Jenny's Library

Posts Tagged ‘comics

cover image for Living With Jackie ChanLiving With Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

When Josh arrives at his uncle’s apartment, where he’ll be spending his senior year of high school, all he wants to do is forget.  Forget the year before, the plans he’d made with friends, and the mistakes he’s made.  Josh may be determined to interact with other people as little as possible, but his Uncle Larry has other plans. Josh is soon roped into helping his uncle with the karate class he teaches at the local Y.  If Josh isn’t careful, he might just start making friends and getting tangled up in other people’s lives again.

I didn’t know until near to the end of the book that this was a companion story to a previous novel, Jumping Off Swings. (My fault, not anyone else’s.)  Living With Jackie Chan makes some sense without having read the first book, but I think it would have helped a lot to have read Jumping Off Swings first.  Largely because that meant, for me, the Big Mystery for much of the book was What Did Josh Do? I suspect that me spending most of the book thinking about the really dark things Josh might have done is not quite what the author had in mind.  Rather, the suspense works much better if it’s simply about if Josh is ever going to confide in others – and how much he will and what he’ll say.  That keeps the focus on coping with an imperfect family and what it means to be a good friend.

cover image for Bandette, Volume 1Bandette, Volume 1 by Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover

Bandette is the world’s greatest thief by night, and a teen girl by day.  With the help of her friends, she runs circles around both the police and her fellow thieves.  But when an international organization of villains wants her dead, is it more than Bandette can handle?

This particular version includes both the first series and a collection of additional comics and stories from guests authors and artists.  The main story is entertaining enough, if a bit old school (and the dialogue is a bit precious at times).  The extras are more of a mixed bag, as such things often are.

cover image for My Little Pony: Pony Tales Volume 1My Little Pony: Pony Tales Volume 1 by Thomas Zahler, Ryan K. Lindsay, Katie Cook, Barbara Randall Kesel, Ted Anderson

see full review here

tl,dr: mediocre. except when it’s instead incredibly creepy and disturbing, and not in a good way.

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cover image for My Little Pony: Pony Tales Volume 1My Little Pony: Pony Tales Volume 1 by Thomas Zahler, Ryan K. Lindsay, Katie Cook, Barbara Randall Kesel, Ted Anderson

The vast majority of the stories collected in this volume are simply underwhelming;  full of cliches, at times hard to follow, and surprisingly lacking in creativity for a fantasy series – even one based on a popular television show.  Sadly, this is hardly unusual. So all of this might be forgivable if it weren’t for the insulting stereotypes that several of the comics employ. Or the extent to which the book doesn’t seem to be clear on whether it’s main target audience consists of children or adults. 

When I read books for children, I expect them to present ideas in ways that make sense to children. For example, if a comic whose main audience is made up of eight year old girls includes a party in one of its stories, I expect it to focus on the kinds of things that 8 year olds usually associate with parties: cake, balloons, streamers, games.  What I don’t expect is for it to instead decide that the party will be depicted more like a college frat party.  Complete with card games instead of kid’s games, togas, lampshades on heads, a drunk Rainbow Dash, and Fluttershy looking nervous while being talked up by two male ponies.

 And yet, this is not fan art, but an actual excerpt from the comic:

inside pages from My Little Pony: Pony Tales Volume 1

It’s one thing to include jokes for adults on the sly. Or to make a work that’s enjoyable to a wide range of ages. Or to otherwise acknowledge that adults can be fans of works that are intended for kids.  It’s quite another for a comic that claims to be targeting children to completely forget who their audience is.

And it’s a completely different level of wrong for a tie-in comic for a show whose main audience consists of young girls to decide that adult men specifically need to be catered to instead of those young girls.  And for it to be done in such a way that allusions are made to young women being targeted for unwanted attention – or worse – by their male peers.

And yet this is indeed what happened – in a book marketed to children.

Children, mind you, that are too young to have the power to speak up and tell the writer or publisher if this bothers them. Children that are so young that articulating their opinions and feelings, especially about unfamiliar topics, is still quite difficult in a way that adults often forget or fail to understand.

This goes beyond merely annoying or insulting. It’s both disturbing and creepy.

IDW published this, if anyone wishes to make their feelings known to the people responsible.  I read this comic via Netgalley and so will be forwarding this review to them as requested.