Category Archives: Graphic Novels

December 14, 2009

Missile Mouse Sneak Peek and Writing Prompt

Missile_mouse_130 My friends who are into comics were very excited last year about a graphic novel anthology called Flight Explorer. It is a group of different stories all by different artists. If you read Flight Explorer, then you already know Missile Mouse, who made his graphic novel debut in that book. This new book Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher by Jake Parker coming out in January is entirely devoted to the adventures of Missile Mouse.

Missile Mouse, secret agent for the Galactic Security Agency, is a risk
taker and a rule breaker, which is why he's in hot water at GSA headquarters.
Then RIP, the Rogue Imperium of Planets, kidnaps a scientist who knows about
the Star Crusher, a doomsday machine capable of destroying the entire universe. . . Time to let loose the mouse!

Take a look at this sneak peek from the book, and read on for today's Writing Prompt:

Missile_mouse

Click to view larger

In this panel from the book, Missile Mouse has gotten into a spot of trouble. He's surrounded by those dangerous looking ant creatures but he can't kill them because they're endangered species! How is he going to get out of this situation? Write what you think happens next.

Leave your answers in the Comments.

Sonja, STACKS Staffer

October 17, 2009

Freddie Highmore is Anime Sensation, Astro Boy

Thumb Do you love anime and manga? Well, the character who started it all in Japan, the very first anime character ever, Astro Boy, is coming to theaters in the United States. Astro Boy first appeared as a comic (manga) in a Japanese magazine in 1951. Later, starting in 1963, he became an anime sensation in an animated TV series in Japan.

So what is the new movie about? Astro Boy’s Japanese name is Tetsuwan Atomu, meaning Mighty Atom. Set in futuristic Metro City, Astro Boy is about a young robot with incredible powers created by a brilliant scientist named Dr. Tenma. He is endowed with super strength, x-ray vision, unbelievable speed and the ability to fly, but he also has a heart. When he learns that his friends and family are in danger, Astro Boy marshals his awesome super powers in a valiant effort to save them.

Freddie Highmore is the voice of Astro Boy in the new movie, and he answered some of our questions about it.

Q: What was it like playing an animated character versus a human character?
Freddie:
Well, it was something different. People often think it’s a bit easier to do a voice, but I think it can be a bit harder. I mean my experience is you’ve still got to be committed to the role. In Astro Boy there’s so many moments where he’s upset or in the middle of a big battle and I think you’ve really got to be there, whether it means crying in the middle of the scene when people say, “Oh just use your voice.” Or running up and down on the spot to get out of breath and sound authentic. I think you’ve got to do that and not be self conscious at all. So in that way it can be harder. And also that you’re not with the person that you’re supposed to be doing the scene with. David’s been fantastic in that way explaining to us what the other person’s done and what we can do to make it fit in, but it’s never the same thing.

Small_hands Q: Are there similar characteristics or different characteristics between you and Astro Boy other than that he’s a robot?
Freddie:
I think that everyone has something in common with Astro Boy in that we’ve all got something different about us that makes us stand out for certain reasons. And Astro Boy is a human in a robot’s body. So I guess I can identify with him in that way and everyone else in the world can. We’ve all got a different characteristic, be it a good thing or a bad thing, that makes us different from everyone else. And like Astro Boy we all want to be accepted into society, into a group of friends, into a family. Just another normal person. He wants to be accepted right from the moment his dad says, “I don’t want you any more. You’re a robot and you can’t replace my son.”

Q: What was the coolest part about working on this film?
Freddie:
I think it was fantastic being able to get to see it right from the beginning to the end. I also think it’s very cool to play a superhero and to have such a fantastic role in the film, but what made it really exciting was having been to Japan to do promotional shoots and seeing Astro Boy stores that they have there and the murals dedicated to him. I mean he is Japan’s Mickey Mouse. The exciting thing was to be able to try and bring the excitement generated there to the rest of the world.

Small_flyQ: If you had a personal robot, what would you get it to do for you?
Freddie:
I think being able to transport me at an incredible quick pace anywhere in the world would be fantastic. I could be in London through the help of my London, travel over to Los Angeles in a couple of seconds. That would be fantastic. And it would be incredibly easy to keep up with friends that way all around the world.

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

Interview by Marie Morreale
Images Courtesy of Summit Entertainment, © 2009 Imagi Crystal Limited/Original Manga © Tezuka Productions Co., Ltd.

July 11, 2009

Get a Sneak Peek at ROSE, the prequel to BONE

Posted by at 8:28 am in Graphic Novels, Reads, Sneak Peek | Permalink

Bone-logo If you thought BONE, the graphic novel series by Jeff Smith, was over when book 9, Crown of Horns, came out, well then you'd be . . . only sort of right. On August 1st, the prequel to BONE, ROSE, comes out. (That's the story that happened before the story.)

