Now, I have been a huge “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” fan ever since the 1980s animated series came out and I just had to check out e...more
Now, I have been a huge “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” fan ever since the 1980s animated series came out and I just had to check out every reincarnation of my favorite four turtles on television no matter what! So, when I heard about Mirage Comics’ original dark and gritty version of the turtles, I was a little skeptical about it since the 1980s animated series had pretty much cemented my opinion on what the turtles should be like (well, at least until the 2003 animated version came out, which was actually closer to the original Mirage Comics). So, imagine my surprise when I found out that IDW comics was putting out the original Mirage Comics version of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” into a hardback collection and I was lucky enough to pick it up!
What is this story about?
This collection contains the first seven issues including the one shot “Raphael Micro-Series,” of the original “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” series written and illustrated by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird. In this collection, we find out the back story about how the four turtles (Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and Donatello) got mutated and what caused their mutation, see them go face to face with the threatening Shredder, meet up with April O’Neil and Casey Jones and end up facing the Triceratons!
What I loved about this story:
Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s writing: Wow! This graphic novel was just so ASTONISHING to read! Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s writing was just fantastic in this graphic novel as all the characters were interesting and intense to read! I loved the way that Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird really developed each character, especially Raphael as they explore Raphael’s massive problems with his temper and how he tries to control his temper, especially in his one shot story where he meets up with Casey Jones. I also loved the fact that we actually learn about both the turtles and Master Splinter’s background histories as I really wanted to know how the turtles and Splinter were mutated in the first place and how Master Splinter was able to learn the ways of the ninja through his former owner, Hamato Yoshi. I was actually pleasantly surprised by the fact that I loved the dark and gritty tone of this graphic novel since I grew up with the 1980s animated series, which was much lighter and softer in tone. Since I have always loved seeing different interpretations of my favorite stories (as long as they are written well), I did not have a problem with the dark and gritty tone of this graphic novel and I just loved the complex storytelling that was going on in this collection.
The artwork: Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s artwork was beyond fantastic and vibrant as all the characters really stood out in this collection. I especially loved the fact that IDW comics decided to give out the colorized version of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original work on “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” as they were originally in black and white colorings. It made the artwork stand out even more and the action scenes, such as various explosions and the turtles slicing their foes with their weapons, even more intense! I was actually quite surprised to see that the turtles had the same colored bandanas (all of them are red in this case) in this collection since I was so used to seeing them having different colored bandanas that would help us tell them apart (such as Michelangelo having an orange bandana, Leonardo having a blue bandana, Donatello having a purple bandana and Raphael having a red bandana) and I will admit that I got a little confused about which turtle was which and I had to go by the weapons that they are using to tell them apart from each other. I also loved how dark and gritty the artwork was as they usually show the turtles looking so menacing whenever they fight the bad guys and I really loved that edgy feeling I get from the artwork!
What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:
For anyone who had grown up watching the original 1980s animated series, you might be a bit put off by how dark and gritty this series is. To be honest, I was not really shocked at how dark and gritty this collection was since I was already told by other “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” fans that there were comic books made about the turtles before the 1980s animated series came out and they were much darker and edgier than what we saw in the 1980s animated series. To add to that, this collections contains some blood, especially with the Ninja turtles cutting through their enemies with their weapons and some language, such as uttering the “d” word and the “a” word a couple of times.
Overall, if you are trying to find Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s original work on the fantastic “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” franchise, then you just hit the jackpot with this collection called “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics: The Works Volume One!” Fans of “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” can rejoice at finding the original work in all its former glory in this collection!
After reading many Caldecott Medal award winning books, I stumbled upon this rare gem called “Hey, Al” which won a Caldecott Medal and was written by...more
After reading many Caldecott Medal award winning books, I stumbled upon this rare gem called “Hey, Al” which won a Caldecott Medal and was written by Arthur Yorinks along with illustrations by Richard Egielski. Get prepared for one surreal yet adventurous journey!
Meet Al, the janitor and his faithful dog, Eddie. They live in a single room on the West Side and they do everything together. So, every thing is fine, right?
