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Thursday Morning Book Review: Owly, A Time to Be Brave; Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone, Walking Distance; Road to Revolution! (The Cartoon Chronicles)

October 1st, 2009

Reviewed today:

Here’s the new thing in books: It’s the old thing. Comic books, that’s right, folks. Only now they go by the name “graphic novels.” At first I thought that meant a novel with Too Much Information, “stop being so graphic, already,” but no. It means graphics. Sometimes a few words, sometimes a lot of words, but always the art.

Artist/author Andy Runton has a series out about a cool little owl and his friends. There are a lot of ’em, including Possum, Raccoon, Butterfly and Wormy. Wormy is his best friend, I think. I had to have my son explain some of it to me because these graphic novels? They’re complex. Especially when they’re delving into Shakespeare, Robert Louis Stevenson, biographies of various historical figures… you could get lost in there. I believe that’s why the kids enjoy them.

So… “Owly, A Time to Be Brave” is the fourth book in the series. (It’s appropriate for all ages.)

Wacky Girl: “It’s really good art.”

Wacky Boy: “It’s a nice story, too.”

I think I will need to purchase the whole series. (PS — don’t forget that Diary of a Wimpy Kid 4 will be released on Oct. 12th.)

Next up:

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.”

I’m a big fan of the Twilight Zone (the original, which I watched in re-runs, thank you. I did not catch it when it was first broadcast for five seasons, starting in October of 1959. Yes, that would be fifty years ago this month, you math majors out there). Serling, who was so sexy and so scary at the same time, wrote more than half of the show’s 156 episodes. Rock on.

Brilliant idea, McHargue and Kneece, to come out with a series of graphic novels (released by Walker & Company, adaptation by Mark Kneece and illustrated by Dove McHargue) that not only pays homage to Serling, but adapts the scripts in their entirety. Every word, every nuance, mattered with Serling. He really was a master at the craft.

Interesting, too, as we celebrate Banned Books Week to remember that “in the 1950s the comics Serling had enjoyed were considered subversive, a threat to America’s youth,” according to Kneece. In 1955, a Senate committee convened to investigate the “pernicious influences” of horror comics on America’s youth, and the Comics Code Authority was established to censor comics’ content.

Artistic team Stan Mack and Susan Champlin have released the first in a series of new graphic novels (Bloomsbury Children’s Books) that bring American history to life. Thank God, someone needed to. The Colonial times leave me cold, and it’s not just all that talk of Valley Forge and Bunker Hill and a bunch of old white guys. Nice job, you two. I think Nick and Penelope, the two fictional heroes, will draw the kids in. No pun intended.

1 Comment

  1. edj says

    I must admit to really liking graphic novels. Have you read Persepolis, I think it is. The one about Iran. ?

    October 1st, 2009 | #

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