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Comics in the Classroom's First Annual Holiday Reading Picks
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Article by Scott Tingley, December 16, 2007

As a comic fan who gets a lot of his information from comic websites, one of my favorite things about the holiday season are all the end-of-the-year-what-I-want-for-Christmas lists that many comic sites put up. I love reading them every year so I thought this site would give it a shot this time.

Here is what I asked many of the comic people that I have come into contact with over the past year or so. I forgot many, and some were simply too busy (really? I wonder why?), but this is part one of the responses to my challenging question (part two will be up later this week):

What did you read this year that you thought was the best thing for: Elementary aged readers; Middle school aged readers; Middle school aged readers; Adult readers like yourself?

And thanks so much to all that participated. I had a ball putting this together. - Scott
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-Fred Van Lente (Co-creator of Action Philosophers , writer of Fantastic Four and Power Pack , Incredible Hercules , Marvel Adventure Fantastic Four , MODOK's 11 to just mention a few. It's been quite a year for Mr. Van Lente)

Since you didn't specify, I'll include both comics and prose on this list.

Elementary aged readers

Middle school aged readers

Well, I didn't read that much for these age groups, but uh.... I could plug Fantastic Four & Power Pack: Favorite Son , which I wrote and Gurhiru drew and the digest collection ships in January. It's definitely the most fun thing I had writing all year. Or I just could keep my fool mouth shut.  

Young Adult readers

I really loved Thunderbolts: Faith in Monsters by Ellis and Deodato, but my love for super-villains, big-headed or no, is well-documented, so perhaps I'm biased. But the reimagined Thunderbolts series is one of the best -- and most poignant -- satires of the genre I've read in years. It's important to teach kids to mistrust the government at an early age. (grin)

Adult readers

I bought the Philp K. Dick Library of America volume and really had a gas with The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldrich , which is definitely one of the best novels I read all year, SF or otherwise. It's been a while since I've been unable to put a fiction work down, and that was definitely the case here.

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Kevin Grevioux (Currently writing New Warriors for Marvel, and writer of a number of all ages books for his own company, Astounding Studios. He is also an actor and screenwriter)

Elementary aged readers

I really enjoyed a manga book entitled ZAPT! That was written by Shannon
Denton.  One of the most fun books I've read in quite sometime.

Middle school aged readers

I like Marvel's Adventure line of books.  In particular the Avengers .

Young Adult readers

I think ULTIMATE POWER is INCREDIBLE.

Adult readers

Ed Brubaker's CRIMINAL .
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-Chris Eliopoulos (Artist/Co-writer Franklin Richards: Son of a Genius series; comic letterer extraordinaire)

Elementary aged readers

The Complete Peanuts collection. We forgot just how good Schulz was and now we can show another generation.

Middle school aged readers

Harry Potter: The early issues. I have been reading them with my kids every night and the love it.

Young Adult readers

Harry Potter again, but the later books. They get darker and deal with issues teenagers and young adults deal with and it's a lot of fun.

Adult readers

Two biographies I read this year. Walt Disney by Neal Gabler and Schulz and Peanuts by David Michaelis. Interesting insights into two very interesting people.

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-Otis Frampton ( Creator of Oddly Normal series )

Elementary aged readers

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi

Middle school aged readers

The Scholastic Bone color reprints by Jeff Smith

Young Adult readers

The Spirit by Darwyn Cooke

Adult readers

The Looming Tower : Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright (not a comic, but everyone needs to read an actual book once and a while and this is a
great one)

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-Russell Lissau (Writer Batman Strikes comic series )

Elementary aged readers

THE SHY CREATURES, by David Mack. The famed comic-book writer/artist branched out into children's books with this marvelous, Seussian tale. My 5-year-old loves it.

Middle school aged readers

The AMELIA RULES series, by Jimmy Gownley. I was introduced to this by fellow Batman Strikes writer Josh Elder. It's a fun series that treats its young characters with respect.

