Today's Reading Rainbow books are...

I just keep reading stuff, so here are more thoughts about that stuff (I prefer to say "thoughts," because the word "review" has serious, actually-kind-of-important connotations, whereas the stuff I usually type here is just recounting my reaction to the material in question. You know, if you were actually curious about that or anything).

Sardine in Outer Space Vol. 1 - Fun kids stuff from Emmanuel Guibert and Joann Sfar, creators of (among other things) the very-much-beloved-by-me The Professor's Daughter (though here they've flip-flopped on writer and artist duties). Not as good as The Professor's Daughter (but so little is), but that's probably an unfair comparison since this is an entirely different animal altogether. The title character is a young girl who's sort of a space pirate in training, zooming around the cosmos with her buccaneer uncle and troublemaker cousin, and making life miserable for supervillain dictator Supermuscleman at every turn. High art it ain't - unless you consider vomit and fart jokes high art (and who among us doesn't at times?) - but it's a quick, breezy, and fun read, and perfect fare for the kids. I think this one may end up migrating to Liam's shelf.

Amelia Rules Vol. 3: Superheroes - I've been a fan of this book since issue 1, though the erratic release schedule made me eventually drop the floppies for the trades (though this is actually the first trade I've picked up... my good intentions are rarely matched by the contents of my wallet, sadly), so this is the first time I've actually read this story. Unsurprisingly, it's pretty great. I was afraid the idea of a continuing story wouldn't work so well with this book, but thankfully I was wrong. Each story still manages to maintain the episodic, stand-alone nature of the early issues, but the ongoing storythread still weaves through quite nicely, though without being so intrusive as to confuse anyone who might be picking it up midway, even if you don't quite understand the charmingly incongruous Miracleman riff. Still the best book about growing up that's (sporadically) on the stands, filled with people that invoke the
best kid characters of the past and yet still seem original. Also, I firmly believe that if you don't laugh at loud at least once an issue, you have no soul.

Modern Masters Vol. 9: Mike Wieringo - I've been curious about this series from TwoMorrows for awhile now, and when I saw they did a volume on Wieringo, who has been one of my favorite artists for a while now, I figured this would be the perfect entry point. And it's a good little package they've put together here: a long interview with Mike conducted by his friend and frequent collaborator, Todd Dezago, and a whole bunch of really great artwork - pencil pages, rough sketches, character designs, pin-ups, some of the more finished sketchwork from his blog... oh, there's lots here. Like most TwoMorrows products, it's probably not the sort of thing you're going to want if you're not already a fan, but if you are, it's definitely worth checking out. And I think I'll be moving on to the Walter Simonson and Arthur Adams volumes when time and money allow (and I still say they should put together a Mike Parobeck volume in the future).

Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane: Super Crush - Let's hear it once again for the Target Marvel collections! Great size, format, and price point... and once they're labeled for markdown, that price point gets even better. I picked this up for $1.25... when was the last time you got 4 comic books for so little? Anyway, I was hesitant to pick this up at first, because, being a Peter Parker type myself (only without the aptitude for science, the powers, or the supermodel-caliber women fighting over me), let's just say I had a pretty deep bias against a book that basically focused on the popular kids. But, again, $1.25. I'm not made of stone here. I'm glad I caved, because I did end up liking this. I like the more traditional feel going on in the Marvel Adventures Spider-Man book better, but I did appreciate the unique take on the Spider-Man world that this book had to offer. I think it helps that Sean McKeever has a knack for writing teen angst that doesn't sound so... angsty, I guess. And he does write a pretty fab MJ - sure of herself (mostly), but not the over-the-top attention hound Stan first wrote her as. It's a big improvement. The artwork didn't wow me, but it was kinda fun to see a manga-styled Rocket Racer. I think I just may be inclined to check out the later issues now, so I'd have to call this book a success.

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