Tag Archive for teen boat

Review: Teen Boat!

teenboatTeen Boat! (2012, Clarion Books) is about a teenage boy who turns into a boat named Teen Boat (in case, you know, the title didn’t immediately tip you off to that), Originally a series of (Ignatz Award-winning) minicomics, creators Dave Roman and John Green pull in amazing amount pop culture influences (Turbo Teen is an obvious reference point, as are teen dramas like Dawson’s Creek) into something that’s still fun and original. Trust me when I tell you that Teen Boat! is really one of the best things ever.

Teen Boat is mostly a typical teenager — he has a platonic best friend, Joey, and is in love with the exchange student Niña Pinta Santa Maria. He tries to impress the cool kids and he gets into trouble. He runs for class president and gets a part-time job. And yes, quite often he turns into a boat.

Roman and Green clearly had a so much fun making this — there’s a giddiness to the writing and the goal seemed mostly to make each other laugh first. They throw in pirates just because, why not? The characters travel to Italy mostly so Teen Boat can fall in love with a gondola (and the silent montage sequence of the date between Teen Boat — in his boat form — and the gondola is probably one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen). There are explosions and mysteries and monster trucks. The writing is quick and clever and Green’s art has an animator’s eye for character design and expression. The rich primary colors do give a new dimension to the art that wasn’t present in the minis.

Despite all the references that are packed in here, Roman and Green just use those as a starting point. They provide a bit of a backdrop and texture, but the book doesn’t rely on them for its humor. If you’re too young to be familiar with them (or just don’t catch them), the book is still a delight.

I have one tiny complaint, though, but I want to emphasize it’s tiny. I don’t think the new material has quite the same energy as the material that appeared in the minicomics. I think this is probably only something you’d noticed if you’ve read the minis and that’s not to say I was at all disappointed. It’s all such great fun I just almost felt like I needed to complain about something.

Buy this book! Read it! Laugh! Tell your friends! I absolutely love that things like Teen Boat! exist in this world.

And just to link to it again, here’s Abby Denson‘s Teen Boat! song:

Book of the Month: Dolltopia


Dolltopia

Buy at Amazon.com

Abby Denson lives in New York, makes comics and plays music. I think that was basically my dream life when I was 16 (and in all honesty, it doesn’t sound too bad to me now). Clearly, she’s awesome.

Dolltopia (2009, Green Candy Press) is the story of dolls that run away to a society where they can be whoever they want — they’re not stuck in the roles the factory gave them. Kitty Ballerina dyes her hair hot pink and cuts up Army Jim’s camouflage jacket. Jim, on the other hand, dons a kilt. The other dolls they meet are welcoming and encourage individuality. There are multiple outfit changes, a couple of helpful cats, and plenty of fun as the dolls find a permanent home where they can all be themselves. Yes, there’s a message of acceptance of others and yourself, but it’s never heavy-handed. Mostly, it’s just way too much fun.

Denson’s rock and roll sensibility is prevalent in her playful art and the black, white and pink color scheme. I don’t want to cut up my book, but it also comes with paper dolls that allow you to dress up Kitty and Jim in all their fabulous outfits. What’s not to love?

Really, nothing to do with Dolltopia and I’m almost sure I’ve posted it before, but I will use any excuse to share the “Teen Boat” theme song. You will get it stuck in your head for days and not necessarily be unhappy about that.