The Family Comic Friday Best of 2019!
This week. Family Comic Friday is taking a look at the best all-ages comic books and graphic novels that debuted in 2019. Enjoy!
Newcomer of the Year- Sea Sirens: A Trot & Cap’n Bill Adventure
Written by Amy Chu
Art by Janet K. Lee
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
A young girl and her one-eyed cat are whisked away to the land of mermaids. There, the duo are thrown into an epic battle between mer-people and sea serpents when the underwater snakes kidnap the girl’s grandfather.
Amy Chu and newcomer Janet K. Lee set up a new series that has origins in Vietnamese culture and a series of books by Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum. Lee’s artwork was so fanciful. I was in complete awe of it.
This was a wondrous book that was nearly perfect except for a lack of translated dialogue. Book 2 drops next year in June! You can believe that Family Comic Friday will be reviewing The Castle in the Sky when it debuts! I just hope that the sequel will come with much needed subtitles.
Comic Series of the Year- Canto
Written by David Booher
Illustrated by Drew Zucker
Published by IDW Publishing
Good writers tell good stories. Great writers create worlds. Awesome writers develop entire universes! And that’s what David Booher has done here in this tale about a clockwork boy who goes on an epic quest to save the life of the woman he loves!
Booher’s writing is only half of the equation. Artist Drew Zucker illustrates Canto with such amazing details!
Arguably one of the best stories of the year- perhaps the entire decade! I expect this to be made into an animated series or a movie sometime soon! This allegory about individuality versus collectivism is a story that will be shared by generations to come!
Non-Fiction of Year- Maker Comics: Fix a Car
Written and illustrated by Chris Schweizer
Published by First Second
First Second created a new series of graphic novels called Maker Comics. These books were a blend of fiction narrative and non-fiction how-to. From baking to creating your own comic book to the book I chose to review earlier this year- automotive repair and maintenance.
Not having someone to teach me how to treat a car properly growing up, I learned a lot from this book. So much, that I actually put a couple of tips to go use on my own cars this year and saved a little cash in doing so!
Owning a car isn’t something that those over the age of 16 get to enjoy. Author Chris Schweizer wisely includes a pair of siblings who are fixing up a car for when they turn driving age. Thus a child of 8 or 18 can benefit from Fix a Car! These are comics that entertain and educate! I’m all for it!
Graphic Novel of the Year- Cretaceous
Plotted and Illustrated by Tadd Galusha
Published by Oni Press
Ghostbusters’ Tadd Galusha crafts this unforgettable story of a T-Rex looking for it’s family unit. Grim and gritty, this is a must for fans of dinosaurs. Now while almost any kid loves thunder lizards, this book is violent. So parents of really young dino lovers need to beware!
Unlike most dinosaur properties, this one is highly researched and quite scientifically accurate. The dinosaurs have feathers! If a creature wasn’t from the Cretaceous period, it’s nor in this epic adventure! And there’s no words in this book! Not a one.
Okay- that’s not 100% true but it’s close. There’s a few action words and a roar or two. Plus, there’s a very extensive section in the back that explores all of the main species featured in this graphic novel.
Cretaceous is the dream of the 2019 crop!
The 2018 Book of the Year- Short and Skinny
Written and Illustrated by Mark Tatulli
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Being only one person, I’m constantly catching up on books for the family! 2019 was the year that the Skywalker Trilogy concluded. As part of my year-long countdown to Episode IX, I choose to read this graphic novel by Mark Tatulli.
Short and Skinny chronicles the Summer of 1977- the Summer of Star Wars. An aspiring young filmmaker, Tatulli was inspired to create his own version of Star Wars. This funny graphic novel was a true story of a youngster love of a galaxy far, far away. In my aspects, it reminds me of my childhood!
Short and Skinny was such a perfect read. Had I read this last year or had this book been published in 2019, it would have been my pick of the year. Thus this is why I included an extra category in my best of 2019 review.
And now, lastly…
The Surprise of the Year: My Little Pony Holiday Special 2019
Written by James Asmus
I’m not a Bronie. Yes- as a kid of 5 or 6, I was swept into the My Little Pony craze of the 1980s. But I grew out of it replacing MLP with things like He-Man and G.I. Joe. When the franchise went through a revival, I was not one of those who went gaga for the Ponies. But I have got to say that I was pleasantly surprised about the quality of this 2019 holiday one-shot.
James Asmus crafts a pair of stories that never mention Christmas by name. However, you know exactly that this holiday special is very much set in the season of yule tide. A lot of that is because of the artwork of both Andy Price and Trish Forstner. Price illustrates the edges of every page of the opening carol with an abundance of holiday iconic images such as candles and gifts. It was like a Bill Willingham Christmas special! Meanwhile in a Krampus inspired back-up feature, Forstner decorates each panel with a mix of holiday charm and frights!
I hadn’t been following the My Little Pony holiday books. As a huge fan of Christmas comics, that’s an injustice I will soon change!
And that’s my look at the best of the best all-ages fun for 2019. I’ll be back on January 10th for our first Family Comic Friday of the new year! Until then, have a great rest of 2019.
See ya next decade!