Friday, July 08, 2005

You Want Comics For Kids? Check Out the Stereos

I just read Brandon Hanvey's two Stereos graphic novel, "Battle of the Bands" and "In The Garage." So I figure I might as well share with you all what I thought of them.

First off, I really enjoy Hanvey's art, and the thing that I like best about his art is that he is still improving.

I think I mentioned somewhere here awhile back of how much I am impressed by artists who are willing to improve themselves as artists (upon further consideration, it was actually at Snark Free Waters here). Well, that is certainly what you get from Hanvey, as the first collection, "Battle of the Bands" has good looking art, but the improvements in his style from that one to "In The Garage" are extremely impressive.

Probably the most notable thing about his art, to me, is his ability to depict, in a cartoonish style, detail. That is very difficult to do, and he does it well.

I have no Stereos scans available, so I will have to demonstrate with a panel from his online comic strip, The Little Things.

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Notice the distinct look he puts into each character, while still being cartoony?

I dig it.

In any event, the first book, "The Stereos: Battle of the Bands" is about a band (who appear to be college age or so) called the Steroes, who are made up of a brainy Asian girl, a slacker, a Goth and a Punk. Get it...they're all stereotypes!

The second book, In The Garage, is a prequel to the first comic, and tells the story of how the group got together.

The story in the first book was stronger than the story in the second book, as there are times in the second book that the story gets a bit too close to an After-School Special (in the sense that it is a bit too familiar of a plot).

However, what stands out about BOTH books are their accessibility.

Not just their accessibility in terms of being able to follow the story, but rather, the sheer universality of the story.

Couple that with the cool, clean, cartoony art and what you have is just the right kind of book for kids, because it is nice and innocent without pandering.

Kids do not generally want to read about other kids. That, to them, is often seen as pandering.

Ask a little kid who he likes better, Batman or Robin, who do you think he or she is going to pick?


Because he is cooler.

Stereos is not written down for kids, and therefore, a kid can safely like it, because it is "cool."

Meanwhile, it is just the same sort of innocent fun that adults can enjoy as well.

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Blogger Bill Reed said...

Where do you find these snazzy comics???

Yeah, I dig the art too.

7/08/2005 11:39:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Cronin said...

Brandon will also throw in little extras if you order a copy...hehe.

7/09/2005 05:21:00 AM  

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