I really believe in the saying “to each his own” and although I don’t get some people’s proclivities I try my best to understand and that’s just me.
My friend/colleague, M, told me that he was planning to attend FanExpo today and some of the events this weekend which coincidentally are happening right across the street from where I (we) work. I had been hearing about this Expo for some time from him and another work colleague and as usual was intrigued by the near-fanaticism that these genres of comic books, horror movies, anime, sci-fi and gaming create. If there was any doubt about interest I only had to look outside at the long line snaking around Front Street and down Simcoe to assure myself that yep, people really do love this stuff.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think some of it is great fun and interesting and who doesn’t want to meet their favourite celebrities but I just don’t get some of the ways some conference goers participate. For example, why do they need to dress up AS their favourite character? What’s that about?
(Side note: I saw a hulky grown man dressed as some sort of Sailor Moon/Anime character with white knee socks flattening his ample leg hair as he teetered on platform heels. I don’t know which was more disturbing the fact that he has stubble, lipstick and pigtails or the fact that he was able to secure a costume in his size!)
Mostly, I am just fascinated by it all and I told my friend that had I known he was planning to attend the Expo by himself (his wife was not particularly interested in going) I would’ve joined him in a heartbeat! I have never been to one and would’ve liked to see what all the hub-bub was about. M wasn’t all that sure I would find it as illuminating as I did (although he did mention the last such conference he attended had karoke-ing Kling Ons –I mean how could I NOT enjoy that?). Ah well, it wasn’t to be.
It did get me thinking about broadening my horizons WoMB-wise. I usually don’t review the graphic novels or comic books not because I don’t see them as entertaining (I do and visually appealing) I guess like most they are not always top-of-mind when I consider children’s books.
This is something I hope to change because these books are a great tool to get the more reluctant readers reading, to encourage storytelling through the visual arts and just to spice things up! I used to adore Archie (why couldn’t Archie just make up his mind instead of leading both Betty and Veronica on?!) and Tintin comics (which is how I managed to retain the French I learned in school) when I was a little girl and I was a veracious reader, imagine what the right format could do for a kid that thinks reading is boring or stodgy or even *aghast* just for geeks!
In fact, so this genre has become so mainstream it is no longer for just for the subversive fans, there is even a first International Read Comics in Public Day
happening tomorrow August 28 to encourage readers to come out of the comics’ closet and proudly display their love for this vibrant art form.
So to do my part, I will review only graphic novels and comics this weekend, beginning with Binky to The Rescue by Ashley Spires (ISBN: 9781554535026, Kids Can Press, 2010) and what a way to start! Binky is the best! Finally someone delves into the likely surreal and imaginative world of the housecat and brings it to us!
(Cover image Copyright@2010 Ashley Spires)
I mean, wouldn’t you go a little batty if you were meant to be outside hunting but instead lived a cushy and pampered life where you were loved, fed and petted at your heart’s content? I would, how you could not (two words for you- Olsen twins-need I say more?)
Binky thinks he’s a space cat (and really who am I to judge) and is hot pursuit of an alien (or bug to us) when he accidentally falls outside (or outer space as he calls it) and has to fend for himself. Luckily, he’s crafty that Binky and soon begins to navigate this foreign space.
Soon Binky finds himself in a swarm of trouble and breathes a sigh of relief when his human comes to save him. Only problem is that his purple mousie, Ted, is still behind enemy lines and Binky refuses to leave him to the aliens (no space cat worth his weight in kitty litter would leave a friend behind!) and hatches a plan to rescue his forever friend.
This is a charming, sweet and at times flatulent tale with clever drawings and witty text! It’s a keeper, just like Ted.
I love how imaginative and funny it is and the sound effects are hilarious and really add to the story. This really is a great choice for any reader aged 7 and up. A perfect introduction to graphic fiction (even for me!)
The lovely Spires is amazingly talented! She really captures Binky’s facial expressions and I love his somewhat anime look. She must have an imagination just like her feline character. In fact, when she was studying at Emily Carr Institute for Art and Design, her major was photography when she realized the ideas in her head were more fun than just capturing what was out there.
Spires has created another Binky book: Binky the Space Cat (Kids Can Press, 2009) and is the author illustrator on two previous books while illustrating another four and I hope Binky is around to stay!
Her bio noted that she is fond of making people laugh and let me assure you, she’s really good at it. She’s also an animal lover and currently has two cats and one dog but has her sights on adding to her brood (when her boyfriend is not looking –how many shoes have I brought into our house in exactly the same way?!)
Although she is originally from BC, my girl Spires is currently resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (where believe it or not this humble blogger was born!) Apparently, she was eager for a “true Canadian experience” which I think means she wanted a freakin’ cold one!
You can see more of her beautiful work on Spire’s website, definitely worth visiting. Her watercolour drawings are fabulous!
Since this book is brand-spankin’ new I will give the Sailor Moon Dude a pass, had he seen it I might have been blogging about a really cute yet bearded Binky…dang… well there is always next year!
Don’t forget to proudly display your comics and get out there reading!