YA Graphic Novel Preview: Forever Home by Jenna Ayoub

Forever Home

Creator: Jenna Ayoub (writer/artist)
Publisher: BOOM! Studios via their YA Kaboom! imprint Release Date: February 17, 2021
Format: Graphic novel, smaller-sized for younger readers

An all-new story about finding your place and learning to love where you are..

Willow has had a nomadic childhood—with two parents in the military, staying put has become a pipe dream. And when the family arrives at their latest stop— the historic Hadleigh House— Willow encounters something that doesn’t help her chances of finding home…ghosts!

Hadleigh House’s spectral residents have been scaring off would-be homebuyers for decades, and they intend to keep the house to themselves. But Willow’s not about to let some nagging spirits force her to move for the millionth time. As Willow spends time in the house and gains the ghosts’ respect through her own strong will to stay in the house no matter what, they find that all of them belong there. Together, the restless spirits are finally able to find some peace, and Willow finds a home. Then it’s just a matter of convincing Willow’s parents that this old house is the one for them- ghosts included.

Forever Home is a fresh graphic novel for middle grade and younger readers by cartoonist Jenna Ayoub (Adventure Time), from Boom! Studios through its Kaboom! young readers imprint.

Check your local and online comic book stores for availability and order options. Digital version is available at the BOOM! Studios webstore or purchased from content providers, including ComiXology, iBooks, Google Play, and Madefire.

Huge thanks to BOOM @ Studios for the following preview. For more on this release and more, visit www.boom-studios.com.

YALSA reveals its best of graphic novels, comics vols for 2021

The Young Adult Library Association (YALSA) of the ALA (American Library Association) recently revealed its own list of “Great Graphic Novels for Teens,” for the 2021 year ahead.

This list was comprised by a committee of librarians from across the U.S. and one from the American Library in Paris. This selection of 126 titles narrowed down from 145 nominations. Each book is considered suitable for readers aged 12 to 18, and selected to “meet the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.” That list can be viewed on their website at www.ala.org/yalsa/2021-great-graphic-novels-teens.

Also for YALSA, a team of librarian bloggers handpicked a top Ten list of graphic novel reads for young adults. That list is as follows…

Almost American Girl by Robin Ha. Balzer and Bray (HarperCollins) – Ha discusses the challenges of moving to America from her childhood home in South Korea, providing an honest and thoughtful perspective on being an outsider, finding your community, and how it feels to return to a home you’ve left behind.

Blue Flag (volume 1-5) manga by Kaito (Viz Media) – An unexpected love quadrangle forms when Taichi agrees to help Futaba pursue her crush, Toma, while friend Mami looks on. But Toma has feelings for someone else, and as friendships and romantic relationships develop, nothing is as clear cut as it seems.

Fights: One Boy’s Triumph Over Violence by Joel Christian Gill (Oni Press) – Joel Christian Gill narrates what it was like for him to grow up in a single-parent household in the 1980s, from childhood to young adulthood—Black, broke, and surrounded by uncertainty.

Go With the Flow by Karen Schneemann, art by Lily Williams (First Second / Macmillan) – Fed up with the empty tampon and pad dispensers at Hazelton High School, sophomores Abby, Brit, Christine, and Sasha decide to start a “menstruation revolution.” Through blog posts, letter-writing campaigns, and online fundraisers, the girls work together to make change.

Guantánamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison by Sarah Mirk, art by Gerardo Alba, Kasia Babis, Alex Beguez, Tracy Chahwan, Nomi Kane, et al. Abrams (ComicsArts / Abrams Books) – 2 Narratives about the infamous Guantánamo prison are illuminated in this anthology by multimedia journalist Sarah Mirk and a team of talented artists.

The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado, art by DaNi. (Hill House Comics / DC Comics) – El and Vee black out and lose time in a movie theater. While trying to figure out what happened, the girls uncover horrifying secrets about their community that span generations.

The Magic Fish by Trung Le Nguyen. (Random House Graphic / Penguin Random House) – Tiến is a first-generation Vietnamese American who struggles with coming out of the closet to his parents. Will Tiến find a way to connect in the fairytales he shares with his mother?

