Vader & Son
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Date: 2012
Writer: Jeffrey Brown
Artist: Jeffrey Brown

Star Wars: Episode Three-and-a-Half. This collection of charming cartoons imagines Lord Vader raising four-year-old Luke Skywalker. The kid has all of the expected quirks of a four-year-old, and he seems a bit hesitant about the whole dark-side thing.

Cartoons cover a bunch of classic parenting scenarios, but the real cleverness of this collection is the author's knack for slipping in bits of dialogue from the Star Wars films into those parenting situations. There are also guest appearances by characters and creatures from across the Star Wars galaxy.

By blatantly avoiding any attempt at canon or continuity, this book manages to use familiar characters and images in some really funny ways.

Both myself and the Kiddo were laughing all the way through.

Rating: 8.5

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Alan Turing's Fairy Tales

We're officially back in the USA, with about a month before we're heading to China. As might be imagined, things have been busy. In the end, I managed to get the old unread comics stack down to five. Of course now, after a couple of weeks in the US, I've got a much bigger new unread comics stack. I've been to Newbury Comics in Hyannis MA a couple of times, and also had a chance to visit Million Year Picnic in Cambridge MA. I've picked up a few items that I had ordered over the course of the school year and had shipped to my US address, and I've gotten a bunch of comics out of my storage unit.

This one comes from Million Year Picnic, an excellent indy/minicomic-friendly store in the Harvard Square area of Cambridge MA.

Title: Alan Turing's Fairy Tales
Publisher: Mehitabel Glenhaber
Writer: Mehitabel Glenhaber
Artist: Mehitabel Glenhaber

This minicomic envisions what bedtime fairy tales might have looked like through the eyes of Alan Turing. The concept is brilliant. How is Pinocchio going to proved that he is a real boy after all? Turing might just have a method for that!

Turing versions of several other classic fairy tales are also included.

My only problem with this book is that it rushed to cover multiple stories, where really I felt like there was enough good material to go at a slower pace. A whole series of these would be great!

Rating: 7/10