BONE is the story of the three little Bone dudes who get lost in the woods, and wind up battling the Lord of the Locusts to help Thorn reclaim her family's kingdom. Their story is over.

Continue reading

June 22, 2009

Drawing Phineas and Ferb with Swampy and Dan

Posted by at 8:56 am in Games, Graphic Novels | Permalink

Phineasandferb_130 Hey, Splotters! I hope you're taking Dan and Swampy's advice and having an awesome and creative summer (unless, of course, your school hasn't let out for the summer yet, in which case I'll take it on good faith that your summer will rock once it starts).

But if you're busy saying "Dan and Swampy? Who are they?" let me fill you in. Dan Povenmire and Jeff "Swampy" Marsh are the creators of Phineas and Ferb, the Disney cartoon which follows two stepbrothers in their quest to have the best summer ever.

Swampy and Dan invented the characters, write the stories, and come up with all the crazy tunes that accompany Phineas and Ferb's inventions and adventures. And now Swampy and Dan are challenging you to use your imagination this summer to invent, draw, write, create, and have fun.

If you need a little help getting your creative juices going, Swampy and Dan have something for that too. Check out these step-by-step instructions for how to draw Phineas and Ferb. Ferb's up first:

HowtoDrawFerb0_small

HowtoDrawFerb1_small 

HowtoDrawFerb2_small

Now instructions for Phineas:

Continue reading

June 14, 2009

Summer Fun with Phineas, Ferb, Swampy, and Dan

Posted by at 10:43 am in Authors, Games, Graphic Novels | Permalink

Phineasandferb_130 <~~~See these two guys right there? You might recognize them. They’re Phineas and Ferb from the popular Disney cartoon called — uh! — Phineas and Ferb. The show follows the two stepbrothers as they try to make their summer AWESOME! How do they do that? In every episode, they build a crazy-impossible invention, much to the frustration of their sister Candace, who is always trying to catch them in the act. She never quite manages it — she should get some tips from Dr. Doofenshmirtz, who in every episode manages to trap Phineas and Ferb’s pet platypus, Perry. Perry is a secret agent for the OWCA (Organization Without a Cool Acronym), which is pretty darn awesome. But even more awesome than secret-agent pet platypuses are these two guys:

Danandswampy_400

You probably don’t recognize them. They are Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh, the guys who invented Phineas and Ferb. And this summer, they want you to stretch your creative awesomeness, Phineas and Ferb style. So they got in touch with The Splot and shared 20 ways to go out, have fun, and create something this summer. Check it out!

  1. Swampy says . . . KEEP IT CHEAP!
    “When it comes to art, you don’t need special equipment. You can draw on anything and use anything to draw with, so it shouldn’t cost too much to get into it. Whether it’s a pen, pencil, crayon, or even a piece of chalk you find in the park, you can use whatever you want. And who says you need a blank piece of paper to draw on? Use scraps or anything you find that might work!”
  1. Dan says . . . COPY AWAY
    “One of the things that helped me a lot in cartooning was the art of copying. If I saw a drawing I really liked in a magazine or comic book, I would copy that drawing line-for-line and it showed me a lot of shortcuts. It taught me a kind of cartooning shorthand. I don’t mean trace these pictures. I’d just look at a drawing, analyze it, and copy it line-for-line to see how the artist drew the picture in the first place. I’d then incorporate the techniques into my own art.”
  1.  Swampy says . . . THERE IS NO RIGHT AND WRONG
    Machine“One thing I’d love to teach children is the fact that there is no right or wrong way to draw. Draw what makes you happy and never worry about somebody saying, ‘Oh, that isn’t a good drawing.’ There are so many, infinite drawing styles out there. Your work doesn’t have to look like it’s straight out of a comic book or straight out of an art book. As long as you’re expressing yourself and you’re getting a reaction, then that’s good.”

Continue reading

April 5, 2009

Favorite Sunday Comics

Posted by at 7:50 am in Graphic Novels | Permalink

THE FIVEI love Sundays! It's the one day of the week where you get to rest, finish your errands, be a complete couch potato, catch up on your reading, and/or relax with your breakfast and take in the Sunday comics. I must say, I do all of these quite well — with the exception of finishing my errands.

When I was home in Minnesota in March, I remembered how much I love reading the Sunday comics while eating breakfast with my parents. Unfortunately, I do not receive the Sunday edition of The New York Times, but even if I did, it just wouldn't be the same. For one thing, The New York Times doesn't have the same comic strips as the Minneapolis newspaper. And secondly, I don't have a kitchen table where I can sit down to read the paper and eat my breakfast. (Yes, it's a problem.)

While many of you probably don't find yourself dealing with my kitchen table dilemma, I am sure many of you are not offered all of the same comics as I was in Minneapolis.

So get ready to laugh as I present you with my top five favorite Sunday comics!

