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Battling Boy (Battling Boy #1)

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  1,717 ratings  ·  300 reviews
The adventure begins.

Monsters roam through Acropolis, swallowing children into the horrors of their shadowy underworld. Only one man is a match for them--the genius vigilante Haggard West.

Unfortunately Haggard West is dead.

Acropolis is desperate, but when its salvation comes in the form of a twelve-year-old demigod, nobody is more surprised than Battling Boy himself.
Paperback, 202 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by First Second
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2014 Eisner Award Nominees
13th out of 97 books — 62 voters
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106th out of 138 books — 78 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nicola Mansfield
I don't have much to say about this one. Having noticed the other high star ratings this book has received I realize I am in the minority in my opinion but I just didn't like it. I really wanted to though!. It sounded so like my type of book but it just didn't do anything for me. Even though it was full of monster-battling action from beginning to end I found myself bored and wanting the book to hurry up and be over. The Hero's son being sent to battle monsters to prove his coming-of-age and her ...more
Sam Quixote
I feel like Battling Boy should his own 80s kids cartoon theme music.

Battling Boy! Battling Boy!
Fighting monsters ‘stead of playin’ with toys!
Battling Boooooooooy!

He’s a space prince come to save the world
There a Batman character who’s also a girl
The boy’s got a cape that’s big and red
He’s basically young Superman - yeah!

Battling Boy! Battling Boy!
Nothing rhymes with Battling Boy!

(To the tune of something awesome and ‘80s rockin’ with a montage of Battling Boy punching bad guys and then looking
...more
Emilia P
Why do superheroes wear such silly hats? I mean, seriously, Thor-esque-God-dude, you lost me at the Rambling. I will say two things. I was singularly unimpressed by the superheroes in this story and I thought the storytelling was clunky and uneven and I gave not one hoot for the titular Battling Boy. I gave slightly more of a hoot for of-this-world daughter of the fallen human superhero guy, but, eh. I have no desire to root for them or reflect upon the tropes and responsibilities of superheroes ...more
Jeff Jackson
Some of Paul Pope's best work. Nominally aimed at a YA audience, but it remains graphically sophisticated and never dumbs down the narrative. Interested to see how the story unfolds in the upcoming volumes.
Maurice Carlos Ruffin
We're living in the post-post modern age of comic books. Everyone is on the bandwagon. At least a million kids dressed up as Iron Man or the Hulk for Halloween.

Yet, most of the stories that have finally trickled up to the movies are decades old. (Example: the next film in the X-Men franchise features The Days of Future Past plot. Absolutely, one of the best stories ever made, but it was made in 1980!) So it's with this back drop that many of us fanboys search for something fresh. You know, somet
...more
Wyatt Packard
The story opens with the death of Haggard West, the only hero to try to save and protect the monster-plagued city of Arcopolis. While Haggard's daughter deals with the death of her beloved father and hero, Battling boy embarks on a mission. Battling Boy is a Demi-God and monster slayer like his father and mother before him. As Battling Boy is about to turn thirteen his father tells him that he must leave their floating home and go on his "rambling" a journey and epic quest to prove oneself worth ...more
Kevin Wright
For the record, I’m a huge Paul Pope fan. I think he’s one of the few real visionaries working in comics today, one of only a handful of artists who are really challenging the pre-conceived notions of the craft of comic book storytelling. He can crank out pages when he has to, but only after he’s thought about what he’s going to draw for a long time. He doesn’t do things by rote. He seizes the opportunity to say something new in everything he does. Ultimately, he has the potential to be a waters ...more
Trey Piepmeier
This was a really fun read. I think I need to read up on Greek Mythology to get more out of this story.

I was already a big fan of Paul Pope, and this book just reinforces that. It would be so easy for this story to be gratuitously violent, sexual, or use foul language, but it doesn't, and that really makes it stand out. There's no reason kids couldn't read this book.

