Saturday, October 10, 2015

Fable Comcs Blog Tour - 5 Questions with Ulises Farinas

Various authors. Fable Comics. Macmillan (First Second Books). 2015. 128 pg. 978-1626721074. $19.99
From the publisher:
From classics like “The Tortoise and the Hare” and “The Grasshopper and the Ants” to obscure gems like “The Frogs Who Desired a King,” Fable Comics has something to offer every reader. Twenty-eight fables from different cultures and traditions are wonderfully adapted and illustrated in comics format by twenty-six different cartoonists. Edited by New York Times bestselling Fairy Tale Comics’ Chris Duffy, this jacketed hardcover is a beautiful gift and an instant classic.
What a great way to study fables in the classroom. These interpretatins are not only graphic but may provide a twist teachrs and students hadn't expected! Read on as Ulises Farinas answers 5 Questions on The Great Weasel War - his interpretation of The Mice and the Weasel.

1. When researching The Mice and The Weasel - I came across several versions. Which did you use and how did you choose it?
We didn't stick to any single version, we tried to distill the moral into a fun new concept, while still maintaining the essence of the original fable. 

2. Greatness carries its own penalties is one moral of this fable. Agree or disagree? How did you translate this to your version?
When the moral is placed within the context of war, its warning is much more against foolhardy endeavors than greatness in itself. Recognizing your own limitations and preparing properly is something too many people fail to do when confronting their obstacles. When they are defeated, only then it is obvious which mistakes they've maken.

3. Am I detecting a sense of the absurd/humor in your version?
Of course, War is absurd, it is a hysteria that overwhelms people and rids them of their common sense. The original fable had them wearing ornate head-dresses, on mice. I think the absurdity is intended in the original fable as well.

4. I see you are working with Freitas on this story and also on a recently released Godzilla title. How do you two know each other and what’s your working process?
Erick Freitas and I work together on all our titles that we write. Usually we go over an idea together on the phone, afterwards he or I write an outline of what should happen, and Erick writes a script based on that. Then we go back and forth finessing it til it's where we want it.

We've known each other since we were 11 years old. 

5. So, what’s next for you?

Erick and I are currently writing Judge Dredd for IDW, and our anthology series Amazing Forest is being published by IDW as well. 

You will find many of your favorite authors and illustrators in Fable Comics:
Fable Comics is:
James Kochalka and ‘The Fox and the Grapes’
Tom Gauld and ‘The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse’
George O’Connor and the ‘Hermes’ fables
Sophie Goldstein and ‘Leopard Drums Up Dinner’
Charise Harper and ‘The Belly and the Body Members’
R. Sikoryak and ‘Lion + Mouse’
Jennifer L. Meyer and ‘Fox and Crow’
Eleanor Davis and ‘The Old Man and Death’
Jaime Hernandez and ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf’
Simone Lia and ‘The Crow and the Pitcher’
Graham Chaffee and ‘The Dog and His Reflection’
Maris Wicks and ‘The Dolphins, The Whales, and The Sprat’
Vera Brosgol and ‘The Hare and the Pig’
Kenny Widjaja and ‘The Demon, The Thief, and the Hermit’
Corinne Mucha and ‘The Elephant in Favor’
Liniers and ‘The Mouse Council’
Mark Newgarten and ‘Man and Wart’
Israel Sanchez and ‘The Milkmaid and Her Pail’
Ulises Farinas and ‘The Great Weasel War’
R.O. Blechman and ‘The Sun and the Wind’
Graham Annable and ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’
John Kerschbaum and ‘The Grasshopper and the Ants’
Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline and ‘The Thief and the Watchdog’
Gregory Benton and ‘The Hen and the Mountain Turtle’
Roger Langridge and ‘Demades and His Fable’

