Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Happy Hour Podcast with Johnny & Duce Interview

Hey! So, I spent Free Comic Book Day with my friend Brian Wenzloff and his family while they were raising money for an MDA Muscle Walk while at Emerald City Comics in Clearwater, FL. It was a phenomenal time watching people get excited about comic books—something near and dear to my heart, too. Brian, his wife Nicole, and his sons, Brighton, Shane, and little Oliver (yes, named for Oliver Queen) were there, and I enjoyed so much helping them be a part of this experience. I hope they were able to raise some money for such a worthy cause.

Brian at one point in the day introduced me to Johnny and Duce with their Happy Hour Podcast, and they asked me to sit with them, in the middle of the store, and be interviewed. Well, how could I say no! Check out the interview below. It starts at 41:00 and lasts about 20 minutes. And check them out on Facebook at Happy Hour Podcast with Johnny and Duce, as well as on Soundcloud.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Me love Superman vs. Bizarro!

Just finished Superman vs. Bizarro, written by John Sazaklis with art by Luciano Vecchio. Man, do I love Vecchio’s art. Opening the cover reveals the endpapers splashed with DC villains on one side (the left side—how appropriate) and the heroes on the right side. The first few pages give a brief bio of both main characters, facing each other, and that creates an interesting visual already. This five chapter book tells the story of two kids, Marc and Anna, and their trip to Metropolis. They encounter Bizarro and, ultimately, Metallo, before finally meeting Superman. This is an action-packed and riveting story about heroism with some underlying messages about safety and support. Even though Metallo does play more of a villainous role when you would think Bizarro would (from the title), the story comes back around to Bizarro at the end. In my opinion, Superman and Bizarro needed a common enemy for this story to work.

As a teacher, I especially enjoyed the higher level vocabulary used as well as the glossaries in the back: one for Superman, and one more Bizarro. You can also find some thought-provoking questions geared to make an active reader think about the story and how it relates to him or her. Easily a favorite children’s book, and I’m certain adults would enjoy it as well (I know I did). Whether or not you’re a comic book fan, you’ll want this book in your collection. Sazaklis knocks it out of the park with this one.
You can buy it here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sazaklis and Vecchio empower Wonder Woman!

Just got my copy of Wonder Woman: An Origin Story written by John Sazaklis and illustrated by Luciano Vecchio. First, the cover is striking, with a beautiful rendition of Diana smiling—always love seeing her smile! The back cover highlights her powers (and no sword, which is always a plus for me). One of the first things I noticed was a glossary of words; as I am an English teacher, I think this is a huge asset to any children’s book. That certainly puts this book in a positive light right off. I absolutely love that Diana is “confident…determined…and has a heart of gold” in her first scene. Now, that is the way to begin a story about the Amazing Amazon. Seeing the gods involved in her birth was another plus, although my preference would have been to leave Zeus out of it (although he is currently her father in her own comic). But! That doesn’t hamper my enjoyment of a beautiful splash page of Hippolyta holding the newborn Diana. Diana is adventurous, and this quality begins her position as a role model. Her wanting to go out into the outside world to help warmed my heart, and I love that she wants to be a hero. When she says, “Show compassion to one another,” I got teary-eyed. That’s the Diana I love.

Overall, I found this book quite heartwarming and endearing. Diana’s strength and capability shines—Sazaklis and Vecchio have done the Amazon princess proud. The discussion questions in the back of the book make me happy. Picture books are great ways for young readers to learn about stories, but this book has vocabulary and questions to challenge the mind, something Diana would want in those who read about her. I look forward to reading other works by Sazaklis and Vecchio.

Buy it at Amazon.
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