The art (especially the bright colors) and the juxtaposition of seemingly normal everyday things with monsters and gods is delightf
...more
Candice M (tinylibrarian)
Can monster-plagued Arcopolis be saved by a twelve-year-old demigod? Compelling and action-packed from the get-go, readers follow the intersecting paths of Aurora West, teenage daughter of slain hero Haggard West, and tween demigod Battling Boy, both on quests to prove themselves and save Arcopolis from the monsters plaguing it. In trying to find their way as young heroes, Aurora and Battling Boy discover that lack of self-confidence may be the most dangerous monster of all.
Robert Rivera
I got a copy of this book at the book expo and it was awesome!!! I never read any of Paul Pope's other books but I really want to now. Never before have I seen a marriage of the superhero and classic myths genre done in this way. Teens will love this story as the main character is hurled into a coming of age tale of heroism and responsibility. I highly recommend this book, it's an instant classic.
Scott Robins
A little bit of Roald Dahl, a little bit of Tim Burton's Batman, a little bit of Dick Tracy, a little bit of classic mythology all wrapped up in an off-the-wall superhero story about a boy discovering what it means to be a hero. Delivers on all levels.
Elizabeth
It was like falling into the nightmare of a young boy with ADD. Beautiful and gripping. One of the best graphic novels I've read this year.
First Second Books
Oct 30, 2013 First Second Books marked it as first-second-publications
We think this book is super.

We hope you do, too.
Peter Derk
I've been talking a lot about syndromes that I've invented. Or not so much invented as noticed and name. I guess if I was inventing syndromes, I'd probably be too busy to write reviews of comics.

Is there such a thing as a good syndrome? One you'd want to have?

Anyway, Battling Boy, for me, suffers from what I like to call How I Met Your Mother Syndrome.

It goes like this.

The show How I Met Your Mother has some good laughs, and its success is almost certainly due to the cast. However, most noticeab
...more
Alexa
4.5 stars

I only had a vague idea of what Battling Boy was about when I started reading it. But from my experience reading some of Paul Pope's other graphic novels, I knew what I was going to get: awesome artwork, a wonderful story, and badass characters!

It was easy to become immersed in Battling Boy's journey. (Yes, Battling Boy is the main character's name!) He may be young, but he was cool and hilarious. I loved that he was brave, yet unsure of himself. That uncertainty is something that I thi
...more
Lynn
Terrific! A nice hats-off to the super-hero tropes while doing something fresh and packed with kid appeal. Acropolis is beset with monsters but they were held in check by the hero Haggard West. Were - because now Haggard is dead and the city is besieged. Two new heroes, each unknown to the other, are on the scene but being a monster fighter is a tough gig! A twelve-year-old godling is sent to Acropolis to prove himself on his Turning Day. Armed with an array of T-shirts that impart powers (and s ...more
Jessica at Book Sake
Book Review by Chris for Book Sake
Battling Boy is just so stylish, you don’t have any choice but to fall in love with the book. The story, the art, the dialogue all harken back to the 80′s sci-fi epics of old. It’s so grand, but in such a grounded way. I have flashes of Flash Gordon, Buckaroo Banzai, and maybe touches of The Last Starfighter.

Battling Boy is basically the daydreams of my youth coming alive on page. Maybe my adult daydreams as well. A super powered kid battling giant monsters? I s
...more
Juju
The wait is finally over and Paul Pope once again delivers the goods. It's obvious that Paul dug deep into himself for this one. The art is breathtaking, both kinetic and expressive. There is a consistent inventiveness that just pops off the page, transforming old ideas (like Haggard West and Humbaba) into something fresh and new. And the story, as the first chapter in an expanding series, pulls you through at a lightning pace, introducing dozens of characters and several worlds that would be gr ...more
Michael
Have you been waiting forever for the next Paul Pope science-fictiony YA hero-journey with strong male and female characters? I know right!!! Stop waiting and get thee to a copy of Battling Boy.

The story begins in a world is being slowly but inevitably overrun by monsters, some Pacific-Rim-style and some boogey-man style. When the local caped crusader type meets an untimely end, the citizens turn to an unlikely hero: a young boy with mysterious powers and even more mysterious financial backers.
...more
Tyler Hill
Paul Pope is an artist whose work I've appreciated for a while now, but whose work I've read comparatively little of. Aside from his Escapo graphic novel, my exposure to him has largely been limited to a couple issues of Milligan's X-Force run (that he was the guest penciler for) and his Solo book he did for DC a number of years back.

