It’s the 96th Annual Children’s Book Week, and this year’s theme is COMICS. This is a great team up because, as I’ve noted many times in my life, kids like reading comics. To help celebrate, our pals at First Second have reached out to some of their authors to get their picks for favorite kids comics, and kicking things off we have the one and only James Kochalka, whose many kids books include “The Glorkian Warrior Eats Adventure Pie” “Johnny Boo Book 1: The Best Little Ghost In The World and “Johnny Boo Meets Dragon Puncher” . Take it away, James:
Teen Dog by Jake Lawrence
It’s laugh out loud funny story of a Fonzi-like teenage dog and his human friends, the and the art is gorgeous and super crisp and clear. My boys (age 7 and 11) and I eagerly devoured each of the eight issues. But what’s next?! Jake, I’m sure whatever you do next is going to totally rock.
Petite Poilu by Pierre Bailly and Céline Fraipont
These haven’t been published yet in the USA, but they’re wordless books so they’re great for importing even if you don’t know French. I discovered it when I was a guest at Angouleme a few years back. Petite Poilu translates as Little Hairy. It’s about a little boy creature who has surreal adventures. There are 16 volumes out so far, with the 17th due out in June, and they’re all staggeringly good. It kind of reminds me a little bit of Jim Woodring’s Frank, if the Frank stories were happier.
Bone by Jeff Smith
No other epic adventure comic even comes close. In fact it’s the only epic adventure I hold in as high esteem as I hold The Lord of the Rings. Everything else is just a pretender by comparison.
Leave it To PET! by Kenji Sonishi
This is the funniest comic I have ever read. It’s about a boy who recycles a can and the can comes back as a robot. Throughout the series they meet dozens of other robots made of recycled stuff. Everybody acts just completely off-the-hook insane. It’s total bonkers fun.
Flash Gordon by Alex Raymond
I love the way storytelling is so different in ongoing weekly serials than it is in a modern graphic novel. To read them all together in a row gives you a totally new idea of what a story can be. It’s a seemingly archaic form, but it has a lot to teach us about narrative. Flash Gordon is great, and it’s what I’m reading right now to the boys, but there are other great ones. The collections of Popeye dailies are probably even better, actually.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.