Snapdragon by Kat Leyh. (First Second / Macmillan. 2020) – Snap knows witches aren’t real, but when her dog goes missing, she checks at the local witch’s house just in case. From there, an unlikely friendship begins, and Snap discovers that witches may be real after all.

Superman Smashes the Klan by Gene Luen Yang, art by Gurihiru. (DC Comics) – In 1946, Lan-Shin (Roberta) Lee and her family move from Chinatown to central Metropolis and attempt to fit in with their neighbors. But when the Klan begins harassing the Lees, Roberta must team up with new friends to help Superman take down the Klan in this smart, action-packed adventure.

Wonder Twins, Volume 1 and 2) by Mark Russell, art by Stephen Byrne (DC Comics) – In this humorous and satirical reboot, alien twins Zan and Jayna have to balance their lives as high schoolers in Metropolis while trying to figure out if their actions as heroes are actually helping to solve any of the world’s real issues.

..

Overall, both lists are great with a nice look back at the best of 2020. But, also important is that much on this list holds a variety of genres, a mix of non-fiction and fiction, and full of ethnic and cultural diversity in both the art and creators involved. This list can be useful at all comic stores as a well, while we wait for the libraries to reopen.

Skyward’s Joe Henderson and Lee Garbett return in 2021 for Shadecraft horror series

Image Comics recently announced a new upcoming teen horror series, Shadecraft, with writer and Lucifer showrunner Joe Henderson teaming up with Captain Marvel artist Lee Garbett to bring some scary freshness for 2021. The creative duo was recently known for the Eisner nominated and awesome series (and personal favorite) Skyward, which ended in 2019. Now, on to something new…

In Shadecraft, readers meet Zadie Lu. She’s afraid of her own shadow. She’s also a teenager, so she really should have grown out of it by now… But something weird is happening in her small town—it’s as if the shadows are actually coming to life. Watching her. Maybe even trying to kill her. But how do you fight something you can’t even touch? And why is she the target they’re after?

“To me, shadows are the perfect mixture of horror and fun. One minute, they seem to come to dangerous life out of the corner of my eye. The next, I’m making silly shadow puppets with my son,” Henderson told Comic Book Resources in an exclusive scoop of the announcement. “I love that cocktail of genuine scares and playful adventure, and we’ve infused it into this book. I’ve been wanting to tell a story with shadows coming to life for years, but it took finding the right emotional heart—finding Zadie’s story—for it to finally come together. Welcome to Shadecraft—let’s hope Zadie Lu survives the experience…”

Garbett also told Comic Book Resources: “With Shadecraft we get to play with a darker, more ominous tone than Skyward without losing that vital heart and warmth that’s so important to us. This book presented a whole new set of artistic challenges in bringing the shadows to life. I tried to keep things as organic as possible, letting the ink move and grow on the paper to find its own form. I can’t wait for everyone to check it out.”

Shadecraft #1 will be available at comic book shops, and also across digital platforms, including Amazon Kindle, Apple Books, ComiXology, and Google Play, on Wednesday, March 31

Here’s a little preview provided by Image Comics in the meantime…

New details reveal for Vol. 1 of Svetlana Chmakova’s new Weirn Books YA graphic novels

In the Night Realm, shifters, vampires, weirns, and other night things passing for human may prowl the streets, but school is still in session—and you still have to do your homework!

Recently announced Yen Press, through JY, its young adult imprint released more character details for its upcoming graphic novels series The Weirn Books, and its Vol. 1: Be Wary of the Silent Woods, with story and art by Svetlana Chmakova, the creator of the best-selling graphic novels Awkward, Brave and Crush.

Through Yen Press’s recent press release, character details emerged for what looks to be an interesting, diverse set for this new spooky set world.

Ailis Maeve Thornton

Ailis, a twelve-year-old weirn (a witch with a demon guardian spirit bound to them from birth), is a kind and adventurous introvert.
She may not have a witty comeback right away or think fast on her feet, but she is very clever and has many useful ideas. While her
parents are away, Ailis is living with her grandma above grandma’s magic store, eating every pastry she can snatch from grandma’s
kitchen, and going to school every weeknight to learn important weirn subjects, like magic, spells, cryptozoology, and math. Also to
train her Astral, because Astrals can be very mischievous troublemakers. Luckily, Ailis’s Astral has always been mild-mannered—she
just sheds a lot and randomly digs up the ground. (And she helps herself to the pastries from Grandma’s kitchen along with Ailis.)

