What Is It?

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  • What Is It?
  • written by Nicole Hoang
  • illustrated by Dustin Nguyen
  • published by Boom! Studios/KaBOOM! (2016)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

(This post originally appeared on GeekDad.)

There is – admittedly – sometimes a fine line between what constitutes a picture book and a graphic novel. They often have a lot in common, and it’s not surprising to find that many illustrators straddle that line and work in both media.

Traditional publishers long ago embraced the graphic novel format, and companies such as Scholastic (through their Graphix imprint) led the way. Comic publishers have been a bit slower to move in the opposite direction and put out picture books or novels. It’s not unheard of, though. First Second Books recently published their first children’s picture book (Ben Hatke’s Julia’s House for Lost Creatures) to near universal acclaim.

Now BOOM! Studios is following suit. Their all-ages imprint KaBOOM!, which has been home to some absolutely amazing monthly titles, is leading the charge with Nicole Hoang and Dustin Nguyen’s What Is It?

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GBBP 59: Roger Langridge

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The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, Episode 59: Roger Langridge

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This week, we’re thrilled to have Roger Langridge – the all-ages comics genius – on the show. Yes, he’s awesome. And yes, I just made up that “all-ages comics genius” moniker…but it’s totally appropriate.

Roger rose to prominence in the comics industry for his work on Judge Dredd, the Fin Fang Four (of all things), and his own creation Fred the Clown. He then worked (as both writer and illustrator) on Boom! Studios’ relaunched The Muppet Show series, and that’s where his style truly had a chance to shine.

From there, all bets were off. He worked on a series of Muppets book for Boom!, John Carter of Mars (Marvel), Snarked! (Boom!), Popeye (IDW), and The Rocketeer (IDW). And then, in my opinion, came the great stuff: his adaptation of Jim Henson’s The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow and the marvelous Abigail and the Snowman, both for Boom! Studios.

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Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches #1

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  • Jim Henson’s The Storyteller: Witches – The Magic Swan Goose and the Lord of the Forest
  • written/illustrated/lettered by: S.M. Vidaurri
  • published by Archaia (Boom! Studios)
  • Price: $3.99
  • Roar Score: 4/5

Jim Henson’s Storyteller is back. If you don’t remember the original show from 1988, I’m so sorry. It was a groundbreaking series (for 1988) that blended live actors with Henson’s puppetry magic and retold European folktales and legends.

The show only survived for one season of 9 episodes, and it was briefly revived a few years later for a handful of episodes that centered on various Greek myths. John Hurt portrayed the storyteller in the first series, and it’s his contribution that sticks with me to to this day. The puppets made the show unique, but Hurt made the show a classic.

The episodes are bookended by the Storyteller, beside a roaring fire, telling the story to the viewer (and his talking dog). He then acts as narrator throughout the tales.

This new comic by Archaia stays true to that spirit. Though the Storyteller and his dog only appear on the final page of the first issue in silhouette, his presence is certainly felt throughout. The story is told mostly through narration–there is little dialogue–and S.M. Vidaurri adeptly captures the “voice” of Henson’s original Storyteller.

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5 Questions with the Lumberjanes

(previously in this series: 5 Questions with Pinky and the Brain)

Welcome to another installment of 5 Questions with a 5-Year-Old. This time, Zoey chatted with Grace Ellis and Brooke Allen, the cowriter and illustrator (respectively) of Lumberjanes. Lumberjanes is a fantastic new all-ages comic from Boom, and it’s about five best friends at summer camp who fight monsters. What’s not great about that? Check out our review of Lumberjanes #1 here.

As part of the Free Comic Book Day festivities this year, Grace and Brooke were signing at Big Planet Comics in College Park, MD, and Zoey had another wonderful opportunity to practice her hard-hitting journalism.

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Lumberjanes

  • Lumberjanes #1 (April 2014)
  • written by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis
  • illustrated by Brooke Allen
  • colors by Maarta Laiho
  • letters by Aubrey Aiese
  • published by Boom! Studios (Boom! Box)
  • Roar Score: 4/5

What the junk? This one came out of nowhere for me. I hadn’t heard much about it, and then Twitter sort of erupted into a bunch of people talking about plaid shirts and shouting “Lumberjanes!” So of course I had to go check it out.

So what do we have? An all-ages comics about five female friends at camp fighting three-eyed foxes and dealing with a bearwoman? Yes, please. The issue doesn’t waste any time with unnecessary exposition. It jumps right into the middle of the story. At first, I felt like maybe we had missed an issue #0 or something, but within a few pages, all becomes clear. What’s left unclear is supposed to be unclear.

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