Young Adult readers

THE UMBRELLA ACADEMY . My favorite new comic book series of the year, courtesy of Gabriel Ba and Gerard Way . The book was slagged a bit before its release by people who didn't expect Way to write, and I think every critic was proved wrong. It's an amazingly inventive, well-written and beautiful-looking comic.

Adult readers

CRIMINAL, VOLUME ONE, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. It's not just a great crime comic; it's a great Crime Story. Period.

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David Petersen (Artist / writer of Mouse Guard )

Elementary aged readers

It's a toss up between Owly, Bone, and Korgi

Middle school aged readers

I re-read the Mignola/Chaykin Fafhrd & Grey Mouser when Darkhorse re-released it

Young Adult readers

Rick Geary's the bloody Benders (from his victorian murder series)

Adult readers

I try and re-read Watchmen once a year or so, and with the movie coming out I figured it would be a good time. It's a great story with great characters that stands up to multiple readings.

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-Shannon Eric Denton
(Shameless self-promoter, Actionopolis publisher, and writer and co-writer [He works with Keith Giffen!!!!] on a lot of stuff )

Elementary aged readers

WORLD OF QUEST from Yen Press. Read it now before the show debuts in 2008.  Great stuff.  Top Shelf's OWLY is great too.  Oh, and ZAPT! from Tokyopop is supposed to be hilarious....least that's what we thought when we wrote it.

Middle school aged readers

I'm partial to the fabulous ACTIONOPOLIS books (OK, so we published those) but outside of our stuff I'd push the Jack Kirby omnibus stuff....FOURTH WORLD, DEVIL DINOSAUR, etc.  It just reestablishes how much of a genius Jack was. Beautiful books also.

Young Adult readers

RISE OF THE BLACK WOLF by JS Lewis & Derek Benz and HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS by James Owen.  Neither are comics but they'd make good ones if they were.

Adult readers

JONAH HEX.  That book is loads of fun.  Great writing. DESPERADOES, POWERS and CRIMINAL are always good.  Shadowline has a ton of great stuff they've been doing and part of why I'm having so much fun doing GRAVESLINGER, GUTWRENCHER, and THE REVENANT through them (plug plug). And while I'm shameslessly plugging my own stuff check out our COMMON FOE TPB from Desperado.  The trade hit the stands just in time for the holiday buying frenzy!  A personal favorite that was overlooked when it was printed was JEW GANGSTER by Joe Kubert.  That book is sheer awesomeness.  He is still one of the greatest contributors to the medium as far as I'm concerned.

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-Dwight MacPherson (Author of THE SURREAL ADVENTURES OF EDGAR ALLAN POO, Kid Houdini, Archibald Saves Christmas and more)

Elementary aged readers

Without a doubt, I'd have to say FRANKLIN RICHARDS: LAB BRAT Digest. I have read this wonderful digest to my youngest son ( Logan : 7 years-old) several times--and he STILL cackles all the way through it. In fact, I caught him reading it to my 9 year-old one night. It was pretty hilarious to watch. Chris Eliopoulos is a genius. Seriously. Anything this guy does is top-notch.

Middle school aged readers

I would have to go with David Petersen's brilliant MOUSE GUARD: FALL 1152 trade paperback. This is my 11 year-old's favorite book in the universe right now. He's reading the new mini-series and loving that, too. I really can't say enough good things about this timeless collection. The beauty is that it can be enjoyed by readers of any age.

Young Adult readers

If you would pardon my shameless self-promotion, I would say THE SURREAL ADVENTURES OF EDGAR ALLAN POO Volume 1. The response from parents has been overwhelming, to say the least. What's interesting to me is that despite the classification of this graphic novel as "All-ages," it seems that young adults are the ones who enjoy it the most. Several parents told me their young adults love the magic and
mythology--and one parent said "My son thinks this is the next Harry Potter." I mean... how cool is that?

Adult readers like yourself

Adults--like me? I don't believe think the world could handle another me. [laughs]

Wow... that's a tough one. I'm really enjoying JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA right now. Geoff Johns and Alex Ross have introduced Kingdom Come Superman into the mix and I can't wait to see where this storyline goes. I'd have to say that JSA is my most anticipated monthly book.



 

 


 

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