SLJ Good Comics for Kids features Fable Comics editor Chris Duffy, 9/21
Charlotte’s Library features James Kochalka and ‘The Fox and the Grapes,’ 9/22
Musings of a Librarian features Tom Gauld and ‘The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse,’ 9/23
Sharp Reads features George O’Connor and the ‘Hermes’ fables, 9/24
Fly to Fiction features Sophie Goldstein an ‘Leopard Drums Up Dinner,’ 9/25
Supernatural Snark features Charise Harper and ‘The Belly and the Body Members,’ 9/26
It’s All Comic to Me features R. Sikoryak and ‘Lion + Mouse,’ 9/27
Ex Libris Kate features Jennifer L. Meyer and ‘Fox and Crow,’ 9/28
The Roarbots features Eleanor Davis and ‘The Old Man and Death,’ 9/29
Fleen features Jaime Hernandez and ‘The Boy Who Cried Wolf,’ 9/30
The Book Monsters features Simone Lia and ‘The Crow and the Pitcher,’ 10/1
The Brain Lair features Graham Chaffee and ‘The Dog and His Reflection,’ 10/2
Librarian in Cute Shoes features Maris Wicks and ‘The Dolphins, The Whales, and The Sprat,’ 10/3
Women Write About Comics features Vera Brosgol and ‘The Hare and the Pig,’ 10/4
The Busy Librarian features Kenny Widjaja and ‘The Demon, The Thief, and the Hermit,’ 10/5
The Book Rat features Corinne Mucha and ‘The Elephant in Favor,’ 10/6
Read. Watch. Connect features Liniers and ‘The Mouse Council,’ 10/7
Cherry Blossoms and Maple Syrup features Mark Newgarten and ‘Man and Wart,’ 10/8
Jenuine Cupcakes features Israel Sanchez and ‘The Milkmaid and Her Pail,’ 10/9
Bumbles & Fairy Tales features Ulises Farinas and ‘The Great Weasel War,’ 10/10
Graphic Policy features R.O. Blechman and ‘The Sun and the Wind,’ 10/11
The Book Wars features Graham Annable and ‘The Hare and the Tortoise,’ 10/12
Sturdy for Common Things features John Kerschbaum and ‘The Grasshopper and the Ants,’ 10/13
Kid Lit Frenzy features Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline and ‘The Thief and the Watchdog,’ 10/14
Maria’s Melange features Gregory Benton and ‘The Hen and the Mountain Turtle,’ 10/15
Read Write Reflect features Roger Langridge and ‘Demades and His Fable,’ 10/16

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Batty About Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older - Part 1

Batty About Books 
by Daniel Jose Older

Join us as we read and discuss Shadowshaper. My (@thebrainlair) comments are in blue and Maria's (@mariaselke, Maria's Melange) are in purple.

Cover Appeal
Today - pgs. 1 - 140
Saturday, August 8th - pgs. 141 - end.

First Half Discussion - I decided to look mostly at the characters in this first half. These are the things that stuck out for me as I was reading.

Sierra Santiago
Love Older’s description of his main character - her wild fro, combat boots, and sense of style. Sierra’s style extends to her murals, which I wish I could see. I can picture the huge, shiny dragon climbing the side of the Tower. Sierra alternates between knowing who she is and questioning how others see her.

“Sierra felt an invisible thread of possibility hanging between them...” 67

I identify strongly with Sierra. Even though we are culturally different. Even though her artistic skills are something I will never have. There’s something about her struggle to become herself that rings true to my own memories of adolescence.

What to think? On the one hand, he appears to be new to the scene, “..who had shown up midyear” (9) and introduced himself to Sierra at the party but later her brother, who’s always traveling,  says he always thought Robbie was weird and Robbie himself mentions working with Papa Acevedo since he was twelve. He knows about the Shadowshapers but disappears twice when Sierra needs him. Is that significant or a red herring?

Yes! I want to like Robbie. I want to cheer for him. I do like the mystery of his true motivations, though. I want to know what the resolution for this character will be. I missed the bit about him showing up mid-year, myself. That makes it even stranger that he’s claiming to have worked with Papa for so long… hmmm…

Abuelo Lazaro and Professor Wick
Hmm are they friends or enemies? Wick’s notes states he loves the power of the culture behind the shadowshapers but he also seems to want to help by getting Lucera to return. Something profound has happened to Lazaro and his moments of lucidity hold powerful clues. I expected Sierra to pay more attention to him. I have my doubts about Wick’s power because that seems too easy but I will wait to discuss them after the second half so I don’t spoil much. What really happened between Lazaro and Lucera? How does one have a disagreement with a spirit?

The bits with Wick toward the end of this section were the exact spot when my interest in the overall storyline became to intensify. I liked the characters from the start - but trying to figure out what’s going on with Wick and the creepy shadows makes me want to dive back into the book and find out what happens next.

I’m also getting more suspicious about Abuelo’s health problems. I’m wondering now if it wasn’t entirely natural..

