Every Wednesday, Kitsy and I celebrate our "Manga Day" and pick up our weekly comics at the store. Lately, my purchases go into a pile near the bed. In my free time (whats that!?) I pick one up and try to read through the whole thing in one sitting. Sometimes I'm disappointed in what I've picked up, but there are times when the books are so good, I must talk about them!
The first book is called Robot Dreams by Sara Varon. I've seen some of Sara's work in Nick Magazine and decided to order the book based on a short write up in the Top Shelf Comics Sampler book. The reason I was interested was because for about a year now, Kitsy and I were contemplating a story with similar characters but have yet to find the time to complete it.
Robot Dreams is a whimsical story of a dog who befriends a robot. They do just about everything together until one day they go to the beach. After a day of frolicking in the sun and water, it's time to go home but theres a problem: robot can't move! Sadly, the dog abandons the robot and the robot is left dreaming about his best friend. The dog makes many attempts to rescue his friend but seems to get side tracked during those attempts.
Varon's drawing style is so simple, yet extremely expressive. I enjoyed the use of her color palette throughout the book, especially the way she depicted season. I also enjoyed the way she used her brush to ink the characters. I need to practice with brush more. Yes, I am the artistic geek! The story is tender, playful and fun, yet heartbreaking at the same time. With no words to tell the story, Sara uses only visuals to guide us through the lives of both dog and robot. I am always amazed by artists that can draw me deep into a story with out any dialog at all. Varon is a brilliant story teller, I can only hope we can reach these levels one day!
The book is all ages friendly and makes a great read. I breezed through it pretty quickly even though it was about 205 pages, but had to go back again slowly to really enjoy everything thats going on in the story and artwork. Highly recommended!
The second book is something I picked up on my our trip to the San Diego Comic Con. I had the best luck finding cool stuff at the small press area of the con. This is where I found the really uber-cute Bumper Boy and his author Debbie Huey manning the booth. After checking out the Bumper Boy merchandise, I decided on a few buttons and the first Bumper Boy book: Bumper Boy loses his marbles!
This is another all-ages, kid-friendly book that has a great story, characters and artwork. Bumper Boy and his companion Bumper Pup, go off to meet their pal Gordy before the big Marble Tournament. But before they can play, BumperBoy loses his marbles and spends time going through borp holes looking for them! The adventure of teleporting through the Borp holes leads Bumper Boy and pup to many places and people and of course they find their marbles. There's a great moment toward the climax of the story that made me feel like I was watching a Rocky movie... it was pretty intense but cute at the same time. A very enjoyable read and there's even something to learn about at the end.Debbie has an art style that I immediately fell in love with. The bold brush lines that outline her characters drew me into the story. I also enjoyed her character designs and storytelling ability. BumperBoy's world is like no other world that i've been to. I think Anpan and Nemu would enjoy living in BumperBoy's home!
BumperBoy loses his marbles is a 2005 Xeric award winner and and a great read! I was very lucky to get my copy autographed. Please check out BumperBoy and his pals by visiting bumperboy.net!