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We are seeking a diverse array of interested writers and reviewers interested in all kinds of comics.  If you’ve applied in the past, please apply again with your updated information and experience.

Please send in your application by Sunday, April 21 at midnight PST.

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Reviewer Expectations

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Ask yourself

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        Comics for Kids: Summertime

        Introduction

        School’s out for the summer! Dive into these kids graphic novels featuring summer camps, mysteries, and neighborhood hijinks.

        Be Prepared

        Vera Brosgol

        Cover Image

        Vera doesn't need to look very hard to see all the reasons that she doesn't fit in. Her single mom doesn't have the money to buy her trendy dolls or clothes that her friends have, she has to cram all of the girls into her small room when she has sleepovers, and all the other girls from school go away to camp every summer, something else her mom can't afford. When Vera hears about a Russian camp at her church, one that the church will help them pay for, she thinks this is her ticket to having something in common with the girls she goes to school with. But Russian camp is not like the summer camps she had heard about from her peers. At Russian camp you speak Russian, learn about Russian history, practice survival skills, stay up throughout the night defending the camp from invaders (the boys' camp), and there is no indoor plumbing. But over the course of the summer, Vera learns a lot about herself and how to make meaningful friendships.

        Appeals to

        Readers of Svetlana Chmakova and Raina Telgemeier will love this summery slice-of-life story.

        Creator Identities:

        Russian-American |

        Main Character Identities:

        Russian-American |

        Recommended by

        Tayla Cardillo

        Camp

        Kayla Miller

        Cover Image

        When Olive and her friend Willow go to sleepaway camp, Olive eagerly throws herself into making friends and the camp activities. Willow, however, struggles to fit in with the new campers and clings to Olive, who soon becomes resentful. Can their friendship survive camp?

        Appeals to

        Readers who like the realistic friendships and colorful art in Roller Girl will enjoy Camp and the other Olive books.

        Recommended by

        Megan Rupe

        Long Distance

        Whitney Gardner

        Cover Image

        Not only is Vega dealing with moving from Oregon to Washington and thus leaving her best friend behind, but now her best friend stops talking to her. And to make matters worse, Vega's dads decides that signing her up for summer camp is the best way to get her to make friends. All of Vega's fears seem to come true as things at the camp get weirder and weirder, but when it turns out the answer actually is that it's aliens the adventure kicks off. By the end of it all, Vega not only saves her campmates but also makes a new group of friends.

        Appeals to

        Long Distance's mix of science fact and fiction is a great choice for readers that like a little fantasy in their fiction, as seen in comics like Jukebox or Living with Viola. There are so many comics that are either heavily fantasy/sci-fi or very set in the real world, it can be hard to find recommendations for kids that want something in-between. I also love that we see Vega's parents in the comic as actual presences with their own worries and struggles, even if that's only on the fringes of the story.

        Recommended by

        Shannan Prukop

        Shark Summer

        Ira Marcks

        Cover Image

        Gayle's got enough on her plate with an injured arm, possibly ruined baseball career, and her mom trying to open an ice cream business, so the last thing she wants to deal with is a movie crew coming to town and taking things over. But newcomer to town Elijah's enthusiasm and curiosity, plus the prize money for a movie-making competition, pulls Gayle out and learning about Martha's Vineyard's myth of the phantom shark. This leads the two to Maddie, and this unlikely trio learns to trust each other over the summer while making their film. Besides, it's all just stories, there can't be a real ghost, right?

        Appeals to

        There's horror, there's discussions of film-making, there's local history: this comic's got a little bit of everything. Of course, it is also very much referencing the movie Jaws, so if for some reason there's a middle-grade reader out there who loves that franchise this will be a hit. But the search for the truth brings to mind comics like The Leak, and the supernatural elements can appeal to readers of comics like The Aquanaut. Also worth noting: there is a deaf side character in the adult cast, with signing on page. He's only in one scene, but it was exciting to see nonetheless.

        Content Notes

        Some fake blood, fake severed limbs, and sharks.

        Recommended by

        Shannan Prukop

        Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer

        Gillian Goerz

        Cover Image

        Jamila Waheed agrees to hang out with Shirley Bones so that she can go to the local basketball court instead of science camp. However, she soon finds herself intrigued by the fact that several neighborhood kids visit Shirley for help with various issues, and her eccentric acquaintance (friend?) has a knack for resolving them. When Oliver asks for help finding his missing gecko, Shirley and Jamila find themselves with an exciting mystery that will test their dynamic.

        Appeals to

        Kids who like stories like Roller Girl and Kayla Miller's Click series might want to give this one a go, especially if they are interested in detective stories! The story does a good job of capturing an eccentric detective in the the vein of Sherlock Holmes while also describing relatable and realistic relationships and situations kids might face.