Other characters
I want to know about Sierra’s godfather, Neville. He seemed like a cool guy who knows what’s going on. He also helped her get into Columbia’s library. What does her mother know and why doesn’t she want to speak of it? Was Lazaro hesitant to pass his gift to her because she was female? Is that why she pretends not to know anything? What role will Manny play as the story moves forward? He knows something. What families were torn apart? (75)

where lonely women go to dance
come to the crossroads, to the crossroads come
where the powers converge and become one
I’m just going to leave that right there for now.

Yes! The fact that the rest of the family clearly has information that they aren’t sharing with Sierra is intriguing. What, exactly, are they hiding? I will admit to being a bit angry with the family once I realized that BOTH of her brothers had information and NO ONE told Sierra anything. I was also quite amused with Neville’s antics in getting her into the library. I liked how he was willing to play off of the assumptions people make of him. People want to assume he’s a danger? Fine… he’ll use that. But just how dangerous is he really?

The magic is interesting. Throughout this first half, Robbie and Sierra seem to attract random shadows but Robbie mentioned using specific ones for murals. I wonder how he called them? The name Sorrows doesn’t seem Golden to me.

Agreed! That difference in terminology (Golden vs. Sorrows) is so odd. What, exactly, is going on here? Is Wick combining the spirits from different cultures? It sounded like his “Sorrows” were from a research trip that was earlier than the one he did in this city.


When I first read this part, I was confused and I felt the story was jumbled but going back to re-read, I was able to pick up so much more. I was able to get more into the story and can’t wait to read the second half as I have many questions about Shadowshaping and Robbie and how it all fits together.

Come over to our Batty About Books Facebook page and tell us what you thought of the first half of Shadowshaper. What stood out for you?

Maria has a fascinating look at the book through the windows and mirrors frame of diversity. Please stop by Maria's Melange and read her thoughts.

Affiliate Link: Shadowshaper (Amazon)

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Batty About Shadowshaper by Daniel Jose Older - Cover Appeal

Batty About Books 
by Daniel Jose Older

Join us as we read and discuss Shadowshaper over the next two weeks.

Today, July 25th - Cover Appeal
Saturday, August 1st - pgs. 1 - 140
Saturday, August 8th - pgs. 141 - end.

Be sure to check out our Batty About Books facebook page or tweet with the hashtags #BattyAboutBooks and #Shadowshaper as you talk about the book.

Cover Appeal -  I did a quick inventory with my 19-year-old daughter, Jessica, about the cover and here are her thoughts:

  • I love it.
  • It's eye-catching,
  • Her hair looks like mine.
  • The colors draw you in and make you want to know what they mean.
  • She looks scared - her eyes are very expressive.
  • She looks like she is staring something or someone down.
  • I like her skin color - is she mixed race? (my daughter is, btw)
Like Jessica, I was drawn to this cover. I like how the city is superimposed on the main character and that she is a beautiful young lady who looks powerful but afraid. Not so much that she's afraid of someone but of her own strength instead. 

What kind of battle did she start? Does she do graffiti? I can't wait to learn more!

Check out Maria's thoughts on Maria's Melange!
We are also on Twitter - Maria (@mariaselke) and Kathy (@thebrainlair)

Happy Reading!

Affiliate Link: Shadowshaper (Amazon)

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Movie Magic by Julie Mata - Guest Post and Giveaway - May 2015

Mata, Julie. Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man. Disney-Hyperion, 2015. 288p. $16.99. 9781423194606.

from Goodreads:
After her huge success with her first feature-length movie, seventh-grader Kate Walden is eager to start on her next film, a sci-fi romance called Bride of Slug Man. When a new kid comes to town from New York City, Kate thinks she might have a new found film buddy-someone to share her interest with. And it doesn't hurt that he's pretty cute. But it turns out that Tristan is making his own movie, and now the classmates Kate thought were eager to join her cast and crew are divided.

With rumors spreading in school and between sets, Kate finds herself juggling more than just call times and rewrites. And judging from the whispers Kate hears about Tristan Kingsley,she suspects that he isn't interested in having a fellow film-buff friend; he just wants to prove himself as the best filmmaker in school by winning the Big Picture Film Festival. Kate vows to enter too, and tries to focus on just making the best movie she can.

But between the cutthroat popularity contest, a bully situation that goes from bad to worse, and several on-set mishaps, Kate is going to need all the movie magic she can get to make sure Bride of Slug Man hits the big-screen

Read on to find out what Julie Mata has learned about director's tips and how she incorporated those into the Kate Walden series.