Al and Eddie’s life is miserable as they live in a small and cramped apartment and they are barely making it in life. One day, however, a large bird comes to their apartment and tells them about a place where things are so much better than the life they are currently living in. Al and Eddie then decided to let the large bird take them to this mysterious place and it turns out to be a beautiful island located up in the sky. Everything was going great for Al and Eddie as they were living the perfect paradise that they dreamed of, but it turns out that their “paradise” comes with a price…
Wow! I cannot believe that I had never read this book before! I had heard so many good things about this book and how popular it was, but I never had the chance to read about it until now! Arthur Yorinks had done an excellent job at writing this story as this story is extremely imaginative and surreal at the same time! I loved the fact that Arthur Yorinks approached the theme of “the grass is greener on the other side” and gave it a more fantasy spin on it as it has both Al and Eddie traveling to a magical island to gain a better life from the one they have, only to realize that it does come with a price. Richard Egielski’s illustrations are what truly sold this book to me. I loved how gorgeous Richard Egielski’s illustrations are, especially of the scenes of Al and Eddie going to the island in the sky as there are many images of luscious trees and different types of birds inhabiting the island. I also loved how realistic and colorful the illustrations are as they bring a sense of tranquility and beauty to the story.
Parents should know that the scene where Al and Eddie start turning into birds might be scary for smaller children. Parents might want to reassure their children that the story is purely fantasy and that it would not happen in real life. The story was merely trying to show readers about how the theme of “the grass is greener on the other side” can come with consequences in a more fantastical way.
Overall, “Hey, Al” is a fantastic book that teaches children about how sometimes the “grass is not always greener on the other side” and that being satisfied with what you have is important. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up since the scenes of Al and Eddie transforming might frighten some children.
Now, I will admit that when I first heard about Marvel launching their “Marvel NOW” line (which is similar to DC doing their “New 52” re...more
Now, I will admit that when I first heard about Marvel launching their “Marvel NOW” line (which is similar to DC doing their “New 52” reboot, except that “Marvel NOW” is not a reboot), I was a bit hesitant about reading any of the comic books from this line because:
1) I did not like the direction that Marvel was taking some of their franchises (X-Men in particular). 2) Since I have not been reading Marvel Comics (or DC comics for that matter) that long, I was afraid that I would not understand some of the new comics coming out since I have not read a lot of the previous comics before the 1970s and some from the 1990s yet.
But, after I heard so many good things about this comic book, I just had to put my reservations about the “Marvel NOW” comic book line on hold and give Matt Fraction’s hit series “Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon” a chance! Lo and behold, I found myself loving this series and I wanted to read more from “Hawkeye!”
What is this story about?
Basically in this volume, it details the adventures that Clint Barton, also known as the legendary Avenger, Hawkeye, has whenever he is not with the Avengers. Along for the ride in these adventures, is Young Avenger member Kate Bishop and she and Clint end up fighting crime in New York City while wielding their bow and arrows in the process!
What I loved about this story:
Matt Fraction’s writing: Now I will admit that this is probably the first time I had ever read an “Avengers” comic book since I am more of an “X-Men” fan, but after hearing so many good things about this comic book, I decided to give Hawkeye a try and I found myself loving this volume! Matt Fraction has done a brilliant job at keeping this story self contained (which was what I was looking for when I picked up some comic books in the “Marvel NOW” comic book line) and I really enjoyed the solo adventures that Hawkeye went on. I also loved the way that Matt Fraction made Clint Barton into a truly hilarious and active character and I loved his little quips throughout the entire story. Some of my favorite lines from Hawkeye was when he was making fun of how the older comic books would set up the dialogues whenever they are translating foreign languages (like you know how the older comic books would tell the readers “translated from Russian” or “translated from Japanese”)? Well, his dialogue would go like this:
“(Some Spanish-sounding stuff)!” or “(French Stuff).”
I also loved the way that Matt Fraction portrayed Clint Barton’s relationship with Kate Bishop as it is both heartwarming and hilarious to look at and it was fantastic seeing another character who had the same sharp-shooting skills as Hawkeye does.
David Aja and Javier Pulido’s artwork: David Aja and Javier Pulido’s artwork were fantastic in this volume as they are reminiscent of the artwork in Frank Miller’s classic “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” comic book. I loved the way that David Aja’s artwork in the first three issues is scratchy and bold lined while still capturing the essence of each action scene involving Hawkeye and Kate Bishop fighting against criminals. Javier Pulido’s artwork in the fourth and fifth issues are much lighter in color tone and much more detailed in designs and I really loved the way that they captured the characters and the action scenes.
