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The Drained Brains Caper (Chicagoland Detective Agency #1)

3.22 of 5 stars 3.22  ·  rating details  ·  116 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Megan is a vegetarian, manga-reading haiku writer. She definitely doesnt fit in at Stepford Academy, her new summer school. Raf may be the only human being she knows who can help. But with the zombified students, very mad scientists, and the school psychiatrist on their trail, theyre going to need a whole lot more help.
Hardcover, 58 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Graphic Universe
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Giovanni Gelati
I was really surprised by this when I opened the pages. I knew absolutely nothing about the author, Trina Robbins or this series. What an eye opener! Trina Robbins has been writing for thirty, yes I said thirty years. Her website is @; it is cute and very informative. She has penned a variety of graphic novels; just the covers give you a glimpse into the diversity of her work.
My fingers cramp up just typing the title to this graphic novel: Chicagoland Detective Agenc
Wow, what a huge disappointment. After a great setup, the story descends into cliches and tired storylines. It's a shame, because it starts with a bang: thirteen-year-old Megan bursts into a pet shop and asks to buy a tarantula. The unsuspecting young man at the counter- Raf- informs her that they don't actually sell animals at this pet store, and the foundation of an eventual friendship is laid. Megan is sent to a summer prep school, tellingly named the Stepford Preparatory Academy, and thus be ...more
Maya Orama
This book is about this girl name Megan and she was in school and she was at lunch the lunch teacher was mean she gave Megan sloppy joe and this boy ask for it she gave it to hime because he was her only friend so when she got back at the lunch room every body was having a food fight prince Abel took her out of school because she start the food fight and her father took her to the doctor and the doctor was the evilly lunch lady and she gave her a shot to go to sleep to open her brain but the boy ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: This is a Cybils '10 nominee and required reading for me as a graphic novels panelist.

Honestly from the cover and title I was expecting corny and campy but what I got was an entertaining old-style private eye detective story involving a mad scientist. The plot is similar to that of Brain Camp, though this time it is a summer prep school where the students seem to all be brain washed into achieving. Add our main character, Megan Yamamura. The new kid in town, a vegan, manga re
Okay, so I have decided to check out graphic novels and my first is Chicagoland Detective Agency: The Drained Brains Caper #1. Comic books weren't my thing back in the day and I really didn't think that graphic novels would be any different. And my second concern was what kind of story can be told in so few pages. My thoughts have changed after reviewing the work of Trina Robbins and Tyler Page.

Megan was an infectious character from page one, keeping the madness of the story full of life in a wa
With eco-friendly lifestyles becoming increasingly more visible & popular, it makes good sense for someone to put out a book filled with those themes & similar ones. After all, kids can be into cruelty-free pet shops, animal rescue, & anti-establishment issues too, you know.

Chicagoland #1 follows the adventures of Trina (a free spirited young vegetarian who isn't afraid to speak her mind) & Raf (a computer savvy son of a pet-free supply store) as they attempt to figure out exactl
Interest group: Boys or girls
target audience: grade 5+, although younger grades should be able to read it

This graphic novel is a take off of the Stepford Wives story but geared for kids but with a twist! The graphics were great and the story was really funny! Megan reminded me of the girl from Beetlejuice but younger. The premise of the story is not new and the characters are not all that new either but they are really funny! Sometimes I didn't understand what was being said and I had to think
Gecky Boz
Bountiful Brains

I read this book at

This book gets a 3 gnomes and a hat out of 5 gnomes, it's a really fun read and the drawing is well done but sadly the one I read was in black and white it would have definitely would have been a 4 out of 5 if the whole book was in color.

The two main characters are pretty well fleshed out for what's essentially an origin story. Megan's writing in haikus is a nice touch to the dialogue. The villain is great and reminded me of Count Olaf from the A
Wandering Librarians
Megan Yamamura, anime lover, and writer of haiku, has just moved to Chicagoland and unfortunately for her, is now starting summer school at Stepford Preparatory Academy. Megan knows something strange is going on on her first day: why are all the kids so...weird? Will she be able to find out what's going on at Stepford Prep? Or will she become one of them?

As the name of the school suggests, all the kids were being brainwashed by an evil scientist. Megan is captured, but escapes with the help of R
I got a digital copy of this book through Netgalley. It looked like a fun little graphic novel and sounded like an amusing premise.

When Megan walks into Raf's pet store he knows she is trouble, she is asking for a pet tarantula afterall. Megan's dad sends her to a exclusive summer prep school where she senses something is not right about the strangely monotonous children there. Will Megan and Raf be able to unravel a devious plot that is set at brainwashing a subset of the juvenile population?

Jessica at Book Sake
This graphic novel for kids 9-12 was a quick read for me and I can see it being a fun read for kids. This is something I think that my niece, who’s in elementary school, would get a kick out of reading. It was quirky and silly from beginning to end and it was easy to follow what was going on. The haiku writing teenager was a different twist as haiku’s showed up in different forms throughout the story. Having a genius kid as a best friend never hurts a story and who can resist a plot that contain ...more
I tried another comic book and let me tell you I adored it. It was awesome, yet a little bit too short for my liking, but still very good.

Megan is a young girl who has to go to a new school, where the kids are a little too weird for her liking. Megan is as it says in the description, bubbly, fun and a tough young girl. I also found her straightforward, I mean walking into a shop and asking the boy who works there to be your friend is pretty straightforward.

The plot is fun. Yet as I said too shor
Short graphic novel about the beginnings of the Chicagoland Detective Agency.

