Thursday, July 7, 2011

Oyster Wars! Great online comic!

If you haven't found it yet, you need- no, you MUST check out Ben Towle's online comic Oyster Wars.
For anyone who has read any of Ben's other works like Midnight Sun or Amelia Earhardt: Across this Broad Ocean, or if you enjoyed the art and setting of Shannon & Bruce Hale's Rapunzel's Revenge or Aaron Renier's The Unsinkable Walker Bean then Oyster Wars is your kind of read.
The story takes place in the years following the Civil War in the Chesapeake Bay. Seafood is a booming industry, and for the folks of Blood's Haven, the prime commodity is oysters. By regulating how much a boat can harvest, there is an assurance of work for plenty, and a steady crop for the people to depend on. But all of that is put into jeopardy by oyster pirates- unscrupulous sailors who dredge everything from the bottom leaving nothing to grow or for honest sailors to harvest. At the top of the list is a pirate named Fink, but oysters may not be all that pirate is looking for.
Out to stop him, by special appointment of the governor and Blood's Haven's mayor is the Oyster Navy- a one-ship group of misfits and immigrants led by Commander Davidson Bulloch of the Confederate States Navy. He seems to be a learned, "just-the-facts-ma'am" type who has a knack for totally skewering well-known phrases, sayings and quotes.
The coloring is beautiful, the art has a nostalgic feel to it and the story moves with a pace that feels just right- not too fast and not too bogged down in details. Much like a journalist, Ben focuses on telling the story from beginning to end, filling in the who, what where, when, why, and how as things move along. He also makes it clear why stopping the oyster pirates is so important that people would risk their very lives. Another thing I really have liked about Ben's work is that it is appropriate for an all-ages audience, yet the characters can still be very mature, the gravity of their situations is still there.
Give this online comic a read, tell others about it, leave comments to the author- because this North Carolina talent has made another story worthy of being read by a broad audience.

Friday, July 1, 2011

New Kid Books from Top Shelf!

Top Self comics has announced release dates for two new additions to their kids line-up! First up is the much anticipated third volume to Korgi!

A Hollow Beginning picks up from book two where Ivy and Korgi have discovered a mysterious piece of glass. Apparently, the shard has something to do with how their magical home came to be! Korgi, by Christian Slade, is full of intricate black and white line drawings that have the appearance of being "scribbled" into form but have so much going on in the foregrounds and backgrounds they create a visual delight of discovery for old and young alike! The wordless format makes the book accessible to all reading levels as well. (Soft cover, 96 pages, $9.95)

Next is Dragon Puncher Island by James Kochalka. This is a continuation of the first Dragon Puncher book. Kochalka's first Dragon Puncher and his Johhny Boo both incorporate silly situations and silly dialogue to make stories kids really enjoy. (Hardcover, 40 pages, $9.95)

Both books are available to order from Diamond through your local comics shop or online book retailer and will ship in September!