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SuperMutant Magic Academy Paperback – April 28, 2015
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This quirky solo work from Caldecott- and Printz-winning graphic novelist Tamaki collects strips from her long-running webcomic about a school for mutants and witches into one mostly cohesive anthology. Riffing off popular phenomena, such as Harry Potter and the X-Men, this title sets teen angst-y situations in a world populated with cat-eared prom queens, the Everlasting Boy, and superpowered jocks. Most of the strips are a page-long, with the exception of the never-before-seen 40-page story arc that concludes the series. While at times these snippets may confuse readers because of their brevity and often weighty existential themes, these snapshots often center on the same cast of characters, each of whom teens get to know more deeply by the book's end. The mostly black-and-white art is divided in a range of single, full-page to six panels, and rare bursts of color are deftly used to moving effect. Marsha, the misanthropic witch with a crush on her female best friend; Frances, the boundary-pushing artist; and Cheddar, the athlete trying to find the meaning of life, among others, stand out as the more fully developed protagonists, but readers will find bits of themselves in many of the realistic characters. Poking fun at the "Chosen One" mythos, Tamaki has created a stellar graphic novel that combines her slice-of-life expertise and clean, uncluttered art style. VERDICT A must-have volume reminiscent of Alan Moore's Watchmen (DC Comics, 1987) and her and Mariko Tamaki's This One Summer (First Second, 2014) in sensibility and Raina Telgemeier's works in appearance.—Shelley Diaz, School Library Journal
“Tamaki's sense of comedy and pacing owes a lot to Charles Schulz's "Peanuts," although her subject matter is decidedly less innocent. And she delights in breaking her own rules: Her artwork is black-and-white except when she throws in impish splashes of color, drawn with broad, rough brush strokes except when it's composed of felt-tip scribbles or shimmering digital gray.” ―New York Times
“SuperMutant Magic Academy... exudes an irresistible wit.” ―The Guardian
“This collection is a great read for comic fans and genre newbies alike.” ―Bust Magazine
“[SuperMutant Magic Academy] is smart, thoughtful, and too hilarious to gobble down in just one sitting.” ―Bitch Magazine
“When it comes down to it, this is one of the best books... of any kind to come out in a long time.” ―Autostraddle
“The humor [in SuperMutant Magic Academy] is sometimes slapstick, but more often it offers ultra-dry observations on modern disengagement. Tamaki is playful and loose with her art, unafraid to be experimental as she draws us into a world where true feelings are the greatest danger.” ―Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Though Tamaki's black and white panels shift from detailed and realistic to dreamy and atmospheric and back again, she consistently and expertly captures subtle emotion and subtext with only a few strokes of the pen. [SuperMutant Magic Academy is] simultaneously heartbreaking and hilarious.” ―Booklist Starred Review
“SuperMutant Magic Academy will reassure teenagers that high school is a weird place, even for humans, and will remind adults that it is an experience we never really outgrow.” ―Winnipeg Free Press
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Top Customer Reviews
Loosely, yet expertly crafted lines, and fluid storytelling. Perfect one page at a time, or in longer sittings, often hilarious, with healthy doses of poignancy and ennui.
If you enjoy Hark a Vagrant, or Harry Potter, or Adventure Time, or just excellent things in general, get this ASAP for your eyeballs.
Readers hoping for spell after spell will be disappointed. “Academy” takes place in a magical high school. But the characters are just like any other set of young adults: pining, whining, resigning.
Most of the stories take up no more than a single page. They’re sketches of the lives of Marsha, Wendy, Cheddar, Frances, Everlasting Boy, and their classmates. Every couple of panels ends in a slick punchline, before switching over to an entirely different train of thought. Marsha & Co. struggle with the idea that they need to cherish the present day they will eventually be nostalgic for. But like any other set of adolescents, they won’t realize it until after the book ends.
The illustrations are clean-cut, the jokes at once sharp and tender. SMA feels like eating one slice of a very intriguing combination pizza and being unable to get seconds.
I love that, until the end, each page is related but individual. It makes it digestible. That said, I still read it in one day because I was interested in know what happened to the characters.
The mini-stories are like most comics, lessons contained within pop culture references. You'll relate to some, fist pumping the characters, while others you'll roll your eyes at because you totally know someone LIKE THAT.
When the overall story ended, I was screaming I NEED AN EPILOGUE, which the author provided. Neat little bow tied up all pretty!
This is a great book for introducing graphic novels to girls (a vastly underused medium because "comics are for boys" which is such crap) and to encourage reading in those who don't enjoy it.
Fair warning: there is some cursing so maybe wait until they're 12 or 13 to offer it.