Na’ya Leiburne-Thornton

Na’ya is a twelve-year-old weirn and Ailis’s cousin. Clever, sharp-tongued, and always certain of who she is and what she wants,
Na’ya has been fascinated by dragons since an early age and is making serious plans to become one when she grows up (or maybe
even earlier). Along with Ailis, she has to go to school every weeknight and endure all the dumb in its hallways, especially the
undeserved label of “loser cousins” that got stuck to her and Ailis, mostly thanks to the efforts of Na’ya’s evil ex-best friend, Patricia
Chow. Na’ya lives on the outskirts of town, in an old farmhouse-turned-veterinary-clinic with her little brother and perpetually busy
parents (a mystery writer and a veterinarian to night animal creatures).

D’esh Leiburne-Thornton

D’esh is a five-year-old weirn with a very outgoing personality but a very shy Astral. Friendly and excited about everything, D’esh
easily gets along with everyone he meets (except for his older sister, Na’ya, with whom the fights are never ending). Every night,

D’esh has to go to night care with all the other little kids, but where he really wants to go is Na’ya’s and Ailis’s school. D’esh has an
unusual sensitivity to other creatures’ moods and thoughts, which can be helpful sometimes—but a problem at others.

Julia Thornton, aka Grandma

Mom to two grown kids and grandma to three, Julia (Ms. Thornton to YOU) is an eighty-year-old weirn with mysteries in her past and
too much to do in the present. Between running a magic-supplies store and looking after her grandkids, she doesn’t have time for any
nonsense, and she is not shy to let that be known. Tough as rusty old nails and busy as a grumpy beaver building a mile-high dam, she
still somehow manages to envelop her entire family in care and provide them with a steady supply of freshly baked chocolate rolls.

Jasper Whittle

Jasper is a twelve-year-old weirn, next door neighbor/frenemy to Ailis, and sufferer of an unrequited crush on Na’ya. Kind, easygoing,
and always game for an adventure, Jasper usually ends up in the thick of Ailis and Na’ya’s shenanigans and always has good ideas to
help out in a crisis. Jasper’s only unpredictable trait is his Astral, who is waaaaaaay too eager to throw things and break stuff, which
constantly gets Jasper in trouble. It’s a good thing every weirn kid knows the “fix-it” spell!

Patricia Chow

A twelve-year-old weirn with a cautiously guarded secret, Patricia used to be best friends with Ailis and Na’ya in elementary school.
But when the schools changed, so did Patricia! With new goals and pressures in her life, she is now a completely different person,
pushing the cousins away, dubbing them “loser cousins,” and never letting them forget the school’s social pecking order and their
place in it. A new upgraded set of friends, a ruthless designer-fashion look that sparkles with perfection, plus fear and respect from the
rest of the students—Patricia’s got it all handled… Or does she?

Russel Wiske

A fifteen-year-old shape-shifter who has a humanlike form and a wolflike form (as well as a sloppy hybrid of the two, as suits the
occasion). A student at the same nightschool that Ailis and Na’ya attend, Russ also hangs out a lot at their grandma’s store and works
any part-time hours he can get his paws on. His big dream right now is to save up enough cash to buy a car, modify it to travel in the
Night Realm, and take a road trip with his best friend across the entire West Vashi Domain. Russ is good-natured, money focused,
very strong, and can reportedly carry roughly ten thousand children out of danger all at once.

….

The Weirn Books, Vol. 1: Be Wary of the Silent Woods is available in print and digitally on June 16, 2020.

Additional information on Svetlana Chmakova is available on her official website at: svetlania.com.

Dark Horse announces Jia and the Nian Monster, a new graphic novel of fantasy and adventure

Monster

In partnership with Vanguard Visionary Associates, Dark Horse Comics recently announced Jia and the Nian Monster, a new original graphic novel from Mike Richardson and Megan Huang.

