Monday, January 16, 2012

Graphic Novels -- Sidekicks and Bad Island

Sidekicks by Dan Santat and Bad Island by Doug TenNapel are two recent adventure graphic novels that are great for younger teens.

Sidekicks is the story of Captain Amazing’s pets. As the superhero gets older he decides to hold auditions to find a new sidekick. Of course his pets, Metal Mutt, Fluffy the hamster and the household's newest pet, a chameleon named Shifty all want the job and begin training at night. The dog fares well with his powers, but that is not the case for Fluffy and Shifty. Luckily they meet up with Static Cat who used to be one of Captain Amazing's pets when he left under strange circumstances. The pets' complex histories are revealed as they embark on some ridiculous training sessions like removing an elephant from a restaurant.

As the intrigue builds leading up to the Sidekick Auditions, a new superhero, Wonder Man, has been dispatching villains with ease around the city and will surely be the front runner for the job.

This is a funny graphic novel with a much deeper plot than one would expect. Personally I think seeing a hamster, with one humorous super power, wearing a costume is awesome and easily worth the effort in picking up this book.

Doug TenNapel has been reviewed on guyslitwire before with Ghostopolis and others. Bad Island continues TenNapel's ease with telling fantastic stories with a thoughtful human element. In Bad Island, we follow the son of a great leader and warrior who yearns to join his people in battle. His father, however, is convinced he is not ready and bars him from fighting. The son goes forward anyway, jumping into battle and getting in over his head resulting in his capture.

Meanwhile, a family is getting ready to go on vacation. Dad is forcing them to take a trip on a sailboat, but Reese does not want to go and his sister Janie is more concerned about her pet snake. When they encounter a storm and end up on a strange island, the family has to bond together to survive. When they start finding strange artifacts and getting chased by odd and frightening creatures, Reese must step up and prove that he is becoming an adult capable of leadership. It is fun to watch the family work through the strange puzzles and learn what the island really is.

Fans of the Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi, Jeff Smith's Bone and anything by Doug TenNapel will enjoy these graphic novels.


KateCoombs said...

I've been wondering whether I should give Sidekicks a try. Thanks!

Sarah Stevenson said...

Kip--fabulous timing, since both of these are Cybils finalists! Sidekicks was a lot of fun, and I'm looking forward to reading Bad Island, too. (Can't say much more, since I'm judging...)

Kip said...

I'm glad these are getting some recognition since they both deserve it!