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If you love comics and want to be entertained, you really need to check out Christopher Irving’s (words) and Seth Kushner’s (pictures) Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics. It’s a bright and brilliant introduction to the people who brought stories of brave deeds to American audiences through their work. Here’s a snippet from his sketch on Will Eisner (The Spirit):
Imagine what it would be like to witness your best friend become a victim of a drive-by shooting right in front of you . . . at the age of ten. Then fast-forward six years, and witness your other childhood friend dying in your arms by the shot of a gun as well.
Starr Carter lives two lives: one as a “normal” 16-year-old in a fancy suburban high school and the other in the low income neighborhood where she lives with her family. Usually she is able to balance the two and not have them overlap that much, but that changes after a party one night goes all wrong.
Three young sisters with a thieving past, Botille, Plazensa and Sazia were wanderers, surviving by any means necessary, moving from place to place once they wore out their welcome. The three sisters and Jabau, Sazia’s father, traveled to the French seaside town of Bajas, where for once they put down roots and became if not quite respected, still valuable residents. They open up a tavern and use their individual talents to bring in extra money. The observant and quick talking Botille becomes the town’s matchmaker; Plazensa puts her feminine wiles to use; and Sazia possesses her deceased mother’s ability to tell fortunes. In Bajas, they finally feel secure and content with their lives.
Dolssa is a noblewoman from Tolosa, who speaks of her beloved "Jhesus" to her family and friends who gather in crowds to hear her. But this is a very troubling time in the 13th century, shortly after a holy war has ravaged the countryside, dealing death to those judged as heretics as well as their enemy, the established Church. So, for Dolssa to have unsanctioned discussions about God and her personal relationship with her beloved Jhesus is reckless and does not go unnoticed. Dolssa is condemned as a heretic by Friar Lucien and is sentenced to death.
As darkness falls, Marjorie hopes the children will not come again. With their taunts and rotten turnips for throwing, they harass her as much as they can, and there isn’t anything the princess, hanging in the filthy cage in the monastery courtyard, can do about it. To them, Marjorie is simply The Girl in a Cage.
“It was June and long past time for buying the special shoes that were quiet as summer rain falling on the walks. June and the earth full of raw power and everything everywhere in motion. The grass was still pouring in from the country, surrounding the sides, stranding the houses. Any moment the town would capsize, go down and leave not a stir in the clover and weeds. And here Douglas stood, trapped on dead cement and red-brick streets, hardly able to move.”
The opening piece in Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine finds Doug Spaulding at the start of his twelfth summer, yearning for a pair of running shoes that will let him be a part of the glorious season. Like the dandelion wine bottled and stored in his grandparents’ cellar, the memories of that long-ago summer are preserved to be savored by his readers.
If you’re going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist.
Tina and her mother fled the Congo as refugees, trading their war-torn village for the vibrant metropolis of Sangui City. Life was supposed to get better. Their new home, the City of Saints and Thieves, was supposed to be safe.
But when Tina finds her mother dead in the private study of her employer, Mr. Greyhill, she knows just who is to blame. The Greyhill family is hiding something behind their wealth. And Tina’s mother knew their secret.