Based on an ancient Chinese legend, Jia and the Nian Monster blends fantasy, fable, and the invention of gunpowder into a tale of courage and friendship. Written by Dark Horse Comics President and Founder Mike Richardson (47 Ronin, Father’s Day, and The Atomic Legion), and illustrated by artist Megan Huang (Princeless, Double Jumpers), Jia and the Nian Monster sets up to be a new classic for all ages.

“I’m pleased to work with artist Megan Huang to bring this Chinese legend to life for readers of all ages,” said writer Mike Richardson in a recent press release. “I’ve always been interested in Chinese lore and hope to impart that interest on a new generation of readers.”

In Jia and the Nian Monster, each new year is marked by a monster’s attack on their mountain village. This year, young Jia and her friend Deshi have decided to fight back. For Deshi, it is the grand adventure he has always dreamed of taking part in. For Jia, it is revenge for the loss of her mother—who was taken by the monster five years before. But it will take more than mere pluck and courage to best the beast of the mountain, which is where the mysterious stranger who has befriended Jia and Deshi comes in…

“Jia and the Nian Monster has been a pleasure to work on,” said artist Megan Huang in a recent press release. “With this being my first original graphic novel, the pressure was on, but everyone involved has been so lovely and helpful. I’ve really pushed myself throughout the past few months to do Mike’s script justice and make the team proud. The honor really has been all mine, and I hope readers can see the passion that we all put into it.”

Jia and the Nian Monster goes on sale in comic shops on March 18, 2020, and in bookstores on March 31, 2020. This 80-page original graphic novel retails for $12.99 and is available for pre-order now.

LITTLE GIRLS, a new graphic novel set in a small Ethiopia town, brings monsters and adventure…

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From a recent Image Comics press release…

Image Comics recently announced an eerie, hauntingly original graphic novel, Little Girls, by debut creators Nicholas Aflleje and Sarah DeLaine, set to hit shelves in March 2019.

In Little Girls, readers meet Sam, who has been an outsider all her life. That might have been the case even if her father hadn’t dragged her all around the globe, but it sure didn’t help. Every year, another school and another word for foreigner. Why would things be any different in Harar, Ethiopia? Well, for one thing, there’s Lielet—an outspoken and rebellious local girl who has all the makings of a lifelong friend. Then there is the city itself—a crossroad of cultures and traditions woven together through time that make it feel like anything’s possible. Also, there’s something hunting people on the outskirts of town…

“At their age, Sam and Lielet are confronted with so many scary, new things that they don’t have to stop and think about being brave, because they’re brave all the time, even when facing down literal monsters together,” said Aflleje.

“I think most people can relate to just not fitting in at some point in their lives, like you’ll never meet someone you truly get along with,” DeLaine added. “But if you somehow inexplicably do, you might suddenly realize you really want to make sure that person isn’t eaten.”

As the disappearances start piling up, Sam and Lielet decide they might be the only ones willing to do anything about it. But as these two young friends bravely strike out into the dark on an exciting new adventure, they soon find that the night has teeth.

Little Girls arrives in comics shops on Wednesday, March 26th and bookstores on Tuesday, April 2nd.

Street Angel returns, taking on the Ninja Industrial Complex this Fall!

(from a recent Image Comics press release)

The Eisner Award-winning team of Jim Rugg (Afrodisiac, The Plain Janes) and Brian Maruca (Afrodisiac) will release Street Angel vs. Ninjatech—a brand-new tale starring your favorite homeless heroine, Jesse Sanchez—this November from Image Comics.

After a hard fight with Ninja Carl, the deadliest girl alive seeks revenge—against the company that manufactured his dangerous weapons. It sure is convenient that it’s take-your-daughter-to-work day!

In her new adventure, Street Angel makes some friends, kinda; helps out a witch, sorta; and fights the Assassin of the Future™: the Ninja 6000 ® by Ninjatech.

“What’s scarier than a 13-year-old girl?” asked Rugg. “A team of 13-year-old ninja girls! Look out, ninja-industrial complex—it’s time for payback!”

Street Angel vs. Ninjatech (hardcover format) will hit comic book stores on Wednesday, November 7th, and bookstores on  Tuesday, November 13th.

Oni Press carried on the Junior Braves of the Apocalypse, with Volume 2

Oni Press recently announced a return volume continuation to its young adult friendly Junior Braves of the Apocalypse comics series of light horror and zombie mayhem; as Junior Braves of the Apocalypse Vol 2: Out of the Woods! continues with writing by Michael Tanner and Greg Smith, and art by Zach Lehner.

