Saturday, August 26, 2017

Graphic Novel Sampler Review: First Second Fall 2017

I received the First Second Sampler in the Fall Fierce Reads box and, I'll admit, I wasn't quite sure how to review it. How exactly does one review samples of multiple graphic novels? But I'll do my best to tell you about this cute little sampler and the content inside!

There are fifteen separate samplers inside this little book and SO many of them drew me right in! The art varies wildly, as does the content, but there are definitely a few that I'm interested to know more about. Here are my more complete thoughts on some of the stand-out stories I can't wait to get my hands on:

Title: The Dam Keeper
Authors: Robert Kondo & Dice Tsutsumi
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Add to Goodreads

Life in Sunrise Valley is tranquil, but beyond its borders lies certain death. A dangerous black fog looms outside the village, but its inhabitants are kept safe by an ingenious machine known as the dam. Pig’s father built the dam and taught him how to maintain it. And then this brilliant inventor did the unthinkable: he walked into the fog and was never seen again.

Now Pig is the dam keeper. Except for his best friend, Fox, and the town bully, Hippo, few are aware of his tireless efforts. But a new threat is on the horizon—a tidal wave of black fog is descending on Sunrise Valley. Now Pig, Fox, and Hippo must face the greatest danger imaginable: the world on the other side of the dam.

Based on the Oscar-nominated animated short film of the same name, The Dam Keeper is a lush, vibrantly drawn graphic novel by Tonko House cofounders Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi.

This is the first sample in this book and the art completely blew me away! It has the same feeling as a few indie horror video games and is actually described as a "spooky story." Even though it's marketed to ages 7 and up, this is one I'm definitely going to have to get my hands on!

Title: Cici's Journal: The Adventures of a Writer-In-Training
Author & Illustrator:  Joris Chamblain, Aurélie Neyret
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Add to Goodreads

Cici dreams of being a novelist. Her favorite subject: people, especially adults. She’s been watching them and taking notes. Everybody has one special secret, Cici figures, and if you want to write about people, you need to understand what’s hiding inside them. But now she’s discovered something truly strange: an old man who disappears into the forest every Sunday with huge pots of paint in all sorts of colors. What is he up to? Why does he look so sad when he comes back?

In a graphic novel interwoven with journal notes, scrapbook pieces, and doodles, Cici assembles clues about the odd and wonderful people she’s uncovered, even as she struggles to understand the mundane: her family and friends.

Cici's Journal was another that completely pulled me in with its gorgeous art - that cover does NOT do it justice! From the small sample I read, this is a really unique story about an old man who paints gorgeous animal murals in the forest. I know there must be a lot more to this story and I'd really love to find out what it is!

Title: Mighty Jack and the Goblin King
Author: Ben Hatke
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Add to Goodreads

In the thrilling conclusion of Mighty Jack - desperate to rescue Maddy, who has been kidnapped by an ogre, Jack and Lilly travel through vines and stalk into a world where giants grind the bones of human children to feed their "beast," while a fearsome goblin king rules the sewers down below. 

So apparently this is part two in a series, which I totally didn't realize while I was reading it. I am a SUCKER for gorgeous art, in case you hadn't figured that out, and this sample had one illustration in particular that made me definitely want to know more about this story and this world. I may be picking up part one of this soon!

Title: Castle in the Stars: The Space Race of 1869
Author: Alex Alice
Publication Date: September 12, 2017
Add to Goodreads

This one is Jules Verne meets Miyazaki. It’s the space race in 1869 in a kind of alternate past. … When you see the book itself, it’s this big, oversized object with this incredible watercolor comics style, and it’s this really big, epic, sweeping story of a boy following in his mother’s discovery and then opening up the solar system, but in the age of the 1800s. It’s got a kind of steampunk but also a kind of young, classic children’s story feel to it.

The last one I'll talk about is Castle in the Stars. While the beautiful, intricate art definitely drew me in,  I was incredibly intrigued by the story! This is about a young boy named Seraphin whose mother has disappeared. He has an obsession with space travel via hot air balloon (?) and is determined to find his mother again when a letter comes from a stranger promising a mysterious task. I'm definitely curious to see what the task is!


This gorgeous sampler really has something for everyone! There were stories ranging from middle grade contemporary to adult true crime and everything in between. I had never heard of this graphic novel publisher before this sampler, but I definitely will be keeping an eye on their books in the future!