        Content Notes

        Brief discussion of childhood cancer and bullying

        Recommended by

        Megan Rupe

        Wait Till Helen Comes

        Mary Downing Hahn

        Meredith Laxton

        Cover Image

        Adaptations from one format to another can be hit or miss, but this one is an absolute hit. Laxton and Badgett's illustration work adds to the tension and terror of Hahn's story, bringing it to a new generation of kids. It keeps the core story of an unhappy blended family pushed unexpectedly into the country one summer by parents who seem to think this will help. The house and area are immediately creepy, and Molly's bratty stepsister Heather doesn't help matters. Things escalate until Molly ends up saving Heather from a ghost, and the whole family begins the healing process.

        Appeals to

        Though there is an actual ghost in the story, Wait Till Helen Comes is also very much about how not addressing past trauma can affect our behavior and prevent us from moving forward. As such, it's great for readers that enjoyed stories like Lost Soul, Be At Peace, The Sleepover, or Lighter than My Shadow. The actual ghost elements mean this comic is also a great choice for readers that like to be scared but don't want any super scary monsters or especially terrifying imagery as might be found in Goosebumps or Five Nights at Freddy's. There are bones towards the end of the comic, but they're treated with sympathy rather than fear ultimately.

        Recommended by

        Shannan Prukop

        Witches of Brooklyn: S'More Magic

        Sophie Escabasse

        Cover Image

        Effie is (reluctantly) off to witchy summer camp where she and her fellow campers learn how to connect to nature and magic. Effie's a bit out of her depth, and that is not just because of her new powers and the dragon!

        Appeals to

        Readers who enjoy magic-filled adventures such as the Okay Witch and Lumberjanes will enjoy this book in the Witches of Brooklyn series.

        Recommended by

        Megan Rupe

        Staff Picks: Comics All Over the World

        Introduction

        Let’s go all around the world with comics either about travel, or set in or written by people in countries other than the US. Either travelling physically or in our minds, these stories will inspire a new perspective. Take a trip just by reading on your couch and let your mind do the wandering.

        A First Time for Everything

        Dan Santat

        Cover Image

        In this heartwarming memoir, Dan Santat tells the story of his Europe trip the summer before high school. With warmth and humor, Santat explores a lot of firsts: first time outside his hometown, first taste of Fanta, and first love.

        Appeals to

        Readers looking for a great coming-of-age story that captures the joys and pains of teenage years; readers who need a story that shows things can get better after middle school

        Creator Identities:

        Thai-American |

        Main Character Identities:

        Thai-American |

        Recommended by

        Megan Rupe

        Aya: Life in Yop City

        Marguerite Abouet

        Clement Oubrerie

        Cover Image

        Aya is an intelligent girl who wants to become a doctor; her friends Bintou and Adjoua are trying to find love in their vibrant hometown, Yop City. As the girls figure out their lives, their families and community have their own stories as well. There's never a dull moment in Yop City!

        Appeals to

        Readers looking for fun and funny slice-of-life stories featuring African characters

        Content Notes

        Brief sexual harassment, nudity (although the situation is one where it makes sense to be naked)

        Creator Identities:

        French, Ivorian |

        Main Character Identities:

        Black, Ivorian |

        Recommended by

        Megan Rupe

        Cats of the Louvre

        Taiyo Matsumoto

        Cover Image

        As might be expected, this is the story of cats that live at the Louvre Museum in France. But it's also so much more: a discussion of how people process art differently and how personal that process is, the delicacy of life, and what one place and its people look like over time. And much like visiting a museum, each time reading through Cats of the Louvre is a slightly different experience. Also, the cats are pretty cute.

        Appeals to

        The easy answer here is to recommend this to fans of Taiyo Matsumoto's other works or people that tend to go to museums or art shows, but let's not go with the easy answer. The human element of the story makes it a solid recommendation for readers of Our Colors or Blackwater, where the pains of growing up and facing unexpected moments in life center around stories that may or may not be supernatural. Meanwhile, the cat's eye view of the story could pull in readers of the growing genre of sweet and serious cat manga, like Cat + Gamer or A Man and His Cat.

        Creator Identities:

        Japanese |

        Main Character Identities:

        Recommended by

        Shannan Prukop

        Daytripper

        Gabriel Ba

        Cover Image

        Brás de Oliva Domingos is an aspiring novelist, living in Brazil, whose day job is writing obituaries. This graphic novel presents different vignettes of Brás life, each ending with his death. As the reader explores the different "possible futures" of this one man, they are forced to contemplate the fragile and fleeting nature of life.