Movie Magic 


Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man

By Julie Mata

In the movie Super 8, there’s a moment when a band of kids is shooting a movie scene at a train depot late at night. Suddenly, a real train hurtles out of the darkness toward them. The director, a kid named Charles, shouts “Production Value!” and feverishly tries to film while the train is passing by. This scene makes me laugh because it’s so true. Directors will do almost anything to add extra sizzle—also known as production value—to their movies.

In Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man, twelve-year-old Kate is dying to make a science fiction movie but her best friend longs to star in a romance. In Kate’s mind, flying saucers and aliens add sizzle. Romance does not. Throughout the story, she bounces between wanting to keep her friends happy and trying to make the epic sci-fi flick of her dreams.

One of the great parts of writing about a character who makes movies is that I get to research all kinds of fun filmmaking facts. To get ideas for a flying saucer, I laughed through the epically bungling movie Plan Nine from Outer Space, which won director Ed Wood the dubious title of Worst Ever Movie Director. Ed didn’t have a budget for fancy special effects so he tied fishing line to a toy UFO and dangled it in front of the camera. In an homage to Wood, and because it’s exactly what a twelve-year-old would do (sorry, Ed), Kate gets her UFO shots the same way.

Kate even uses a technique called forced perspective to make her flying saucer look life size. It’s all about putting small objects close to the camera lens to make them look huge, and placing people far off in the distance to make them look small. Kate feels pretty pro when she learns that Steven Spielberg used the same technique in Close Encounters of the Third Kind to make a model ship tanker look real. (And I felt pretty pro writing about it.)

Of course, some of the lessons Kate learns can’t be found in a moviemaking how-to manual. She learns the hard way that you don’t have to be a big-time Hollywood director to end up with a big-time Hollywood ego. She also struggles with bullies, friendship dramas, and wardrobe malfunctions while trying to finish her movie.

Writing about Kate has allowed me to combine two of my passions—moviemaking and writing. I’m no Spielberg but I did write and direct a short film once called Bus Driver. You can check it out on YouTube but be warned, it doesn’t have cool flying saucers or alien creatures from Mars. I guess I was out-sizzled by my own MC.

About the Author

Julie Mata grew up outside Chicago and currently lives in Wisconsin, where she owns a video production business with her husband.. She loves movies and once wrote and directed her own short film. She also loves traveling, gardening, and reading a really good book. Her first book was Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens. For more information, including a downloadable curriculum guide and a filmmaking tip of the month, visit her website:

Find Julie on Twitter: @juliehmata

Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man - Book Trailer

Find more Kate Walden videos on her YouTube Channel! 

You can receive a copy of BOTH Kate Walden Directs: Night of the Zombie Chickens and Kate Walden Directs: Bride of Slug Man! US Only. One entry per person/email. Ends 6/4/15 11:59 pm.

Stops on the Blog Tour

Monday, May 18
Wed. May 20
Once Upon a Story
Thurs, May 21
Read Now, Sleep Later
Fri, May 22
Curling Up with a Good Book
Tues, May 26
The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia
Wed, May 27
BookHounds YA
Thurs, May 28
The Brain Lair
Fri, May 29
Kid Lit Frenzy

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Top Ten Graphic Novels - #FreeComicBookDay

Woot! Today is Free Comic Book Day! Use's store locator to find a store near you!

If you are looking for some graphic novels to buy, here are the Top Ten Graphic Novels checked out by The Stanley Clark School students (summaries from Goodreads):

Bake Sale by Sara Varon
Cupcake’s life is pretty good. He’s got his bakery, and his band, and his best friend, Eggplant. His days are full of cooking, socializing, and playing music. But lately, Cupcake has been struggling in the kitchen. He’s sure the solution to all his problems is out there somewhere. But maybe that solution is hiding closer to home.

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel
When cardboard creatures come magically to life, a boy must save his town from disaster.

Smile by Raina Telgemeier
From the artist of BSC Graphix comes this humorous coming-of-age true story about the dental drama that ensues after a trip-and-fall mishap.

The Amulet Series by Kazu Kibiushi
Graphic novel star Kazu Kibuishi creates a world of terrible, man-eating demons, a mechanical rabbit, a giant robot---and two ordinary children on a life-or-death mission. 

The Bone Series by Jeff Smith
After being run out of Boneville, the three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone, are separated and lost in a vast uncharted desert.