That said, I was really excited when I saw the solicitations for this new series, and knew I had to check it out. With it's high concept of a boy defending a city
...more
Norman Cook
Paul Pope channels a bit of Jack Kirby and a bit of Steve Ditko with his own unique take on the hero's journey. The two hundred pages of this opening chapter in the adventures of Battling Boy move quickly to introduce a group of interesting characters. The villains' motivations are still unclear, as well as much of the architecture of this universe, but I am sure that future volumes will have plenty of fun and excitement. After all, Battling Boy still has eleven t-shirts!
Raina
Awesome monsters, epic settings, and a magical suitcase of tshirts. Srsly. This is so much fun. Pope should do more comics that work for the middle school set, bc I can totally see him riding the wave of Doug TenNapel and Pinocchio Vampire Slayer into the hearts of middle schoolers everywhere.

This thing is beautifully colored and though the illustrations are a touch cramped at first glance, when you actually focus on each panel in turn (as you're supposed to), everything makes sense and sucks yo
...more
Sam
3.5

Enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would. Actually, I loved the idea of the t-shirts giving Battling Boy powers, and I ADORED the fact that he was very much a child and not someone being forced into maturity -- he had temper tantrums! It was a nice change! I definitely feel ready now to tackle Aurora West.
Pat Nelson
Gosh, Battling Boy rocks! Paul Pope has masterfully pulled elements of comic book super heroes, mythology, and coming-of-age stories together to create what has become my favorite book of the year. Battling Boy is cast off to another dimension by his father, a powerful warrior who speaks in dramatic soliloquies, to test his mettle in a world besieged by monsters. An instantly loveable character that approaches danger with unabashedly ignorant enthusiasm, Battling Boy is sure to be a hit with kid ...more
Jan
The son of a mighty god, Battling Boy spent his childhood among his own kind in the Starry Lofts. On the eve of his adolescence, however, he is sent down to planet Earth (or something like it) and its troubled city of Arcopolis, a place overrun with terrible monsters that, for reasons unknown, specialize in kidnapping the city’s children. The children’s sole protector has just been slain, and Battling Boy is supposed to step up to the plate and prove himself by becoming the city’s new hero. Not ...more
Michelle
It was 3.5 stars. It's a good start for a fun adventure book about a city in need of a hero, God-ling who is starting on his journey, and a young woman who plans to take up her father's mantle as a hero. It's just a start, but it is a great start with lots of promise.
Randy Lander
A great read, reminiscent of Grant Morrison or Alan Moore's ABC work, with Pope doing amazing art as usual and some fun world building to boot.

So why not five stars? Because it's unfinished. It's only the first chapter in a longer work, which may turn out fine but given how long this took, I'm not sure when we'll see volume two or if we'll ever see an ending. If this is chapter one of a superhero masterpiece, that'll be great. If it's the teaser for an unfinished tale with more questions and pot
...more
Jesse
Arcopolis is a massive city, sprawling as far as the eye can see, and it has a problem: monsters. There are all kinds of monsters taking over the city, from the deadly Ghoul Gang run by Sadisto to the fifty foot car-eating monstrosity known as the Humbaba. When the city’s greatest hero, Haggard West, falls in battle, it seems like all is lost for the city.
Enter Battling Boy, the son of a mighty warrior from a god-like realm that oversees many worlds. Sent to the city of Arcopolis as part of a c
...more
Leslie
One of the things I like about superhero comics is their ability to both maintain continuity and prove regenerative. Need to reboot a character or story? Will do. Has the essence of the hero and their story really changed? No. Even so, it is still hard to break into the superhero realm of comics. Someone is always there to remind you that you didn’t start reading that particular comic early enough, never mind that you have to be born in order to have done so. Comparing storylines and/or creators ...more
Jeremy Birks
In the world of comics, Paul Pope’s art and work philosophy are unparalleled, so it’s no surprise his first major work in years is being met with some much deserved buzz. This one’s for all ages too which is a first for Pope yet still keeps his sense for storytelling and humor. Rendered in his usual kinetic and energetic style, the first volume of Battling Boy introduces the city of Acropolis–overrun with monsters and other night terrors that haunt the local children. When Acropolis’s vigilante, ...more
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PAUL POPE is an American cartoonist living and working in New York City. Pope has made a name for himself internationally as an artist and designer. He has been working primarily in comics since the early '90s, but has also done a number of projects with Italian fashion label Diesel Industries and, in the US, with DKNY. His media clients include LucasArts, Paramount Pictures, Cartoon Network, Marv ...more
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