What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:
Probably the only issue that I did not care for in this volume was the “Young Avengers Presents #6” issue. For one thing, I do not normally read the “Young Avengers” comic book series, so I will admit that I was a little confused about what was going on, even though this issue is supposed to be when Kate Bishop first meets Hawkeye. Another thing about this issue was that I felt that the tone of the story was way too different from the tone of the rest of the volume, which was light hearted and action-packed while this issue was dark and had too much soap opera drama for my tastes. So, all in all, I think that this issue was just average and not as good as the rest of the issues in this volume. Although, I did enjoyed Alan Davis’ artwork in this issue as it was gorgeous to look at and the characters’ facial expressions were realistic.
Overall, “Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon” is one truly brilliant volume for anyone who is a huge Hawkeye fan and I am definitely looking forward to reading more of his series in the near future!
After reading “The Far Side Gallery 3,” I was dying to check out more of Gary Larson’s “Far Side Gallery” series and I stumbled upon a c...more
After reading “The Far Side Gallery 3,” I was dying to check out more of Gary Larson’s “Far Side Gallery” series and I stumbled upon a collection of Gary Larson’s “Far Side Gallery” series in “The Far Side Gallery” (man, I am talking about the “Far Side Gallery” so much in this review)! Anyway, this collection of “Far Side Gallery” stories is just as memorable and hilarious as the “Far Side Gallery 3!”
What is this story about?
Basically, this “Far Side Gallery” collection contains comic strips from “The Far Side,” “Beyond the Far Side,” and “In Search of the Far Side” and the comic strips all contain hilarious situations that involve various animals and human beings.
What I loved about this story:
Gary Larson’s writing: Gary Larson’s writing is as usual hilarious and witty to read as the various characters in these comic strips are always making sarcastic comments about the situations they are thrown into. As usual, Gary Larson managed to make some of the puns such as “Hat Hunters” and “Water Buffaloes” come to life in a literal sense and I just rolled over laughing when I read these strips! Some of my favorite comic strips in this collection are:
“Big Bob says he’s getting tired of you saying he doesn’t really exist.” (When the boy’s imaginary friend grabs the boy’s father roughly by the shirt).
“We’ve made it, Warren! ...The moon!” (When two astronauts landed on the moon, but one of the astronauts accidentally hit the other astronaut’s helmet, cracking it).
The real reason dinosaurs became extinct (Showing the dinosaurs smoking cigarettes).
“For twelve perfect years I was a car-chaser. Pontiacs, Fords, Chryslers…I took them all on…and yesterday my stupid owner backs over me in the driveway.” (A dog tells another dog in heaven how his owner killed him with a car).
Gary Larson’s artwork: Gary Larson’s artwork as usual is hilarious to look at as the characters have exaggerated bodies such as their bodies being larger than their heads. I also loved how hilarious the artwork becomes during the collection’s most hilarious moments such as the artwork of the astronaut smashing another astronaut’s helmet after pronouncing that they are on the moon at last.
What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:
For anyone who feels uncomfortable about dealing with the concept of heaven and hell, there are a couple comic strips in this collection that deals with heaven and hell, although it is not as frequent as it was in the “Far Side Gallery 3.”
Overall, “The Far Side Gallery” is a fantastic collection of Gary Larson’s best work in the “Far Side Gallery” series and anyone who is a huge fan of Gary Larson’s work in the “Far Side” series will easily enjoy this collection!
Now, I will admit that I had actually read the popular Japanese folktale, “The Boy Who Drew Cats” before; my first exposure being to the Rabbit Ears’...more Now, I will admit that I had actually read the popular Japanese folktale, “The Boy Who Drew Cats” before; my first exposure being to the Rabbit Ears’ version of the folktale which was narrated by William Hurt. Well, imagine my surprise and delight when I discovered that there was another version of the classic Japanese folktale that was written by Margaret Hodges along with illustrations by Ari Sogabe that was just as memorable as Rabbit Ears’ version of The Boy Who Drew Cats!
