Featuring outstanding art and astounding storylines, the five graphic novels and art books included in this roundup will delight readers’ imaginations and transport them to strange and peculiar worlds.
Captivated, By You
by Yama Wayama
While for some high school is the best time of their lives, for many others the exact opposite is true. High school can be tough for the oddballs, misfits, loners, losers, freaks, geeks, and anyone who stands out from the crowd, whether deliberately or otherwise. In Captivated, By You Yama Wayama relates the stories of a bunch of teens who are struggling to fit in and navigate both high school in general and relationships with fellow students in particular. New kid Hayashi serves as the lynchpin of the collection, bringing together his classmates and helping tie their stories together into a cohesive exploration of high school relations. Seemingly unconcerned about conformity, Hayashi’s quirkiness inspires other students to be more true to themselves, and in doing so, he helps bring to light moving and amusing stories of everyday lives that would otherwise go unnoticed. Delighting in the day-to-day strangeness of average people, the book is an engaging and eye-catching debut manga volume.
Mongolian Wind: The Art of Lu Ming
by Lu Ming
This exquisitely produced volume showcases some of the greatest works by celebrated Chinese artist Lu Ming, who is widely recognized as one of the leading lights in the realistic comics genre. Best known for hyper-realistic comics such as Hard Melody, he has also created stunning paintings, sculptures, advertising images, as well as storyboards, and conceptual design work for movies. Lu Ming’s aim in producing Mongolian Wind: The Art of Lu Ming was to present some of the rich depth of Chinese culture and history to the rest of the world, and he has succeeded masterfully in that. The book’s one hundred and twenty glossy pages display some truly mind-blowing art, with the included photorealistic oil paintings being particularly jaw-droppingly impressive. This is a top-notch book for those seeking to savor some of Lu Ming’s eclectic artistic output.
Frank Pe’s Little Nemo
by Frank Pe
The much-loved comic strip character Little Nemo, who was created by legendary American cartoonist Winsor McCay in 1905, is brought back to life with a bang in this new volume by Belgian writer and artist Frank Pe, who is best known for the Broussaille and Zoo series. Under Pe’s guidance, Little Nemo ventures back to Slumberland and encounters many familiar faces from the original series, including a host of anarchic animals. Interestingly, some of the stories feature Winsor McCay experiencing his own strange and peculiar dream-like adventures, which perhaps helped him to understand Little Nemo better. With fun-packed storylines and delightful illustrations, Frank Pe’s Little Nemo is a joyous and whimsical read, and it makes for a more than fitting tribute to the work of the great Winsor McCay.
Kai and the Monkey King: Brownstone’s Mythical Collection 3
by Joe Todd-Stanton
Buried among the marvelous treasures in Professor Brownstone’s vault are a collection of books with the power to transport readers into thrilling adventures in other times and places. In this third story featuring members of the Brownstone family, Kai grows tired of her mother constantly reading and doing her utmost to avoid anything scary or exciting, which prompts her to seek out the infamous Monkey King in the hope of joining him on an adventure. She’s always been told to avoid the Monkey King, but that’s just because her mother is hopelessly boring, right? While there’s a chance that Kai might finally get to experience the action and adventure she craves, there’s also a distinct possibility that the mischievous Monkey King will get her into a whole host of trouble. Joe Todd-Stanton’s Kai and the Monkey King: Brownstone’s Mythical Collection 3 is another wonderful installment in the Brownstone series. Featuring bright, cartoonish illustrations as well as an action-packed and often hilarious storyline, it is sure to appeal to youngsters who enjoy mythology and adventure stories.
Hicotea: A Nightlights Story
by Lorena Alvarez
In Hicotea: A Nightlights Story, Lorena Alvarez continues the story of Sandy, an artistic young girl who is more aware of the beauty and majesty of nature and its creatures than most of her peers. This time, Sandy gets separated from her classmates while on a field trip and finds an empty turtle shell. When she peers into the shell, she finds herself transported to a magical dimension filled with paintings, sculptures, and books. Sandy soon discovers that the turtle shell is really a museum dedicated to the natural world, and the turtle needs her help to complete the only unfinished painting in the place. Lorena Alvarez is super skilled at imagining and portraying other-worldly flora and fauna, with her use of color and movement being particularly entrancing. Sandy’s sense of wonder and delight concerning the natural world makes her a very appealing character, and her latest adventure is a multilayered story that should hold young readers’ attention throughout.