Thursday, April 22, 2010

Book-A-Day 2010 # 78 (4/22) -- City of Spies by Kim, Klavan & Dizin

City of Spies is the second graphic novel for young people (and about young people) from First Second in May about WWII, after Resistance, Vol. 1, which I reviewed earlier this week. But the two books aren't all that similar, really -- Resistance is set in France, while City of Spies is set in New York. See! Totally different! The fact that both take place in 1942 is just one of those wacky coincidences beloved in sitcom and manga.

All kidding aside, City of Spies looks very different from Resistance -- it has a Herge-ish clean line and flat color, as artist Pascal Dizin gives a modernist feel to New York -- and its story (from playwright Susan Kim and novelist Laurence Klavan) is different, as well. Evelyn is a rich pre-teen girl who just wants to be with her father -- she draws superhero comics that make that plot point over-obvious -- but is foisted off on her bohemian aunt for the summer while her dad runs off for a honeymoon with his latest wife. In her aunt's ritzy apartment building, Evelyn befriends Tony, the rambunctious son of the super, and the two of them -- inspired by Evelyn's comic-book adventures -- soon are seeing Nazi spies behind every corner. Of course, a book called City of Spies would be pretty boring if spies never showed up, so....

There is plenty of adventure before the end, though City of Spies stays on a light-hearted level to match the art; there's danger here, but it never feels particularly serious. The reader is pretty sure that these spies will be thwarted -- if not by Evelyn's creations Zirconium Man and his sidekick Scooter, than by Evelyn and Tony themselves, or a friendly policeman. It's not as obviously educational as Resistance is, but I expect City of Spies will be the favorite of more kids in the long run.

Book-A-Day 2010: The Epic Index
Listening to: The Wonder Stuff - Angelica Maybe
via FoxyTunes

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