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The Sleepy Truth: A Play By Play Advanced Review
Article by Scott Tingley, October 08, 2007

Forward: From what I can tell by the cover of this book….oh yeah. I'm about to review The Sleepy Truth, from Viper Comics, but I haven't read it yet. I'm going to give you the play by play as it happens on this one. There will be a lot of spoilers , but I assume that you are looking for something for your kids, so you want to know what to expect before you lay down your cash. Anyway, from what I can tell by the cover of this book, this is a “weird stuff is happening in our town and me and my friends are going to do something about it” kind of book. Great. I love those.

Page two update: Okay, this actually made me laugh. I laughed out loud. It didn't just make me smile. It made me laugh. I'm two pages in and I actually laughed out loud.

Mid point update: Wow. That was a powerful and unexpected moment. Here I was reading a slightly silly story -funny in a mildly inappropriate way that kids will love and parents will think is almost too much, but not quite; and then on the 27 th page the whole thing takes a turn and we realize how much pain the two main characters, a pair of 15 yr old twins, are truly in. I didn't see that coming.

2/3rds update: I'm reading the Goonies ! I haven't watched it in 21 years, but The Sleepy Truth sure has a Goonies vibe to it. A wacky band of kids in over their heads against bad guys up to no good. Just switch pirates for aliens and you've got it. Well, not exactly. There's no treasure in this one either….unless you count THE TRUTH as a treasure (that's really funny in my head because in there it's Stephen Colbert saying it). I remember almost nothing about Goonies, but this is Goonies.

Nine pages left update: Remember Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark ? I can't say any more. There are spoilers and then there is just telling you everything. Just let me say that this further cements my Goonies theory about this. I Googled it, and apparently Goonies has been called Indiana Jones for kids. See where I am going with this?

Final update: That was weird – bad guy just got his head chopped off by a ghost.

I think this would be fine for about a ten year old and up. If you don't have a problem with the cartoony decapitation and the alien blood – then you won't have a problem with this book. Some of the humor can be a bit crude (one character dares another to “take a dump” on someone's lawn - it doesn't happen), but there is no swearing and through all the teasing the characters obviously care for each other. To put it another way, if your child watches Simpsons, then this will be pretty tame. If you think you could get away with showing a Simpsons Halloween Special at your school for some reason then your library should be able to get away with having it on the shelves. Please check it out first though.

The art is great. I am not familiar with Erik Valdez' work, but I like it. It is a very different style and it fits Jason M. Burns' story perfectly. It is oddly cartoony – no mouths, no nostrils, beady eyes, very cute.

No sex, no swearing, bit of violence - confined to the climax of the book, funny, caring, and actually touching in a couple places. I like it and I can't wait for vol 2.

This book is my pleasant surprise of the week. I have only read an electronic copy so far, but the publisher, Viper, always puts together a nice package. This will be in full color digest and will be available in late October 2008. If the Viper books I have read are any indication, at 9.95 I think this thing is good value for the money.

The Sleepy Truth , Volume 1: (Graphic Novel)
isbn13: 978-0-9793680-5-9
isbn10: 0-9793680-5-7
Retail: $9.95
96pages/ full color
Written by Jason M. Burns
Illustrated by Erik Valdez

Just because I never get a chance to talk about them any other time, I thought I would mention a couple other books from Viper that you, as grown-ups, might want to check out.

You'll Have That is a simple and sweet series of comic strips collected in two volumes. It follows the day to day life of a young, recently married couple. It has been ten years since I could be considered young, or recently married, but I found the strips to be heartwarming and genuinely funny. You'll Have That would be suitable for most readers (certainly middle school and up), but the humor would be lost on a lot of younger readers. You can read the strip HERE.

Middleman was my best find of 2006. I was so surprised by how familiar the concept was and how original the execution was. It is sort of a Men in Black story, but imagine if it was better (and I really liked MIB). Middleman is a lone operative hired to take care of special things and he takes on a partner/apprentice. One of the most clever, and unfortunately original things about the dynamic is their relationship. Middleman is consistently given the opportunity to act like the big shot know it all, but every time he gives a clever and respectful response. It comes across great. I cannot recommend vol. 1 higher. It is like a pg 13 movie. Edgy, lots of violent action, some sexual references, but appropriate for most high school teen readers.

Remember, I am recommending these for grown-ups, but you may find that they will also be appropriate for your teens.


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