Roger Langridge has a way of telling a story that feels classic and almost old-fashioned, but without aping the storytelling styles of previous eras oRoger Langridge has a way of telling a story that feels classic and almost old-fashioned, but without aping the storytelling styles of previous eras or descending into pastiche. Here, he tells the story of three young kids (two girls and one boy) and a dog who are apparently recruited by Sherlock Holmes to uncover the mystery of statues disappearing throughout London. However, all is not what it seems, and the answer is a great deal more fantastical than mere thievery. What really makes the book special is the diversity of the cast, in gender, in race, and in religion (even leaving aside the fact that one of the characters is a dog). Also special is Andy Hirsch's artwork, which is fun and energetic and captures the mood of the story perfectly. I love it when Langridge illustrates his own work, and had honestly been a little sad to hear he wasn't drawing this one. That sadness disappeared as soon as I saw Hirsch's art here. Overall, this is a fun mystery/adventure/fantasy/historical story that adds a new twist to the Holmes legend. It is truly appropriate for all ages; both children and adults will find much to love here....more
While I haven't seen the new movie, it is apparently close enough to the original animated feature that I did not feel lost reading this story that taWhile I haven't seen the new movie, it is apparently close enough to the original animated feature that I did not feel lost reading this story that takes place in the middle of it. This novel tells an original (not in the movie) story of Belle literally becoming lost in a book during her time in the Beast's castle. It's a gripping story, filled with some compelling, sometimes creepy images. It also adds to Belle's emotional development over the course of the movie story, and consequently feels like it fits, rather than just being a throwaway tale. I thought it was a lot of fun, and I must have really enjoyed it, because I raced through it in two sittings, literally unable to put it down the second night until I finished....more
This short, quick read did a great job fleshing out the relationship between Pete and Elliot from the new (2016) movie. Author Elizabeth Rudnick did aThis short, quick read did a great job fleshing out the relationship between Pete and Elliot from the new (2016) movie. Author Elizabeth Rudnick did a particularly good job showing Elliot's side of the friendship, without damaging the mystery and magic of the idea of a dragon living in the woods. She really made it clear that their relationship was two-sided and three-dimensional. For fans of the new movie (which I am), this is a nice expansion on that story....more
The first book of Judd Winick's Hilo was a fantastic, funny science fiction adventure, along the lines of a great Pixar movie. When I finished it, I wThe first book of Judd Winick's Hilo was a fantastic, funny science fiction adventure, along the lines of a great Pixar movie. When I finished it, I wanted to read the next book.
This second volume ups the emotional and story ante to the point that when I finished it, I needed to read the next installment. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait until it comes out next year.
As with the first volume, Winick's dialogue, art, and comic timing are superb. But this one raises the stakes to a much higher level. He introduces some serious character twists, and I look forward to seeing where things go from here....more
I'm always interested when someone whose work I know from collaborative media (film, comics, etc) produces something more personal, like a comics artiI'm always interested when someone whose work I know from collaborative media (film, comics, etc) produces something more personal, like a comics artist writing their own scripts for the first time, or a comics writer or screen writer writing a novel on their own. In this case, one of my favorite filmmakers, Chris Sanders (Lilo & Stitch, How to Train Your Dragon) is still working in collaboration, this time with his wife, Jessica Steele-Sanders, but it's a concept and story that is completely theirs, not filtered through hundreds of animators, storyboard artists, and studio executives. Their story, which is hopefully the first in a series about mermaids working as lifeguards in Miami Beach, is a lot of fun, and has a lot of the hallmarks of Sanders' film work.
The book sets up an interesting mythology, about the origins of mermaids and their connections to regular land-humans. It then sets up a quest, to find the first mermaid in centuries born as a human: an atavist. However, for the most part, the book focuses on the interactions between the characters, in much the same way that Lilo & Stitch and How to Train Your Dragon, despite their genre or adventure elements, have at their hearts the stories of developing friendships. There are some exciting action sequences, but they don't get in the way of the characters.
We also learn a lot about lifeguards and how they work. The authors go to great pains to show how lifeguarding is hard work, and very different from popular depictions in other media. (They particularly take Baywatch to task, which is fine by me.) By explaining what lifeguards do, and why the mermaids are working as lifeguards, they make some good observations about the sorts of people who take on those kinds of duties.
Steele-Sanders and Sanders give each of the characters distinct personalities, and that helps determine how they work together. They also have added the neat conceit that mermaids don't necessarily all have fish tails; here, one has a dolphin tail and another has the tail and flippers of a seal, and that affects how they swim. While Sanders doesn't provide the illustrations, the book does include a gallery section of his character designs. The actual artwork in the story is by animator Genevieve Tsai, and it is gorgeous and expressive.
While the characters are all distinct individuals, I hope that in future volumes, we get into their heads a little more and see who they are beneath the surface (pun intended). Also, at times, the writing was a bit exposition-heavy, but hopefully that stuff won't need to be repeated in future stories. Overall, this was a really fun start to what I hope will be an ongoing series from Sanders and Steele-Sanders. It would make a nice movie or TV series, I suppose, but I would really like it if it stayed a personal project by the authors (they published it as well). ...more