Still in catch-up mode, but I’m hoping to knock these out this week (hoping). Just click on the first one in this wacky mosaic and read on through the first six days of March.
In my continued efforts to dig myself out of the ginormous hole I’ve made when it comes to Photo Diary, I now present you with the second half of February all in one post! If you’re looking for the first installment, click here.
The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 96 covers my new job writing for Geek.com, my better mood thanks to the weather and how I hope that leads to better times with my kids this summer!
If you’re in the Orange County area and like comics, do yourself a favor and check out October Country in New Paltz.
I wrote about fried-egg-coverd BLTs in this post, which you should absolutely check out. Fried eggs also played into Feed Me Phoebe’s excellent Mexican Sweet Potato Hash with Black Beans and Spinach and Smitten Kitchen’s fantastic Spaghetti Pangrattato with Crispy Eggs.
In an effort to make up for no episode last week, I’m posting The Pop Poppa Nap Cast Episode 95 a bit early this week. I’m feeling good lately thanks to the snow melt and a working car, plus I’m looking forward to seeing where Jack’s next year will take us!
It’s not overly clear in the recording, but Lu’s version of “All About That Bass” translates into “All ’bout that face, ’bout that face, ’bout that face, no travel.”
Hi Gang, I’m trying something new because I am SO behind in posting Photo Diaries. Instead of doing several per day until I get caught up, here are the first 14 days of the February 2015 — including February 1st, which was already published. Just click on an image, it’ll embiggen and you can actually scroll through from there!
I’ve loved comic books since I was 9 years old. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to turn that affection into a career. As the parent of two kiddos, I want to have samplings of my hobby I can pass them when and if they show interest. Hey, Kids Comics! will chronicle my experience going through these offerings and not only evaluating my kids’ potential interest but also passing along any potential trouble spots for children and parents. As always, I encourage you to read these books first to see if you think your kid will enjoy them.
Jordan Crane is a comic creator whose work I’ve been hearing about from my more indie comic-oriented friends for YEARS, but The Clouds Above is the first of his works I actually sat down to read. Last week while my daughter played on the library computers I did my usual perusal of the kids’ graphic novels and there it was. I wasn’t sure if it was actually appropriate for younger readers (our library system doesn’t seem to really understand what most of these books are), but I knew that I wanted to read it.
I’m happy to say that, The Clouds Above (published by Fantagraphics in 2005) is a great story that can be enjoyed by readers of all (or rather most) ages. The 224 page, 6×6-inch book follows the adventures of a boy named Simon and his talking cat Jack as they discover a secret staircase to the clouds on top of Simon’s school. While ascending, they talk to birds, teach a sentient cloud to fly, fight storm clouds and eventually find their way back to school.
I appreciate that Crane keeps the material light and kid-friendly without shying away too much from emotional scenes. There’s a part of the story where their cloud friend turns himself into rain, but saves Simon and Jack so they don’t smash into the ground. There’s a sad beat there, but then the cloud says he’s happier than he’s every been now that the birds are enjoying the puddles he has become. I thought this was a particularly beautiful scene that probably has a teaching moment buried inside that I’ll figure out upon further reflection.
As far as red flags go, there is talk of death (“We’re gonna die!”) and a teacher beating Simon with a phone book, but not much is made of it and she’s ultimately made to look a fool which is important because she’s one of the few violent characters in the book. The others are birds, but birds are always jerks, so that stands to reason. Essentially, if your kids like Adventure Time, I think they’ll enjoy this book as both feature a boy and his talking, yellow animal friend going on a somewhat surreal adventure.
The Clouds Above not only works well as an all-ages story, but also offers a nice bridge for younger readers transitioning from storybooks to comics. Thanks to picture books, kids are used to this idea of information being doled out in one-page bites so Crane’s one-panel-per-page style here makes sense for them . I’ve noticed when reading comics with several panels per page to my daughter that it can be a little hard for her to keep up, so I try to point to each panel. Crane eliminates that problem altogether while also keeping a nice pace to the story.
I haven’t been able to get our 3-year-old to actually sit down and read The Clouds Above just yet — it’s like harnessing a tornado most days — but I did sit with our 11-month-old the other day and read it to him. He actually sat through most of it which is pretty huge considering his usual attention span is roughly 11 seconds!
Like I said, I got mine at the library, but you can buy a copy as well through the Amazon link above. You can also download the first 20 pages of this graphic novel from publisher Fantagraphics to see if it’s your bag.
For several months last year, I did weekly interviews with some of the people who make the Disney X D Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon. It was a really fun experience that resulted in some fantastic interviews over on CBR. Thanks to some scheduling shifts, I’m not doing those at this point, but I still have a soft spot in my heart for this cartoon that started bringing all kinds of alternate universe Spideys into the mix. Of course, this makes for a great deal of fun toy opportunities that license-holder Hasbro has started fully taking advantage of with their Web-Slingers line.
A month or two back, I received a box of toys for review from Hasbro that included the basic Spider-Man figure, Agent Venom Figure with ATV vehicle, Iron Spider Blaster glove and the Trickshot Showdown playset. The overarching action feature for this line is a series of stretchy rubber webs that hook onto parts of the toys and launch into various targets. Even though my nearly-four-year-old tried to get me to open them up for weeks, we didn’t get to it until last week. I figured it would be fun to record the whole thing with my Flip camera and post the results which you can see here. I would have cut the nearly 10 minute video down, but every time I looked to edit, the kid started doing something cute.
