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Johanna

About Johanna

Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Review: ‘Sheets’

Sheets

Sheets by Brenna Thummler Lion Forge, $12.99 Ages 9-12 Marjorie is trying to keep the family business, a laundromat, together. Her mother passed away, and Dad has mostly checked out. She has to cope with self-centered customers and a pushy, smarmy neighborhood businessman. Then the ghosts appear. The spirits all look like the classic children’s […]

Review: ‘Sleepless’ Volume 1

Sleepless header

Sleepless Written by Sarah Vaughn, Illustrated by Leila Del Duca Image Comics, $16.99 Rated for Teens (ages 13+) It’s no surprise that fantasy stories become more popular when the real world is so uncertain and troubled. Vaughn and Del Duca do more than just tell another tale of knights and princesses, though; Sleepless is a […]

Quirk Books Combines Comics and Game Books in Two New Titles

Hocus & Pocus: The Legend of Grimm's Woods

Coming out the first week in September are two new titles that will give kids something new to do while reading. These “comic books you can play” add game mechanics and pick-your-own-path structures to illustrated stories. Quirk Books is releasing these “graphic novels that play like a game” September 4, launching two middle-grade series translated […]

Review: ‘DC Super Hero Girls: Past Times at Super Hero High’

DC Super Hero Girls: Past Times at Super Hero High

DC Super Hero Girls: Past Times at Super Hero High Written by Shea Fontana, illustrated by Yancey Labat, Agnes Garbowska, and Marcelo DiChiara DC Comics, $9.99 For ages 8-12 The fourth graphic novel starring the DC Super Hero Girls expands the “kids in superhero school” premise (as seen in Finals Crisis and Hits and Myths) […]

Review: ‘Spectacle’ Book One

Spectacle Book One

Spectacle Book One by Megan Rose Gedris Oni Press, $15.99 Recommended for ages 12 and up Spectacle sets out to be a murder mystery, but its strongest appeal comes in the atmosphere Gedris creates. Anna and Kat are twin sisters, traveling with a down-at-heels circus. Kat is a talented knife-thrower, while Anna pretends to read […]

Review: ‘Science Comics: Rockets: Defying Gravity’

Science Comics: Rockets: Defying Gravity

Science Comics: Rockets: Defying Gravity by Anne Drozd and Jerzy Drozd First Second, $12.99 Ages 9-13 The Science Comics series is generally outstanding, but this volume is one of the best. An exciting subject is made understandable though our charming hosts, a series of educated animals with connections to space exploration. The first chapter covers […]

Review: ‘Under the Canopy: Trees Around the World’

Under the Canopy: Trees Around the World

Under the Canopy: Trees Around the World Written by Iris Volant, illustrated by Cynthia Alonso Flying Eye Books, $19.95 Ages 6 and up This gorgeous, oversized picture book will create new appreciation for nature, obviously, but also for cultures around the world. Each page describes a particular type of tree—such as willow, coconut, birch, or […]

Review: ‘The Family Trade’

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The Family Trade Written by Justin Jordan & Nikki Ryan, illustrated by Morgan Beem Image Comics, $16.99 Rated T for Teens A fairly standard story about a teen assassin working to save her fantasy world is distinctive only due to its art and coloring. The Free Republic of Thessala, aka the Float, is an independent […]

Review: ‘Wild Ocean’

Wild Ocean: Sharks, Whales, Rays, and Other Endangered Sea Creatures

Wild Ocean: Sharks, Whales, Rays, and Other Endangered Sea Creatures Edited by Matt Dembicki Fulcrum Publishing, $19.95 Age Range: 12 and up This anthology was produced with PangeaSeed, an ocean conservation organization, so it’s got an obvious message—”to showcase 12 iconic endangered ocean animals” in order to encourage changes in human behavior when it comes […]

Review: ‘Action Presidents’

Action Presidents

Action Presidents #1: George Washington! Action Presidents #2: Abraham Lincoln! Written by Fred Van Lente, illustrated by Ryan Dunlavey HarperCollins, $9.99 each Ages 8-12 The team behind Action Philosophers! have returned with an entertaining look at key men and events in American history, beginning with the two most famous Presidents. The attitude behind the series […]