The story starts off with a poor farmer and his wife having difficulty feeding their children. While the rest of the children can work efficiently on the farm, their youngest son was not strong and efficient in working on the farm, even though he was extremely clever. So, the parents decided to send the youngest son to a priest so he can prepare for priesthood. Unfortunately, the boy loved to draw cats, but it would always get him into trouble with the priest until one day, the priest told the boy to get out and gave him a small warning before he left:
“Avoid large places at night; keep to small.”
Disappointed, the boy wandered around town until he came to an abandoned temple that was rumored to contain a large goblin that terrorized the people of the village.
Will the boy survive the goblin’s wrath and what importance will the priest’s words have on the boy?
I have always enjoyed the story of “The Boy Who Drew Cats” and this version of the classic Japanese folktale does not disappoint me! I loved the way that Margaret Hodges retold this story as the story was full of horror that set me on the edge of my seat! I actually sympathized with the young boy in this story as his own family had to send him to a priest since they could not feed all of their children and then, the boy gets kicked out of the priest’s home since his ability to draw cats had gotten him into trouble. I was actually rooting for the boy throughout the story as I wanted him to get his happily ever after, after going through so much turmoil in his life. I also enjoyed the little author’s note at the end of the book by Margaret Hodges as she describes about where she got the inspiration to write this story and where this story originated from. Ari Sogabe’s artwork was truly gorgeous in this story and some of my favorite images were of the trees and the landscape of Japan as they look truly colorful and realistic and it really brought out the beauty of this story!
Parents should know that this story has some scary moments, including the young boy’s encounter with the goblin and that might scare young children who do not like reading about monsters. However, I will say that this version is not as graphic as the Rabbit Ears’ version, so parents might have an easier time helping their children deal with the dark nature of this story since the violence is extremely low key in this version.
Overall, “The Boy Who Drew Cats” is a fantastic story for children who enjoy reading horror stories and Japanese folktales. I would recommend this book to children ages six and up since the dark themes of this story might scare younger children.
I have read many different interpretations of the classic “Cinderella” story. But imagine my delight when I find out that there was a “Cinderella” st...more I have read many different interpretations of the classic “Cinderella” story. But imagine my delight when I find out that there was a “Cinderella” story that comes from China called “Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China,” which was retold by Ai-Ling Louie along with illustrations by Ed Young and man, was it one brilliant story to read!
A long time ago in China, there lived a young and beautiful girl named Yeh-Shen, whose mother had died when she was a baby. Unfortunately, her stepmother and her stepsister treated Yeh-Shen as poorly as they envied her beauty and they made her do all the housework. The only friend that Yeh-Shen had was a fish that she caught in the pond as the fish would give her anything she wanted. Unfortunately, the stepmother ended up killing and eating the fish after she discovered the fish’s secret and Yeh-Shen was left with no friend. However, the spirit of the fish continued to live on through its bones and it continued to help Yeh-Shen, despite having died at the hands of the stepmother. One day, the Spring Festival came to town and the stepmother and the stepsister went to the festival without Yeh-Shen. However, the spirit of the fish continued to help Yeh-Shen by giving her a beautiful gown to wear and Yeh-Shen went to the festival.
Will Yeh-Shen be discovered and will she finally find her happily ever after?
Read this book to find out!
Wow! This book was truly amazing! I loved the way that Ai-Ling Louie retold this ancient Chinese version of the classic “Cinderella” story, as the story feels so exotic with the Chinese setting and the characters were written truly well. I also loved the fact that in this version of the story, the “Cinderella” of this story, which is Yeh-Shen, has a pet companion in the form of a fish that grants Yeh-Shen’s greatest desires, even after death, which I found to be truly creepy and yet interesting at the same time! Ed Young’s illustrations were truly beautiful and creative at the same time! I loved the way that Ed Young illustrated the events of the story through various shapes of fish, such as having the characters’ hats represent the eyes of the fish and have the characters be drawn inside the shape of the fish.
Parents should know that the ending might be a bit disturbing for smaller children since it seemed to happen so unexpectedly. I will not say what exactly happened at the end, but let us just say that someone dies a gruesome death at the end and it was extremely jarring to see after the tone of the book had been mainly heartwarming for the most part.
Overall, “Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China” is a brilliant retelling of the classic “Cinderella” story and will be a huge favorite among fans of Chinese folktales and different retellings of “Cinderella.” I would recommend this book to children ages six and up due to the length of this book and the ending might disturb smaller children.