Since recording the video, I’ve placed all these toys back in the box they came in (you can see it in the video) and Lu has taken them out to play with about once a day. It’s funny, she kept asking me what every little part was for — the sticker that looks like steps on the playset, the rubber webs, the shooters, the targets, the crane — but after I told her they’re just they’re to play with, she hasn’t been as caught up on those things.
As a long-time action figure collector and fan, I do have a few comments. First off, these toys look like they fell right off the TV screen which is crucial when dealing with toon-based toys. The figures themselves are a little stiff, but that goes away the more you play with them. The only one that wasn’t is the Venom ATV toy which, contrary to what I said in the video, doesn’t have much in the way of articulation. The knees are permanently bent, which I didn’t notice at the time. I know more joints equal more cost, but I personally love my Spidey figures to be as flexible as possible. Lu doesn’t seem to care about any of that, but it’s something I noticed.
I also love how the ATV rolls around on our carpet and the playset is super fun. Even without shooting the webs, this fairly simple set offers plenty of play potential whether your kid is like mine and just likes to have a setting for her figures to run around on or if you’re like me and want to bash through some doors and swing around. It actually reminds me of the classic Karate Kid dojo set that I loved as a kid.
I don’t know if I’m just inept or what, but the stretchy web things just do not work for me. I saw the man do them with ease at Toy Fair and figured I could do it myself, but that has not been the case. The kid’s gotten it a few times, but no luck on my end.
On another level, I wish this line had some female toys for my daughter to play with. This might be part of that age-old idea that female action figures don’t sell or might go back to the TV series (not sure if any female Spideys are on there), but it’s a bummer. I passed my daughter a box of JLU toys I’ve had for years and she immediately pulled out all the ladies and started playing with them, so clearly there’s interest there.
Even though I had some problems with these figures, I think that overall they are rad playthings for younger kids. They seem sturdy enough to withstand the kind of strenuous playing that younger kids can and should put their toys through. I’m seriously thinking about tying a string to them, sticking one end up high and just swinging them around!
We’re pretty big fans of Disney’s Tinker Bell movies and shorts in this house. I wasn’t sure what to expect when my daughter started watching Tinker Bell, Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue and Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings almost non-stop on Netflix in the past few years, but I’ve come to find these bits of animated goodness to be packed with fun adventure stories with heart and compassion at the center of them. So, when The Pirate Fairy came out last year, we were all pretty excited to see what would happen in that one.
As anyone who watches any of the Disney channels knows, they do a stellar job of getting kids excited about these things months in advance, so by the time we finally did see it, it was a big deal. The same can be said of this year’s Tinker Bell and the Legend of the Neverbeast which came out last week, but we haven’t seen it yet.
With all that in mind, here’s a variety of images and videos I’ve been sent along with the movie’s official synopsis if you haven’t seen anything about it. Like Christina Hendricks and Tom Hiddleston did in Pirate Fairy, Ginnifer Goodwin and Rosario Dawson both join the cast that includes regulars Mae Whitman, Lucy Liu, Raven-Symoné, Megan Hilty and Pamela Adlon.
The heartwarming story explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity of Tinker Bell’s friend Fawn, an animal fairy who’s not afraid to break the rules to rescue the NeverBeast before time runs out. The fairies meet Gruff who is a massive creature and the subject of an ancient Pixie Hollow myth. Hidden in a dark lair on the fringes of the fairies’ beloved home, Gruff is discovered by curious and empathetic animal fairy Fawn, who sees something special in his glowing green eyes. His penchant for stacking rocks mystifies Fawn and her friends—but Gruff’s true purpose is the real surprise.
Here’s a series of concept art pieces that give you an idea of what you the movie and Gruff will look like:
And now you can check out Nyx (Dawson) and her rad-looking Scout Fairies. Here’s hoping this gang gets a spinoff where they go on black ops fairy operations (or something).
There you have it. What do you think? Are you looking forward to NeverBeast as much as we are? I’m still not sure when we will get a chance to see it, though. As I mentioned above, the Blu-ray and DVD sets are available for purchase, but we usually don’t buy these movies because they wind up on Netflix eventually. I can’t quite remember how long it took for Pirate Fairy to debut on Disney Channel, but I’m sure we’ll know when as Disney Junior is on for several hours a day while our daughter plays and hangs out with her brother and grandma.
Here’s the Fluttershy Lu got along with the Horror Classic Funko Mystery Minis Jason Vinyl Figure I scored.
Meanwhile, if you want to check out Astro City, I highly recommend going to the beginning with Life in the Big City, but you can also pick up the book I just did called Through Open Doors. The Spider-Man issue I mentioned is actually Web of Spider-Man #81 and I reviewed it over on UnitedMonkee.com.
To see the Frozen elements in Big Hero 6, head on over here.
I called Aunt May Peter Parker’s grandma. Obviously this is a huge geek goof. It’s clearly his aunt. Please forgive me oh wrathful geek gods.