El Deafo by CeCe Bell
2015 Newbery Honor. Starting at a new school is scary, even more so with a giant hearing aid strapped to your chest! At her old school, everyone in Cece's class was deaf. Here she is different. She is sure the kids are staring at the Phonic Ear, the powerful aid that will help her hear her teacher. Too bad it also seems certain to repel potential friends. 

Bad Island by Doug TenNapel
Something on this island is up to no good . . .

Dumbest Idea Ever by Jimmy Gownley
Jimmy Gownley's graphic novel memoir about the "dumb" idea that changed his life forever!

Naruto series by Masashi Kishimoto
Naruto is a ninja-in-training with a need for attention, a knack for mischief and, sealed within him, a strange, formidable power. (technically manga but they love it.)

Trickster: Native American Tales edited by Matt Dembicki
Meet the Trickster, a crafty creature or being who disrupts the order of things, often humiliating others and sometimes himself in the process. Whether a coyote or rabbit, raccoon or raven, Tricksters use cunning to get food, steal precious possessions, or simply cause mischief.

Today is also Independent Bookstore day! So find your local independent bookseller here and go shopping!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Take 5 for Kids Comics Joey Weiser - Blog Tour

Celebrate kids comics with Q&As with fantastic children’s cartoonists for Children’s Book Week! Join us as great authors talk about their own creative work and the graphic novel industry throughout April and May. Comics for kids are reaching a time of unprecedented acceptance in the American literary scene, and it’s now true that there are comics for everyone. All interviews are conducted by Jorge Aguirre and Rafael Rosado (Dragons Beware!).

RAFAEL/JORGE:  Hi, Joey, thanks for
answering our questions. We're both fans of Mermin the Merman from Mer, which incidentally, is a fun thing to say. Mermin the Merman from Mer.  Mermin the Merman from Mer.  Okay, and now for the questions...

QUESTION: We like this quote of yours from an FCBD Interview, "Each book I do is a reaction to the one before it. They use things I’ve learned from the previous experience, building on positives and negatives that I see when analyzing the book I just completed." What did you learn from "The Ride Home" that informed the Mermin series? And what are you learning from Mermin, that's informing your next work?

Joey Weiser: The Ride Home was pretty straight-forward, following a single character from point A to B to C.  With my next book, Cavemen in Space, I played around with having a big cast of characters and watching their storylines intersect.  Mermin is a little of both:  There is one central character, but the supporting characters have large roles, especially as the series progresses. 

The biggest difference in Mermin might be that it’s a series.  I’m enjoying being able to spend a lot of time developing the characters over multiple volumes, and learning a lot from that experience, but I’m also looking forward to returning to a single-volume graphic novel after I come to a stopping point with Mermin.  I think I’ll try to put as much character development, action, and fun into my next book as I can!

QUESTION (FROM JORGE):  You went to Savannah College of Art & Design.  My nephew is going to start going there this Fall.  What advice do you have for young artists going to art school?  What should they be focus on while at school so they can make a living working in the arts once they graduate?

Joey Weiser: I think that a lot of people know that both your professors and your fellow students are great resources to learn from and grow while in college.  However, I think it should be stressed that it’s up to YOU to push yourself as hard as you can, make the decisions to take the hard classes that may seem like a pain but will ultimately help you the most, and do the absolute best on your work that you can.

QUESTION: What comic would you recommend to a kid starting to read graphic novels today?

Joey Weiser: The first book that comes to mind is Jeff Smith’s Bone.  It’s absolutely one of my favorite comics of all time, great for kids, and made me the cartoonist I am today.

QUESTION: What are you working on now?

Joey Weiser: I am finishing up my next Mermin graphic novel, Mermin Book 4: Into Atlantis.  After the events of the last book, we get to explore Atlantis, the other undersea kingdom besides Mer!  Look for it this Fall!

Besides that I do fairly regular work for SpongeBob Comics, and other things here and there.  I’m also in the middle of a giant sketch project, Daily Dragon Ball, where I am drawing just about every character from Akira Toriyama’s Dragon Ball in order of appearance.  You can follow that at

QUESTION:  What's on your nightstand?

Joey Weiser: I’ve just begun reading Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters, a biography/photo book of the man behind the special effects for classic Japanese monster movies and television like Godzilla and Ultraman.  I love that stuff!

Wait - there's more! Check out this schedule!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Saturday Stories kit by Lien