        Appeals to

        Those who enjoy non-linear storytelling telling or more advent-guard graphic novels that play with the format and what it can do.

        Content Notes

        Character Death

        Creator Identities:

        Brazilian, Latinx |

        Main Character Identities:

        Brazilian |

        Recommended by

        Tayla Cardillo

        Night Bus

        Zuo Ma

        Cover Image

        Explore the surreal landscape between sleeping and waking, memory and reality, with the main character as the story drifts between moments. Sometimes we're in rural China, visiting the main character's grandmother, other times in the city with an artist identifying with a stray cat. The stories do interconnect and weave together, but it all has a filter of nostalgia and sadness between moments of real world, completely mundane moments. It's as much a journey through people and their memories as it is about the places these people's memories exist in.

        Appeals to

        Pick up Night Bus if you like Tillie Walden's exploration of West Texas in Are You Listening? or the mix of magic, memory, and trauma in Middlewest. Pick up Night Bus if you like comics that let the visuals do the storytelling, and are okay with some of those visuals being a little upsetting. Pick up Night Bus, and see where the dreams take you.

        Content Notes

        This story deals with things like death, dementia, and frustration at how modernization is changing the landscape, often using imagery involving bugs. Some can be pretty grotesque.

        Creator Identities:

        Chinese |

        Main Character Identities:

        Chinese |

        Recommended by

        Shannan Prukop

        Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide

        Mone Sorai

        Cover Image

        How about a comic not just set outside the US, but actually about international travel? The deal these boyfriends have made is that if they can travel around the world together, they'll get married. The first volume starts with them departing Japan and beginning their journey, and each volume so far has covered a few countries per volume as they work their way westward around the world. They meet other LGBTQ+ people, get sick, and learn how to be better partners for each other. Oh, and there are fun tidbits about each country, so it's totally educational.

        Appeals to

        Since this is about two men in a relationship, Our Not-So-Lonely Planet Travel Guide is an easy pick for readers of BL, but keep in mind that this falls in the more domestic and sweet stories like What Did You Eat Yesterday or Restart After Coming Home. But just because it's a MLM relationship doesn't mean it's only for BL readers; this is a great choice for anyone that likes sweet romance stories, especially with the trope of a prickly person being paired with a daydreamer.

        Content Notes

        Some discussion of homophobia or fears of being mistreated over being LGBTQ+

        Creator Identities:

        Japanese |

        Main Character Identities:

        Japanese |

        Gay |

        Recommended by

        Shannan Prukop

        Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea

        Guy Delisle

        Cover Image

        In this graphic memoir, Delisle explores a perspective that many Westerners do not have access to, which is what it's like to live in North Korea. Delisle spends two months in Korea working for a French animation company and this graphic novel describes him, living, working, and trying to understand the restrictive country that is North Korea. Since cameras were not allowed in the country, Delisle used his artistic ability to capture the things witnessed there, sketching and journaling every day to try to remember it all.

        Appeals to

        Those who enjoyed stories about people living and enduring extraordinary (and sometimes oppressively) situations like Ducks by Kate Beaton or Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi will enjoy this book.

        Content Notes

        Discussion of Propaganda

        Creator Identities:

        Canadian |

        Main Character Identities:

        Canadian |

        Recommended by

        Tayla Cardillo

        Shubeik Lubeik

        Deena Mohamed

        Cover Image

        A poor woman saves up to buy a powerful wish, only for the authorities to imprison her. A college student wrestles with the ethical implications of using a wish to fix their mental health. These are just a couple of the stories in Shubeik Lubeik, which take place in a world where wishes are real and can be purchased.

        Appeals to

        Readers who enjoy thoughtful, expansive fantasy will enjoy the excellent worldbuilding and personal stories in Shubeik Lubeik.

        Content Notes

        Violence, death, abuse, depression

        Creator Identities:

        Egyptian |

        Main Character Identities:

        Egyptian |

        Recommended by

        Megan Rupe

        Summer Spirit

        Elizabeth Holleville

        Cover Image

        During a summer at her grandmother's house, Louise is realizing how un-fun it is to be the youngest. Her sister and her cousins want to talk about boys and sneak out late, and Louise is feeling left behind. Then she meets Lisa, someone her age who always seems to be around when the teenage drama between her cousins and sister becomes too much, but Lisa is not just another girl who lives in the neighborhood, she's a ghost haunting her grandmother's property. Will Lisa be a friendly spirit guide as Louise navigates getting older or will she be something darker?

        Appeals to

        Readers who love the mix of sisterhood and the paranormal in M is for Monster will enjoy this book.

        Creator Identities:

        French |

        Main Character Identities:

        Recommended by

        Tayla Cardillo