"review" · comics/graphic novels · fiction · juvenile lit · recommend · series · series · young adult lit

Trondheim and McGuiness

A few comics for you today. Unusually short, I know…

I recommend them both, and not just for juvenile audiences.


Tiny Tyrant by Lewis Trondheim and Frabrice Parme

Translated by Alexis Siegel

First Second (2007).

124 pages, hardbound Library.

shopped from First Second’s site and checked out at the Library.

Welcome to Portocristo, its clear skies, sandy beaches, bustling streets—and its spoiled rotten, six-year-old king.

Anything he says goes, no matter how bizarre or harebrained. See you King Ethelbert swap his country’s kids for Ethelbert robots, test his own bodyguard’s mettle by putting a price on his own head, shrink the world down to his size, bring a dinosaur back from the past…And that only a tiny taste of the zaniness ahead.

Trondheim’s deliciously inventive writing is perfectly matched by Parmes’ tribute to the classic animation of Mr. Magoo and The Pink Panther. Join them in a wild romp through the corridors of power, where a pint-sized leader is the boss of you. ~dust jacket

The drawing has an old school cartoon feel. And the tyrant is ridiculous and funny. The daughter read them out loud and re-read this volume a few times, laughing out loud each time.

There are12 stories in this collection and instead of white pages throughout, each story is tinted a pastel. You’ll also note that the stories are told without framed panels. The image above is a fine sampling of the pages, which are not hard to follow.  Trondheim has a great sense of humor and imagination and his vocab isn’t too shabby either. Tiny Tyrant is a great set of comics with something for both kids and adults.

If you are interested in more commentary: Chris at The Graphic Classroom has an excellent review (as can be expected). Check it out as the review also includes a review of Trondheim’s Kaput & Zosky.


Pilot & Huxley: The First Adventure by Dan McGuiness

Graphix (Scholastic), 2011.

Library Hardcover, 62 pages.

found on the Graphix site and requested it from the Library.

Best Buddies Pilot & Huxley get zapped to another dimension by aliens seeking to enslave the planet Earth, which totally ruins their day. That’s when things get weird. They have to travel through a swamp of bees, battle a sea creature, and defeat the grim reaper. Worst of all, they must seek the golden nose hair of a giant creature. But with luck, some fast thinking, and help from a monster who can transform into a girl (or vice versa), they just might make it back home in one piece. ~back cover.

An absurd adventure that is bound to gross out anyone who does not possess a juvenile boy’s sense of humor—I loved it.

If you are thinking Cartoon Network or South Park you are headed in the right direction. When the duo are reading this comic in Afterword, page 61, they talk about how awesome it would be if the book were made into a TV show. Huxley: “Yeah, They could get Ben Stiller to play me.” Pilot: “Or Cartman from South Park.” Huxley: “Shut up Dork Pants!”

There are so many brilliant little nods to pop culture (or at least, the popular culture of comic book nerds and gamers). But those who may not catch even some of the references will find something to enjoy. Like the fact that they are transported to the “Forest of Gruesome Death,” and the girl really is a hideous pink monster. Natalya loved that Huxley’s name is “the ultimate swearword,” and that when used thereafter it drives Huxley crazy. It is very funny. And really, I dare anyone to read this without saying , “Ewww!”–yes, even thinking it will count. We are definitely looking forward to Pilot & Huxley’s next adventure.

book’s website, where you can get a “sneak peek” of the book; that is where the images come from as the book does not have arrows or exit buttons.

thoughts? would love to hear them...

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