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5 Monster Comics I Adore

I love a good monster story. Strange beasts lurking in the darkness and and the people who hunt them? Sign me up! I also love comics, so here are a few of my favorite comics that involve monsters. All have been collected in trade paperback format, so you don't have to track down individual comic book issues. And it's always a good idea to check your local library to see what's in their graphic novel collection!

(This joins my lists of zombie comics with kick-ass female leads, comics about magic, post-apocalyptic comics, comics about race and social justice, and all-ages comics as Things You Should Read. (Does this post use affiliate links? Yep! More about that if you're not familiar.)

First up, B.P.R.D. Volume 9: 1946 and its sequels. Mike Mignola is the creator and author, joined by by a changing team across the series. Writers Joshua Dysart, John Arcudi, and Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon. Art by Paul Azaceta, Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon, and Max Fuimara. Colors by Nick Filardi and Dave Stewart. Letters by Clem Robins.

Hellboy fans will know instantly that B.P.R.D. stands for the Bureau of Paranormal Research and Defense. The B.P.R.D. 1946+ series focuses on Professor Broom, Hellboy's adoptive father. It begins in post-war Germany, with the investigation of a Nazi Occult Bureau project called Vampir Sturm.

Unfortunately, this investigation requires cooperation from the Russians, including an actual demon who leads the Soviet arcane studies division. Varvara the demon appears as a young, beautiful doll almost, or an extremely creepy Shirley Temple. And she's a little too interested in Hellboy.

Continue reading 5 Monster Comics I Adore.

6 Kids' Books About Food and Cooking That Adults Can Love Too

When a young child loves a book, they're likely to wheedle any older person into reading it with them. Parents, babysitters, grandparents, aunts and uncles, family friends, older siblings and cousins - no one is safe from the 26th repetition of the cherished story! So for all those adults (and anyone giving gifts to children) here's the next installment in my "Kids Books That Adults Can Love Too" series: books about food and cooking.

(If you're new here, you can also get caught upon previous picture book posts: friendship, dogs, pirates, bedtime, awesome girls, robots, magic, and gardens, and cats, superheroes, love and marriage, knights, family, science fiction, and kids' poetry books. Does this post use affiliate links? Yes! More about that if you're not familiar.)

Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert is great as a board book, to look at with very young kids. The paintings are absolutely beautiful. I always found it a respite from cartoony children's illustrations when I desperately needed something softer and more complex to enjoy. Older children who are into art will probably appreciate the paperback version because the pictures are bigger and easier to study.

Continue reading 6 Kids' Books About Food and Cooking That Adults Can Love Too.

What's hiding in your camera? Time to let it out!

I've never been a big photographer. Back in 2011 I took a photography class one morning and started getting a little tiny clue about the rule of thirds, and what some of the options did on my old point and shoot. Then it broke.

Since then I've acquired an Android phone with a pretty good camera, contemplated quite a few photography tutorials, and imagined that one day I'd put serious effort into learning more about this stuff so I could be good at it.

But in the meantime I took a bunch of pictures and never showed them to anyone.

Pictures I really liked.

I didn't figure they were very good technically, or the kind of pictures anybody else would be interested in. (You may have noticed me sneaking a few into various blog posts here and there "to liven them up." I didn't think it was worth posting them unless I could hang them on a narrative hook.)

Because apparently blogging for my own enjoyment, and celebrating my own small victories, has become a foreign concept to me?

Silly girl...!

So here's some of what's been hiding in my camera.

What's in yours?


The truth comes out

Me: It's so interesting to me that you always want breakfast right away when you get up, these days.

Boy Detective: What do you mean?

Me: Remember how you never used to be hungry first thing in the morning? It took you quite a while to be ready for breakfast. So you'd go off and build Legos or whatever?

Boy Detective: Oh THAT! That was just because I wanted to play too much.

5 Fantastic Comics About Race and Social Justice

As I mentioned in my post about Wiscon, I was lucky enough to be on a Diversity in Comics panel there this year. Our moderator asked us to explain how we got into comics. I cannot tell that story without lauding the first book in this post, Incognegro by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece. Since I read it, I've kept my eye out for more comics that tell stories about race, social change and justice, and all the good and bad that goes with our world's history on those issues.

Here are some of my favorites, joining my lists of zombie comics with kick-ass female leads, comics about magic, post-apocalyptic comics, and all-ages comics as Things You Should Read. (Does this post use affiliate links? Yep! More about that if you're not familiar.)

As mentioned above, Incognegro: A Graphic Mystery by Mat Johnson with art by Warren Pleece. Lettered by Clem Robins.

Incognegro drew me back to comics after several years when nothing interested me. The story is intense beyond words. It's a mystery, a crime and detective story, and a reminder of the deep horror of how African-Americans have been treated throughout U.S. history. It's set in the 1930s. Zane Pinchback is an African-American reporter who has skin light enough to "pass" for white, working in New York. He travels to Mississippi when his brother is accused of murdering a white woman. Johnson was inspired by the real life stories of Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, who made similar trips to investigate lynchings.

For those interested in crime or mystery stories or American history, this is a must-read. It's violent, but not without purpose. Johnson is an award-winning writer and writing professor, and he handles this story beautifully. Pleece's art looks appropriate to the setting without appearing dated. Go. Read.

Continue reading 5 Fantastic Comics About Race and Social Justice.

6 Kids' Science Fiction Books That Adults Can Love Too

We are HUGE science fiction fans in our family, so we're always on the lookout for children's picture books about aliens, outer space, and any other topic that would thrill our geeky hearts. Here's a set that the grownups in our house enjoyed as much as our kiddo did.

If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

(If you're new here, you can also get caught up on previous picture book posts: friendship, dogs, pirates, bedtime, awesome girls, robots, magic, gardens, cats, superheroes, love and marriage, knights, family, animals, and kids' poetry books. Does this post use affiliate links? Yes! More about that if you're not familiar.)

Earth to Clunk by Pam Smallcomb, with pictures by Joe Berger. What a horrible project! An alien pen pal? The only possible solution is to send him as much horrible stuff as possible, including your horrible big sister! I could not stop laughing at the escalation of hostile packages from Earth and the enthusiastic and friendly notes back from outer space.

Continue reading 6 Kids' Science Fiction Books That Adults Can Love Too.

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Thanks to Chris Giarrusso for the title "Planet Jinxatron." Buy his books!

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