RU, and 'lilRuRu, are here to help you shop for comics for the younger people in your life.
The Marvelous Land Of Oz, Axe Cop, Darkwing Duck, Takio, Return Of The Dapper Men
Hello there Internet People, its your good buddy RU, and introducing 'lilRuRu, here to discuss possible gift ideas for this holiday season. About 17 months ago WIFE and I found out we were going to be parents, and since then one of the things I have been thinking about is what comics do I have / can I get to share with a child? I know that I have plenty of books for teenagers and young adults, but aside from The Wizard of Oz I couldn't think of anything that I could share with a child. Luckily for me, I had no real trouble finding entertaining books for young children that (and this is important) wouldn't annoy the piss out of me after constant re-readings.
(As usual, a text version of the RUviews is available below the video)
The Marvelous Land Of Oz – This is the second book of L. Frank Baum's series in which we find out what happened in the Land of Oz once Dorothy went home. The story follows a young boy named Tip as he tries to escape from his evil caretaker Mombi. On the way to the Emerald City, now ruled by the Scarecrow, he runs into a revolutionary army made up of only women and girls, brings a pumpkin-headed manikin and a wooden sawhorse to life, and discovers the truth about his origin. I mean no disrespect to the work of Baum or the adaptation skills of Eric Shanower when I say that the writing in secondary in these Marvel books to the phenomenal and unique art of Scottie Young. There is no page in this book or Wizard where I didn't stop at least once to take a closer look at a panel or sequence to marvel (no pun(s) intended) at the artwork. In my opinion, these Oz adaptations would not be nearly as fun and interesting without Young's work. Jean-Francois Beaulieu (I'm just going to pretend I pronounced that correctly) colors the book to perfection, with each location in Oz getting its own base color that adds to the visual aspect of the story telling. For children, I not only expect that the simple yet emotional story to resonate, but also the visuals of the book itself to inspire young imaginations to see what is possible with pen, paper, and colors.
Speaking of young imaginations...
Axe Cop vol. 1 – This is the first collection from Dark Horse of the internet phenomena written by 5 year old Malachai Nicolle and drawn by his 29 year old brother, Ethan Nicolle. You can read every Axe Cop strip online for free, but with this collection you not only get the first 70 episodes, 40+ 'Ask Axe Cop' features, but also annotations by the older brother, Ethan. These notes are not needed to enjoy the stories (which are too absurd to try and describe out of context) but they do add insights into the imagination of Malachai and how Ethan is able to work within the temperament and schedule of a 5 year old. The stories and characters themselves are hilarious and heartfelt and would entertain any child or adult, as long as the adult can remember what it felt like to be a child, to believe anything was possible, and forget all laws of physics and nature. Axe Cop may be too violent for some parents, so I do recommend checking out axecop.com and reading the strip before purchasing this volume any child.
Darkwing Duck vol 1: The Duck Knight Returns – For adults who grew up in the early 90s, Darkwing Duck was the terror that flapped in the night as a part of the afternoon Disney block of cartoons that included Duck Tales, Rescue Rangers, and Tale Spin. In 2010 BOOM! Studios brought Darkwing Duck back as an ongoing series written by Ian Brill and drawn by James Silvani, two people who obviously have a love for the cartoon and all of its characters. This volume reads just like an episode of the old cartoon keeping the same conversational and specific Disney art style. Unfortunately the comic was recently cancelled because, as my e-friend Zechs like to put it, Disney doesn't want us to have nice things, but in its short run, Darkwing Duck told a complete and well rounded story that would entertain and captivate the young and old alike.
For the slightly older, pre-teen, age group I would recommend both Takio and Return Of The Dapper Men. Takio is the creation of Brian Michael Bendis & Michael Avon Oeming the people who bring us Powers, and Olivia Bendis. I have to admit that part of the reason I picked this up was to see how the creators of Powers, one of the more adult books out there, would fare when it came to PG rated stories. I was not disappointed, in this first volume; two sisters are given powers when the experiment of a friend's father explodes while they are visiting. Of course, the sisters end up defeating the father, who turns out to be a mad scientist (who would have guessed) while setting up his daughter as the foil in (hopefully) future volumes.
Return of the Dapper Men is one of those rare books that not only entertains people of all ages, but also the older you get the more you get out of the story. For the very young, just looking at Janet Lee's fantastic artwork would be enough to get the feel for the story being told. As the child begins to read for them self's, the story becomes a simple tale about the dangers of sloth and stagnation and the importance of growing up. But the older one gets and the deeper one delves into the book the philosophy and themes that are weaved throughout the story and artwork. Jim McCann is able to include motifs from such classics as Peter Pan and Alice In Wonderland without beating the reader over the head with it. Return of the Dapper Men is a book that a parent can read for himself and read to a child and get two totally different stories with different morals and lessons. I cannot wait to sit at a table with 'lilRuRu and share this piece of art.
Ok, that's that with that for now. Hopefully, if I have time, I'll do another trade special here soon for adults.