A new girl in town stops by the local pet supply store looking for tarantulas, and befriends the owners son. Later when she discovers something amiss at her new school, she calls her new friend who breaks into the evil principal's lab and helps save her AND a talking dog. After their success defeating the principal the three decide to band together to form a detective agency.
This book was fun to read with my kids. I love Megan! She's someone any girl could relate to . Raf is an amazing. I love that he is a complete computer geek but also a great person to have on your team. I love that he had Megan's back after only knowing her for a few days. it shows how strong friendship can be after even a short period of time. I loved Bradley when he came into the story he is just awesome. This was a fun comic to read for anyone it has a great mystery. I recommend this for any ...more
Cute story about a couple of kids who discover some very weird happenings in their town. The art by Tyler Page is well-suited to the subject matter, and his characters are both appealing and well-designed. The story from the renowned Trina Robbins has the right general tone, but the telling is sometimes very old-fashioned in its approach, and can throw a reader used to modern comics. (For instance, it's not unusual for her characters to jump from one emotional beat to the next in moments, withou ...more
Sep 04, 2012 Kate rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 5th-7th graders
First book in a series. New girl at school is misfit but who would guess this is due to the fact that everyone else is brainwashed? Obviously something is up since wearing a band-aid on your forehead, which every student is doing, isn't likely to be a fashion statement nor is liver and onions a popular lunch choice. Fortunately for the new girl, she met another kid outside of school who can come to her rescue when an evil doctor is about to brainwash her (only need two thumbs to get phone out of ...more
Megan's dad has signed her up for the Stepford Academy's summer school program. But what's up with the other kids? They all dress alike, have the same toothpaste smiles on their faces, and seem to march in step. And what's with the bandaids they all have on their foreheads? Megan, an independent thinking, haiku writing, vegetarian doesn't want to dress that way and she's absolutely NOT going to eat liver and onions for lunch, required or not.

Enter the mad scientist. Megan, her friend Raf, and t
Megan, new in town, finds Raf working behind the counter at a pet store and befriends him. She is a new student at Stepford Preparatory Academy, where she discovers that all the kids are under mind control devised by Dr. Vorshak. As she is shackled by the doctor for her own mind treatment, Megan is saved by Raf and the evil doctor's plan destroyed. They rescue a dog which was used in experiments (which rendered him able to speak) and together form the Chicagoland Detective Agency. Graphic novel. ...more
While not perfect, this was clever and interesting. Trina Robbins is better known for her work for adults, but she does okay when writing for children.
The central character is fun, but I hope she gets a little bit more development as the series progresses. The "getting expelled from schools" thing could get tired, especially since the one over the fire alarm seems a bit of an overreaction. Detention or a suspension, maybe, but expulsion?

Her ability to compose haiku under stress was quite remarka
Shannon O'Donnell
These are fun books for kids who love the Bone series by Jeff Smith and other comic-style stories. They are surprisingly full of voice and provide an appealing detective story format for middle readers. Despite being in black and white, the graphics (by Tyler Page) are very well done. I love the characters! Megan and Raf are funny and totally likable, and Bradley is too cute for words.

My 3rd grade son and surprisingly, my 6-year-old daughter, enjoyed both books. I recommend both this one and The
Great for those kids who like graphic novels and mysteries!
Tennille Chase

The Drained Brains Caper is a funny, witty and quirky graphic novel that has all the right ingredients for a fabulous afternoon read. If you like action, humour, quirky illustrations and suspense then I guarantee you will enjoy the first book in this series that features some crazy ass times and introduces us to a cast of interesting characters- my favourite being Bradley the Detective Dog. Perfect for kids who enjoy a little adventure and but-kicking and for adults who want a light and fast pac
Megan loves manga and writing haiku (she's also looking for a pet tarantula). Raf works at his mom's pet food store and writes computer programs on the side. They end up joining forces to discover just what evilness is happening at Stepford Academy, where the students love algebra just a little too much. Oh, and there's a talking dog! Great black and white illustrations, instantly likeable characters and funny, realistic dialogue. I hope this is the start of a series!
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Not too dissimilar from Brain Camp. Again you have two kids investigating a school where kids seem strangely zombified. This time the intrepid duo is joined by a talking dog. It's okay, but while the art is fine the story isn't quite up to snuff. It's not bad per say. It's just not particularly memorable. - B
I really liked this graphic novel, even though it's short, because I felt drawn into the story and remembered it after finishing it. The words and pictures are close enough together, space wise, that they fit together as one. The two main characters are really good and have distinct personalities.
Maggi Rohde
This brief mystery graphic novel reminded me of a tamer, sillier version of Brain Camp. The faces are oddly Muppet-like and have the same expression on each panel. The dog is a high point - I look forward to seeing more of him in future volumes.
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OK but not amazing. Good for kids who want a cool hip comics story. Gothy new girl, cool computer geek/pet store worker team up with a talking dog who learned to speak form old noir detective movies team up to start a detective agency.
Smart themes involving a "Stepford" school, animal testing and ultimately personal liberty. Excellent food for thought for the target audience of ages 9-12. Great length and high octane graphics.
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Trina Robbins is an American comics artist and writer. She was an early and influential participant in the underground comix movement, and one of the few female artists in underground comix when she started. Her first comics were printed in the East Village Other. She later joined the staff of a feminist underground newspaper It Ain't Me, Babe, with whom she produced the first all-woman comic book ...more
More about Trina Robbins...

Other Books in the Series

Chicagoland Detective Agency (4 books)
  • The Maltese Mummy (Chicagoland Detective Agency)
  • Night of the Living Dogs
  • The Big Flush

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