Last night while at the local Barnes and Noble, I picked up a book that I've been waiting to be released since I heard of it's beginnings about a year and a half ago. Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper (Softcover) by Kazu Kibuishi was worth the wait. For those of you who are not familiar with Kazu Kibuishi, you really should take a look at his other works, especially his comic strip Copper and the great graphic novel Daisy Kutter: The Last Train. What Kazu is best known for is his work through the comic anthology called Flight, which is already on it's 4th volume.
Being a huge Kibuishi fan, it was exciting to actually meet Kazu and his wife Amy Kim Ganter (also a big fan of her work in Sorcerers and Secretaries) this past year. What an amazing team of artists! During this time, Kazu was kind enough to allow Kitsy and I to see not only the proof pages of Amulet, but his actual penciled pages and roughed thumbnails! Allowing us to see his work flow gave both of us insight into how we could be working on nemu*nemu. I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work that went into Amulet... I'm talking about what looked like a ream of paper with actual penciled pages, and this didn't include all of his rough drafts, thumbnails and story rewrites that he went through to get to the actual product.
While I had the opportunity to take a look at the proofed pages before publication, I tried hard not to actually read anything I saw because I really wanted to savor the moment when I cracked open the book for the first time. I'm just like that I guess. I was not disappointed at all! Amulet tells the tale of two children, Emily and Navin who after the death of their father, move with their mother to the home of their great-grandfather. The grandfathers home is a rather largish mansion that houses mysterious puzzles and sinister creatures as well. Without giving away too much of the story, I'll say this much: in the house, an Amulet of great power is found. When the children take the Amulet, the adventure begins.
Kibuishi's story-telling is simply amazing. Each and every scene in this story made me feel as if I was watching all of my favorite movies in one book. Action, suspense, magic and wizardry, transforming robots, evil monsters and a mysterious plot... and this is just Book 1!
Kitsy told me that I'd probably cry when I read this book, since while we were looking at Kazu's proofs she read a portion of it. Although I was prepared by that notion, I still cried when I read that opening pages. The stories opener is suspense packed and will move you. The storytelling in just the opening pages felt very cinematic... as if I was there in a theatre watching the drama unfold.
The artwork is visually stunning... the cover doesn't do it justice. You must take a look at the interior pages to appreciate the whole look and feel of the book. Kibuishi and his crew of assistants did a great job of coloring which sets the mood for the entire book as the characters venture from place to place. It's hard for me to explain, but I just don't get the same feeling from comic books that I do from this.
I encourage you to check out Amulet, Book 1. It's put out by Scholastic so you know it's Kid / All ages friendly. The world has been waiting a long time for a graphic novel like this. I look forward to the day when this is animated and made into a feature film. Seriously! Highly recommended reading for everyone!
Kudos to Kazu and team! I can't wait for Book Two!