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Grafix Chronicles is a black-and-white anthology of short comics from past and present small print artists. Issue #1 includes “The Man Under the Microscope!,” “Solomon Wyrd,” and “Don’t Touch Me.”

Robert Paul Weston’s young adult novel The Creature Department is much more than a novel.  It is an experience. In collaboration with Zack Lydon and Framestore, Weston has created a modern, interactive reading experience for the modern kid . . . and modern learning. The cover of the novel, designed by Zack Lydon, has three-dimensional text and graphics that glow in the dark. When you look closer, you realize each letter in the title is an actual “creature” contorted to make the letter’s shape. It is a visual, tactile explosion that creates a magical experience before you even open the book.  Framestore, the visual effects studio whose work has been used in films like Avatar, Harry Potter, and most recently Gravity, created interactive versions of the characters for The Creature Department’s promotional website. One such virtual creature even made a pit stop to Comic-Con to dance and laugh with kids and adults alike. The Creature Department is a novel that will not only delight and inspire its readers, but it also offers an endless amount of cross-disciplinary curricular opportunities between English, Science, Art, Theater, and Computer/Graphic Arts Departments. In fact, it is a book that I think is desperately needed in the classroom ASAP, because, as the creatures quickly reveal, science and reading are fun!

What I.F. reads like a poetic love letter rather than your typical comic, mourning the loss of a friendship and the death of a life one discovered was never really real. The subject matter is deep and is approached as such. Imaginary friends, suicide, and mental illness are usually dealt with in a comedic or dark and masturbatory manner. Not so in the comic What I.F..

The movie opens to the haunting sounds of a piano and a woman’s angelic voice singing (Storm Large, “Where Is My Mind”) as we see our hero, Alex Mathis (played by Greg Gunburg), walking confused in slow motion through urban chaos and destruction. As he walks, people run by screaming, army men fire bullets, and explosions go off left and right. All of these sounds are muted in the background. As the music swells, time catches up to our hero,and the camera circles around, so we see what he sees: a big ass spider! Debris falls toward him, and the screen goes to black. The title appears, music fades, and we hear the spider cry out.  This was truly an impeccably timed opening sequence. It had the makings of an action drama right up until the moment the camera spins, and we see the ridiculous, CGI spider-cue opening credits and . . . a big ass laugh from this reviewer!

While BOOM!’s Sons of Anarchy comic series (inspired by the FX television show) was created to stand on its own, having watched the show definitely adds to the reader's understanding and enjoyment of the comic. The issues within the comic series do not stand alone, but rather build off each other to create an original subplot, which takes place during Season 5 of the TV series. The comic subplot centers on Season 6 newcomer Kendra, the niece of a former Jim Crow Member. Kendra’s uncle was also Tig’s best friend.

Tomorrowland is not a graphic novel; it is an experience. Before reading this graphic novel, I was unaware of the famous Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium. Writer Paul Jenkins does an excellent job of not only creating an original story incorporating the belief systems, people, and imagery from the actual festival, but he also helps to educate the reader about the festival itself, enticing them to learn more and become a fan if not already one. After reading this graphic novel, I am eager to someday attend Tomorrowland in Belgium and its sister festival, Tomorrowworld, that just opened in September of 2013 in Chattahoochee Hills (near Atlanta, Georgia). Jenkins has created a mythology to enhance the experiences of patrons attending the annual world famous Tomorrowland Festival, as well as novices such as myself. It's a fun and beautiful graphic novel and a brilliant marketing strategy!

The Vale: I Don’t Know What I Did Last Summer takes readers into a world where Lovecraftian-like elder gods have forcibly sundered the wall between their world and ours. Fay, elders, and humans mingle uneasily as everyone is a little afraid of what the others could do. Despite their differences, Shugg (an elder), Jan (a human), and Liam (a fay) have forged a close friendship. The comic looks at Liam’s stag party (roughly equivalent to a bachelor party in the US) where Shugg and Jan join the leprechaun-looking fellow’s other pals in Derry, Ireland, for a night of drinking and debauchery that will not be mentioned again. Due to the subject matter of the comic, this is definitely for mature readers only.

Tomorrowland is not a graphic novel; it is an experience. Before reading this graphic novel, I was unaware of the famous Tomorrowland Festival in Belgium. Writer Paul Jenkins does an excellent job of not only creating an original story incorporating the belief systems, people, and imagery from the actual festival, but he also helps to educate the reader about the festival itself, enticing them to learn more and become a fan if not already one. After reading this graphic novel, I am eager to someday attend Tomorrowland in Belgium and its sister festival, Tomorrowworld, that just opened in September of 2013 in Chattahoochee Hills (near Atlanta, Georgia). Jenkins has created a mythology to enhance the experiences of patrons attending the annual world famous Tomorrowland Festival, as well as novices such as myself. It's a fun and beautiful graphic novel and a brilliant marketing strategy!

After reading/reviewing writer Jesse Young’s touching and heartfelt online comic Here We Go (which you can/should be read here) for Fanboy Comics a while back, I jumped at the chance to read his new comic, The Daring Adventures of Android Jones. Yes, the story is as fun and exciting as the title makes it out to be. The long and short of it is, Android Jones and his trusty robot Pip find themselves in a bit of a kerfuffle after a “misunderstanding” with some alien inhabitants of the planet that Jones and Pip were sent to survey. Young is quite a talented writer, whose work is always a pleasure to read. Joining Young on this adventure, pun intended, are artist Ryan Cody and Thomas Mauer on lettering. Cody’s artwork is wonderful. It’s vibrant, colorful, and brings the story and world to life.

Comic book publisher Top Cow will soon be releasing the seventh issue of Aphrodite IX, written by Matt Hawkins and illustrated by Stjepan Šejić, and the publisher has been very generous to the Fanboy Comics staff. In light of the comic book's release date today, we are now able to share a preview of Issue #7!

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