Rebel by Fred Fredericks

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Rebel
by Fred Fredericks
Scholastic Book Services

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“Meet REBEL–the wild, mod teen who’s the rage with teens everywhere!”

“What a crazy crew! You’ll laugh through every madcap cartoon adventure!”

My local renegade bookshop Arise! Resource Center & Book Store will close its doors this weekend.  It’s sad for anyone who has passed through the Minneapolis underground within the last 17 years to see this monument to anarchy and activism give up the ghost.  Members of the collectively run shop are restructuring though and will renovate and reopen the shop as a new creation — Boneshaker — but what will that new shop mean to former Arise! volunteers?  Or customers?  Will they continue to stock zines and minis which were their best selling items? Will they still support local cartoonists by hosting release parties? Will their dollar bin still be as excellent and jam-packed with jems like it was this week when I picked up Rebel and the 1995 Osseo High School yearbook?

I bought Rebel on an impulse. The girl at the counter was so excited to see it again that she generously threw it in for free. She was delighted by this book ready to share.  So am I.

This book is so painfully dated but so beautifully illustrated, so completely unaware of its own cornball structure, so classically prone to predictable punchlines — basically, Rebel is a hipster’s wet dream.

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Bone: Rose by Jeff Smith and Charles Vess

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Bone: Rose
By Jeff Smith and Charles Vess
Scholastic

jeffsmithrosecoverIn interviews conducted with Jeff Smith, the artist has stated, time and again, that he envisioned Bone’s final page long before beginning the book. After 13 years, the book’s 55-issue run seemingly exhausted the story of the Bone cousins’ journey through the plague-ridden Valley, with said ultimate panel finding the trio riding off into the proverbial sunset. While the success of Bone—ultimately and frequently hailed as one of the greatest independent comics of all-time—no doubt resulted in plenty of demand for a sequel from the industry and fans alike, there seemed little doubt that the saga was at an end.

Even with a storyline that would ultimately consume some 1,342 pages in its single collected edition, Smith didn’t exhaust the storytelling potential of the Valley. During a hiatus from the series, the artist collaborated on two additional complementary storylines–Stupid, Stupid Rat-Tails, which he drew, but didn’t write, and Rose, which he scripted, but did not draw. For years, these serialized books have existed as much sought after items for collectors anxious for additional glimpses into the Bone universe. And now, thanks to a new edition from Scholastic, one of those two puzzle pieces is now far easier to come by.

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Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan

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Tales From Outer Suburbia
By Shaun Tan
Scholastic

shauntantalesfromouterPublished in here in late 2007, it was the fittingly-titled book The Arrival that truly established Shaun Tan in the States. Over the years, the Australian artist’s work has navigated the nebulous space between graphic novel and picture books. That book, a fantastical take on the traditional immigrant story, landing firmly in the latter camp, eschewing the written word altogether, save for the occasional reliance on an entirely made up alphabet—another striking element in Tan’s attempt to import the reader into his newly conjured strange land.

In that sense, Tales From Outer Suburbia falls staunchly on the other side of the fence. While Tan’s always-stunning illustrations still play a vital role in the book, they have been largely decentralized. In the above, perhaps false, dichotomy, Tales unquestionably exists in the picture book camp. In some sense, however, even that broad descriptor seems somehow false. Rather, for the most this is most accurately a book of short stories supplemented by graphical representations.

A collection of 15 fictional memoirs, Tales From Outer Suburbia is, arguably, too wordy to be a picture book.  Together the stories frame the young life of an unnamed narrator, coming of age in a fantastical town that might easily exist on the outskirts of the city mapped out in The Arrival. The texts and images are largely situated on opposing pages, though Tan does, from time to time, construct clever methods by which to incorporate the two into a single piece of art, such as the extended poem ‘Distant Rain’, which takes the form of a scrapbook and ‘The Amnesia Machine,’ which sits the typed story in the middle of a newspaper.

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Interview: Frank Cammuso Pt. 1 [of 2]

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Frank Cammuso first entered the world of sequential art some 20 years ago as an editorial cartoonist. It was the publication of Max Hamm: Fairy Tale Detective for his own Nite Owl Comix , however, that really helped put the artist on the map amongst comics fans.

The book had another surprising result for the artist. Cammuso insists that he never set out to make the story of the diminuitive pink private investigator an all-ages book, per se, but when it proved a hit with younger audiences, the title helped open a new career for the artist as the creator of kids books. Most recently Cammuso has begun the Knights of the Lunch Table series for Scholastic as co-created Otto’s Orange Day for Francoise Mouley’s Toon Books, alongside underground comics legend, Jay Lynch.

We caught up with Cammuso recently to discuss his unexpected new career path.

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