5. Baby Blues
Not only will you laugh, but your parents will get a kick out of this comic too!

4. The Flying McCoys
This is definitely one of those comics that just makes you laugh even though you're not always sure why. Maybe it's because of the kooky drawings?

3. Zits
Oh, teenagers! They can be so dramatic sometimes, but oh can they be funny!

2. Ballard Street
Totally quirky, utterly bizarre, completely eccentric, and absolutely hysterical.

1. Mother Goose and Grim
I love this comic because you never know what random jokes and illustrations will come next.

That concludes the list of my favorite Sunday morning comics, but I want to know what some your favorites are!

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer

February 27, 2009

Captain Underpants Soundtrack

Posted by at 7:21 am in Dav Pilkey, Graphic Novels, Music | Permalink

Captunderpants_130 Okay, so who thinks Captain Underpants should be made into a movie? I do! How hysterically funny, completely great, and insanely awesome would that be? I’m still racking my brain and digging through my arsenal of actors who could play the characters in the movie (George, Harold, Mr. Krupp, and Captain Underpants himself), but I am certain of the perfect soundtrack!

Here it is:

“What’s My Age Again?” – Blink 182
(The PERFECT theme song)

“Pocket Full of Sunshine” – Natasha Beddingfield

“Mmmbop” – Hanson
(MMMbop tick a ta ba do ba dubi da ba do ba)

“Beat It”- Michael Jackson
(A new catch phrase for Captain Underpants, perhaps? “Showin’ How Funky Strong Is Your Fight”)

“Kryptonite” – 3 Doors Down
(Captain Underpants’ kryptonite is water)

“Time To Dance” – Panic At The Disco

What Are You Waiting For? Gwen Stefani
(“Tick-tock, tick-tock . . . “)

“Hero”  Chad Kroeger

“When I Come Around”  Green Day
(“No time to search the world around, ’cause you know where I’ll be found . . .”)

“The Middle” – Jimmy Eat World
(Song for dancing around in your underwear)

“Hey Ya”  Outkast
(“Shake it like a polaroid picture”)

What about you? Which songs would YOU choose for a Captain Underpants soundtrack?

— Carly M., STACKS Staffer

February 21, 2009

Bone in Color

Posted by at 7:00 am in Graphic Novels, Reads | Permalink

Bone_colorA while back we received this question on the Graphix message board, from DrVSP:

Q: I loved the Bone books, "Out of Boneville" and "The Great Cow Race". I especially liked the color schemes. In the bookstore, I saw a thick version with a lot of Bone books together, but there was no color. Do all the smaller paperback versions have color? It's really hard for me to tell with on-line bookstores because they only show the cover. I don't want to buy the big book (in black and white) if I can get the small ones in color. Please let me know.

A: Well, Hi DrVSP (and Graphix fans all over) — I can, in fact, let you you know! Jeff Smith, the writer and illustrator of BONE, wrote ALL 9 books a while ago in black and white — and Scholastic decided that BONE is so cool, it should be in color! (Well, except for the Bone cousins . . . they are white. Literally.) So, any BONE book that is published by Scholastic is in color. All 9 of the books are currently available from Scholastic as individual books in full color.

AND! Coming this August, the BONE Prequel: Rose will also be available from Scholastic in full color.

If you haven't seen what the books look like in color, you can go to the BONE website and click on "SEE INSIDE!" to get a preview.

— Nancy, STACKS Staffer

February 16, 2009

The Buzz on Queen Bee

Posted by at 6:40 am in Graphic Novels, Reads | Permalink

Queen_beeQueen Bee is a cool graphic novel for ages 12 and up about two middle-school girls with psychokinetic powers . . . and a major rivalry! It's been out for a while now, but we're still getting questions about it. Check out the Queen Bee website for sneak peeks, and here are some burning questions from some fans:

Q: How old are each of the kids in Queen Bee? — angelbaby
A: The kids are all about 12 years old.

Q: the second book of queen bee out?? — sweetlucy11
A: At the moment, we don't have another Queen Bee book scheduled.

Onward!
— Sheila, Scholastic Graphix Editor

February 11, 2009

Character Confidential: Three Questions for Garfield

Posted by at 6:12 am in Graphic Novels | Permalink

Garfield_130
Every Sunday growing up, my brother and I would race to beat each other to the comics in the paper. My favorite comic strip has changed so many times over the years that I don't even remember what I was going for on any given day. But my brother was always racing for Garfield. The fat, orange cat was front and center on the page, and my brother loved him. He had all the compilation books and couldn't wait to see what would be in the next set of panels.

So my three questions today are for Garfield:

1. Everyone knows your favorite food is lasagna. What food do you absolutely hate?
2. Admit it — your really love Odie, right?
3. Why do you think Jon can't get a date?

To the other fans of this lazy but lovable feline, what would YOU ask Garfield? And if one of the other strips is your favorite, what would you ask those characters?

— Carly H., STACKS Staffer