Comics Alternative for Young Readers: Reviews of Bats: Learning to Fly and NewsPrints

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Time Codes:

  • 00:00:27 – Introduction
  • 00:03:08 – Introducing Paul Lai as new YR cohost
  • 00:04:50 – A farewell message from Andy Wolverton
  • 00:07:12 – Bats: Learning to Fly
  • 00:32:29 – NewsPrints
  • 01:01:27 – Wrap up
  • 01:02:01 – Contact us

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The Comics Alternative extends a warm welcome to Paul Lai, who has taken over from Andy Wolverton as co-host with Gwen Tarbox on the Young Readers show. Everyone at The Comics Alternative family will miss Andy’s wise and engaging reviews and perspectives on children’s and young adult comics.

In their first show together, Gwen and Paul discuss the newest volume in First Second Books’ Science Comics series, Falynn Christine Koch’s Bats: Learning to Fly, as well as Ru Xu’s fiction (“diesel-punk,” as Paul terms it) graphic novel NewsPrints, published by the GRAPHIX imprint at Scholastic Books.

Since its launch in 2016, the Science Comics series has included volumes on coral reefs, volcanoes, and dinosaurs. Geared towards upper elementary and middle school aged readers, Science Comics take advantage of the elements of visual storytelling to put forward scientific information. As the editors point out: “With the increasing ubiquity of visual information,” young readers need to “learn to process and respond to visual content, and comics are an incredibly effective medium for exploring visual literacy.” Regular listeners to the podcast may remember that Gwen and Andy reviewed Dinosaurs by M.K. Reed and Joe Flood in their March 2016 YR show, and many of the elements that they praised, including the accessibility of scientific information, as well as the use of humor, appear in Koch’s volume, as well.

Bats: Learning to Fly encourages young readers to understand the important role that bats play in the ecosystem, to overcome their fear of bats, and to learn how they can become involved in protecting and caring for bats. In addition to providing a great deal of information on various species of Bats, Koch creates a narrative in which a teenage girl, Sarah, volunteers at a bat rehabilitation center after her parents overreact to a bat and injure it. Lil’ Brown, as the bat is known, is both a character in that narrative and a narrative presence in his own right, as he directly addresses the reader at various points regarding his own anatomy and role in the ecosystem. As part of their discussion, Paul and Gwen consider how young readers might respond to the way information is imparted in the comic, and they look forward to Koch’s upcoming volume for the Science Comics series, Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield, due out in August, 2017. Koch recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and Gwen and Paul discuss how her precision drawings and humor-filled text combine to create a text that will delight readers, while encouraging them to appreciate how they can play a role in scientific study by volunteering to rehabilitate bats or building bat houses for their backyards.

Next, Gwen and Paul discuss another debut comic from a SCAD graduate. NewsPrints is written and drawn by Ru Xu, a comics creator who was born in Beijing, immigrated to Indianapolis as a young child, and has had a lifelong love of comics from a variety of traditions, including manga, European comics, and even superhero comics. NewsPrints takes place in a fictional diesel-punk world where the land of Nautilene is torn by war and a newspaper called The Bugle is the only media outlet left that is still reporting the truth. The protagonist, Blue, is a rare kind of newsboy in a society that counts on its newsboys to shout out the headlines and sell papers…and that’s because Blue is not a boy, but a girl, orphaned by the war and adopted by the family who owns the newspaper. Blue sets out to provide that one doesn’t have to be a boy to be vital in the news business, and along the way, readers are introduced to a cast of characters such as Jack, the eccentric and secretive inventor; Crow, a strange kid who remains wrapped in a scarf and in mysteries of his own; and Goldie, Blue’s loyal canary, who matches Blue’s welcoming of people and spirit of flight.

As part of their discussion, Paul and Gwen praise Xu’s mastery of many genres of comics, including her ability to meld various traditional forms into an entirely unique story world. Thus, while the text shares much in common with recent fantasy releases, including Faith Erin Hicks’ The Nameless City and Jorge Corona’s Feathers, NewsPrints stands on its own, with a vast, inviting story space and a focus on issues of truth and representation that are ever more a part of our own political and social climate. Paul praised Xu’s deft handling of interactions among characters, and Gwen expressed her admiration for Xu’s use of color and shading to help set the mood and to ease transitions across the comic. Given the book’s indeterminate ending, Paul and Gwen look forward to the series continuing into additional volumes, and they dwell on Xu’s treatment of gender and ethnicity in thoughtful ways.

