Christina Brookman, Fanbase Press Contributor

Christina Brookman, Fanbase Press Contributor

Stranger Things is a haunting tale of childhood friends fighting supernatural elements.

Zombies, pirates, vampires, goddesses, romance, and battles: There is something for everyone in this latest edition of Angel, Time and Tide. The cover vignettes are spectacular, both enticing and jarring. Whisked away in a sweeping, romantic dip are a couple in period attire on the cover, inviting you into a magical, and yet dangerous, world. I was immediately struck by the boat etched in the woman's dress - its passengers and their stories. Turn the page to behold Angelus, the man in period dress now ripping into a woman’s neck and dripping in blood.

Archaia and Jim Henson Studios have created the sequel to the cult classic film, The Dark Crystal, in comic book form in Jim Henson’s The Power of the Dark Crystal. The language of this world lives in dream-like chants, giving it a sacred, poetic quality. Despite the fantasy of this realm, you trust the reality of this world and its people; they are every bit real and rich.

Bold, vibrant colors flow over the pages of this collected trade paperback like a Miami night club. Right away, I was struck by the use of fluorescent colors - hot pink and bright yellow - as well as the creative storyboarding. The images are a blend of pop art and old newspaper clippings, intertwining textures and colors throughout the piece.

LaValle’s Monster is cold and bionic at first glance, but it’s surprisingly all heart. We are first introduced to him sprawled out while he sits atop a mammoth ice tower, his power billowing over. He sits alone, ripped shorts blowing in the wind, hollow eyes as he sits on his throne tower of ice. Chilling, yet within an instant, he is diving through the ice to destroy two wale poachers, morning the death of the creature while smashing their heads off. The Monster is about to join the ranks of a group of vigilantes when he hears of the news of Dr. Frankenstein and her lab, infuriating him.

First looking at Strawberry Shortcake: Funko Universe, I was delighted by the delectably fun design of the the cover. Purple Pie Man and Berry Bird are vinyl figures made up in 3D, as if they were clay dolls in packages waiting to be ripped open and devoured. Clever, cute, and playful - it's a perfect way to start a youthful comic. The comic does not disappoint, as it is filled with vibrant colors and enticing visions of food in a plethora of forms. There are pies everywhere, houses made of pies, curly hair representing meringue, apples on trees, and surrounding it all are rainbows and bright sunshine. Even the ominous, dark sky is filled with color. The artists paints the world of Strawberry Shortcake the way a child would envision it, and as it should be… utterly edible.

When I first saw the title My Father Didn't Kill Himself, I thought I had misread it, so I reread it . . . and reread it. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that it would be a really twisted adult novel; however, when I saw that it was, in fact, a junior adult book, well, I knew this would be a book of a different color and one I had to read. I am so glad I did. Suicide and death are not subjects we talk about often or openly discuss, especially with youth. I had a mentor commit suicide when I was in high school, and it devastated the community - adults and children alike - sending ripples of grief that are still there to this day. I wish there had been a book like this around then. How wonderful it would have been to grieve and read through Delilah's crazy adventures cuddled up in my blankets. I can only imagine the questions and discussions I could have had with my friends and parents.

Have you ever walked down the street when something catches your attention from the corner of your eye and stops you cold. Seconds later, you are startled by your own breath, because you didn’t realize you had stopped breathing? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me the first time I saw the cover of Camilla D’Errico’s Rainbow Children. Everything stopped and, suddenly, I was frozen in time with the girl on the cover. And then, as quickly as I was thrown into her world, I found myself sucked out, left haunted with the image of a young, innocent girl adorned in a crown of tentacles, crying a stream of rainbows tears. After glimpsing, or rather experiencing, the covering of Rainbow Children, you can’t help but want more. It would be like saying you will only have one bite of the most decadent bar of chocolates. That face, there are so many stories in her tears, so many questions you have for the world she comes from. You have to enter this book; you can't not dive into it head first - no going back. Rainbow Children is not just an art book, it is a portal into a very special world; a world inspired by pop art and anime along with childhood classics from the '80s, but, nevertheless, this world is very much D’Errico’s world, immortalized with the brushstrokes of her trademark sea creatures and dripping rainbows.

Hellboy is one of my favorite comic characters, so I was particularly excited to read Dark Horse’s recent release, Hellboy: Winter Special. What makes Hellboy so memorable amongst the plethora of comics out there is the emphasis on character, relationships, and timing. Your title character is, in reality, the antithesis of his name: just a little lovable pup with a big paw and a cigar. He is relatable and you laugh along in his insane adventures. This issue, however, reads as filler. Nothing is glaringly bad, just subpar; the laughs are there, but the story is just weak.

The Nites is a fun sci-fi adventure for young readers that is the first in a series of yet-to-be-published books by writer Charles Winters. It follows the story of Joe, a night watchman, and the bizarre happenings in his office while he is on shift. After Joe finds a strange, unknown object at work, he seeks out the advice of a professor from the local university. Both men's lives become entangled, along with Joe’s coworkers, as the days pass and still there is no answer as to what the object is or what strange occurrences are happening at Joe’s office. Tensions rise along with the ever-increasing sense of danger.  Winters is remarkable at building the feeling of unrest. The main character, while a little monotonous and predictable, is likable, as is the professor. Most importantly, the story is interesting and one that children will want to grab a hold of and relish. Here is where Winters' heart lies and where I see true potential in a series. If you don't have likable characters or an interesting story, particularly with children, you lose them. But, things that go bump in the night? A night watchman turned detective? There are a plethora of possibilities here that The Nites alludes will continue on in the series.

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