The story follows:

In a zombie wasteland of unknown origin, Troop 65 marshals onwards in the hopes of finding their families in Seattle, the nearest logical evacuation location. After a difficult journey by land and river, they make a stop in a suburban town that serves as ground zero of a battle between a corporate office that may have caused the apocalypse and the survivors from the nearby Native American reservation.

Junior Braves of the Apocalypse, Volume 2 hits shelves in both hardcover and paperback editions on August 8th. The first volume, Junior Braves of the Apocalypse Vol. 1: A Brave is Brave is available everywhere at finer bookstores and digital outlets now.

I Hate Fairyland creator Skottie Young is after your lunch money with BULLY WARS

Bully Wars (2)

Image Comics recently announced Bully Wars, an all-new comedy series written by Skottie Young (I Hate Fairyland) with artist Aaron Conley (Sabertooth Swordsman, Rocket Raccoon & Groot).

In Bully Wars, Rufus, the biggest bully in Rottenville since kindergarten, suddenly goes from bully to bullied on the first day of high school. He’s forced to make a shaky pact with his favorite geeks: Spencer and his twin sibling besties, Edith and Ernie. Together they’ll have to find a way to survive the Hunger Games-like contest known simply as the Bully Wars—where the winner will rule the school!

“Aaron and I have been making ourselves laugh with this project all year, and we’re so excited to team up at Image Comics and finally be close to its release in the fall,” said Young. “If you love Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants like me and my kids do, then get ready for the Bully Wars!”

Personal impressions: I love Skottie Young’s work in I Hate Fairyland as a both a storyteller and artist. With this new series, he is more the storyteller…which will be interesting. I am not familiar with Aaron Conley‘s work, but I dig his style here. I look forward to these Bully Wars.

Bully Wars #1 will have three covers: with Cover A by Aaron Conley,  Cover B by Skottie Young (see below), and Cover C by Brown. All will arrive in comic stores in time for the new school year on Wednesday, September 5th.

Bully Wars (1)

New fantasy romance comic series Sleepless, coming soon from Image

Image Comics will release Sleepless, a new fantasy romance series by writer Sarah Vaughn (Alex + Ada, Eternal Empire) and artist Leila del Duca (Shutter, Afar), editor/colorist Alissa Sallah, with letterer Deron Bennett, this December.

Lady “Poppy” Pyppenia, daughter of a king, is ever guarded by the devoted Sleepless Knight Cyrenic. But a new king has just been crowned—and danger lurks anew around each and every corner.

Sleepless is a story that is very dear to me, grown from an idea I would play in my head at night as I tried to fall asleep,” said Vaughn. “It’s wonderful to see the book come to life with Leila, Alissa, and Deron. I hope readers enjoy reading about Poppy and Cyrenic and getting a little more romance, costumes, and fantasy in their lives.”

“I’m incredibly thrilled to be drawing a romance comic with Sarah!” said del Duca. “She has written a lush world and intriguing characters that I’m having fun falling in love with (pun intended!). We’re both huge fans of period dramas and romance, so doing our own take on the genre has been very rewarding. I love the palace intrigue, the sexual tension, the dramatic emotions, and the amazing wardrobes in this series.”

“I’m also very pleased to be working with Alissa Sallah and Deron Bennett,” added del Duca. “Alissa both edits and colors the book, giving us invaluable editorial feedback along with turning in gorgeous colors. She uses a lot of flat colors on top of watercolor and ink textures, which stylistically fits perfectly for the tone of the story. Deron has chosen a unique lettering style for our book that also lends a particular moodiness to the book. I can’t wait to share what our team has created!”

Sleepless #1 will have two covers; cover A by Leila del Duca (above) and Alissa Sallah and Cover B by Jen Bartel (below).

“It’s an honor to work on such a fantastic story with Leila and Sarah,” said Sallah. “The world of Sleepless has such a dreamy vibe to it. And so dramatic! This is a story that feels very refreshing right now in comics, and we thank everyone for their support!”

Sleepless #1 arrives in comic book shops on Wednesday, December 6th.