 

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Comic News Insider Episode 744 – CNI’s Best of 2016!

Comic News Insider: Episode 744 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

It’s our Best of 2016! And just like last year, Jimmy sits down with The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald and good pal Jon Hoche to go over their 2016 favorites in comic books, TV and film. They didn’t read or watch everything released that year, so it’s just the Best of what they did read/watch. Fun discussions on great comics, their creators, TV shows, films, actors and more. What were your favorites last year? Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Wayne’s Comics Podcast #262: Michael Manomivibul

Wayne Hall, Wayne’s Comics, Michael Manomivibul, tiger, Batman, social media, underwater, sea, sequential, Made2be2gether, IDW, Scholastic, Boston, Bangkok,

Happy New Year, 2017! In the first episode of the year, I have a fun and engaging interview with exceptional creator and blossoming sequential artist Michael Manomivibul! We discuss how he makes his wonderful stories and pieces of art, and delve into Fathoms, his new book that collects his art from the past several years. His website can be found at this link, and you can see his terrific comics story here. Go to Michael’s website store to buy your copy of his art book, Fathoms! You can also find him on Facebook at this link and Instagram right here. As you’re listening to this interview be sure to check out the links above so you can experience his art while listening to what he has to say! Don’t miss it!

 

 

Comic News Insider Episode 678 – CNI v Batman v Superman!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 678 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Reviews: Batman Vol 2 #50, Circuit-Breaker #1, Independence Day #1, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Jon Hoche makes it 3 weeks in a row as co-host! They chat about the Supergirl/Flash crossover in all of its adorableness and have a LENGTHY discussion/recap/review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I mean LENGTHY.  News includes: lots of DC Rebirth news, Elijah Wood will be the co-lead in BBC America’s upcoming Dirk Gently series, Peter Serafinowicz has been cast as The Tick in the upcoming Amazon live action pilot. and the Kingsman sequel will be called Kingsman: The Golden Circle and will take place in America. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

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Comic News Insider Episode 666 – Best of 2015!

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Comic News Insider: Episode 666 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

It’s our Best of 2015! Jimmy sits down with The Beat’s Heidi MacDonald and good pal Jon Hoche to go over their 2015 favorites in comic books, TV and film. They didn’t read or watch everything released that year, so it’s just the Best of what they did read/watch. Fun discussions on great comics, their creators, TV shows, films, actors and more. What were your favorites last year? Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love! Also, get a hold of us!

Email

Facebook

Comic News Insider

Thanks for listening!

Deconstructing Comics #477: Craig Thompson reaches for the stars

Space Dumplins

If you read Craig Thompson‘s Blankets and Habibi, you probably weren’t expecting his next book to be an all-ages space comedy with poop jokes — but that’s what Space Dumplins is — along with a message on the environment and class, and a good helping of inside jokes! This week Craig is here to tell us how this work came about, as well as his approach to writing for kids, working with colorist Dave Stewart, what bums him out about the Muppets, and the changing definition of “mainstream comics.”

Deconstructing Comics site

Comic News Insider Episode 546 – Heroes Con: All-Ages Panel w/ Stephanie Gladden/Mike Maihack/Andy Runton/Chris Schweizer/Jeremy Whitley/Thom Zahler

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Comic News Insider: Episode 546 is now available for free download! Click on the link or get it through iTunes! Sponsored by Dynamic Forces.

Jimmy moderated the All-Ages panel at Heroes Con with amazing cartoonists Stephanie Gladden (Girls of Monster Paradise), Mike Maihack (Cleopatra In Space), Andy Runton (Owly), Chris Schweizer (Crogan Adventures), Jeremy Whitley (Princeless), and Thom Zahler (Love and Capes). They talked about their awesome comics, why they went into this genre, the difference between “kid comics” and “all-ages comics” and more! A really great and informative discussion. Leave your iTunes comments! 5 stars and nothing but love!

Also, get a hold of us!

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