Stephen McCranie’s Space Boy, vol. 1 by Stephen McCranie
Dark Horse Books
Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Amy has lived her life on a far away mining colony, but when her dad loses his job, the family must return to planet Earth, a place Amy has only read about and seen through the media. To do this she must be in cryogenic sleep for thirty years. When she and her family arrive, they must navigate a new and different world, and one that does not contain Amy’s best friend Jemmah, who is now an adult back on the mining colony. Amy also has synesthesia, which gives her the ability to attach flavors to people. Her mom is mint and her dad is like hot chocolate. At her new school she meets a boy who has no flavor. She is both scared and curious. How will she survive in this strange new Earth? Will she ever be able to reconnect with Jemmah?
The quality of writing and beautiful illustrations make this a must read. The themes of friendship, love and loss will resonate with teens, and the fish out of water tale is told in such a relate-able way one almost forgets this story takes place in an imagined future.
Superb, vol. 1: Life After the Fallout by David F. Walker, Sheena C. Howard, and Ray-Anthony Height
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
After a meteor shower falls on Youngstown, Ohio as a result of a spacecraft’s attempt to divert an asteroid headed for earth, the city becomes an impact zone. Sunddenly, many of the local teenagers are developing superpowers. After one of the teens explodes and kills other residents, they are monitored daily, and those with powers are collected and taken away; no one know where.
When teenager Kayla Tate returns to Youngstown with her parents, who happen to be scientists working on the containment effort, she is also reacquainted with Jonah Watkins, a teen with Down Syndrome. She discovers that he not only has superpowers, but is Youngtown’s mysterious masked hero Cosmosis. When she also develops superpowers due to a meteor fragment, the two decide to band together and discover what has become of their missing classmates.
Jonah’s Down Syndrome is handled deftly—an intrinsic part of his being that leads him to embody a favorite comic book character, yet always relatable. There’s plenty of story here, and truly likeable characters. The illustrations expertly bring the characters to life and create a believable world where the average teen can look and feel like a superhero.
Share this one with fans of traditional superhero comics such as Super Sons and Ms. Marvel, as well as teens that enjoy dystopian science fiction.
A Girl in the Himalayas by David Jesus Vignolli
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
After the death of her parents, a young girl finds herself in a sanctuary deep in the Himalayas. When one of the sanctuary’s guardians sacrifices his immortality and power to rescue the girl, the safe haven becomes vulnerable to the darkness of humankind. As the remaining guardian works to maintain the peace and safety of the sanctuary, Vijaya shows its inhabitants what it truly means to be human and offers hope that the illusions of some does not represent the potential of goodness in many.
The creator of this graphic novel is both writer and artist, and Vignolli’s debut is a tale of magical realism that explores both the light and the dark sides of humankind. The story is told beautifully through the narrative and the art, and though the philosophy of the tale is complex, the way in which it is written makes it accessible even to juvenile readers. The narrative is at times charming and adorable and, at others, dark and disconcerting. In the end, the story leaves one with a hopeful feeling, something that is definitely welcomed in light of today’s current events.
Fans of fairy tales, folklore, and mythology are sure to enjoy this graphic novel. Give to readers of series like Vinland, Saga and Olympians.