Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth, a fantastic middle-grade adventure comic
Daniel Jackson Lim is the youngest kid in a huge family of overachievers, and he hardly surfaces in his family's consciousness -- which is a good thing, because he's just found a kid in silver underwear who can't remember anything before the moment he hurtled through a hole in space and hit the ground so hard he made a crater, but didn't hurt himself.
The new kid is Hilo, the titular boy who crashed to Earth, and now he lives in Daniel's bedroom -- and follows him to school, after reading the family's encyclopedia set and dictionary (in 20 minutes).
Daniel is worried that Hilo will get him in trouble, but Hilo has it figured out. He releases a raccoon into the school office and, during the ensuing panic, manufactures an entire plausible history for himself and inserts it into the school records. He shows up in class next to Daniel, and alongside of Gina, Daniel's long-lost best friend, who has just moved back to their small town from New York City.
Hilo, of course, is a robot, and he fights bad robots, and the very worst of those robots, Razorwark, has his sights set on Earth. As Hilo recalls more of his personal history, a terrifying mystery is revealed, but in the midst of some of the funniest action sequences and running gags you're likely to read this year.
Every single thing about this first volume in a promising new series is terrific, from the character design to the plotting to the coloring and illustration. Creator Judd Winick (who was an early reality TV star on MTV's The Real World) is a massively accomplished comics creator and screenwriter who has written for Batman, Star Wars and a host of other major comics titles.
It was immensely fun to read at bedtime -- many of the panels are wordless, save for sound effects, and that is the kind of bedtime reading that can get parents and kids hconvulsed with laughter. The only problem was that after I'd finish a chapter and go to bed myself, I'd get up and discover that my daughter had turned on the light and was reading ahead.
Hilo Book 1: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth [Judd Winick/Random House]
Hilo Book 2: Saving the Whole Wide World [Judd Winick/Random House] [Pre-order]
Burbank's amazing quarter-century institution Dark Delicacies is a horror book-, memoribilia- and clothing-store that is a community hub for genre creators, hosting a wonderful stream of events, signings, and even an annual chance to get your photo took with Krampus at a Christmas open-house.
Neil Gaiman says Edgar Allan Poe should be read aloud, and he's right: he recorded this video of him reading "The Raven" in 2016 as part of Pat Rothfuss's Worldbuilders charity drive. It's Poe's birthday today, and I can think of no better way to celebrate it than to listen to it again.
To do in San Francisco this Sunday: Kim Stanley Robinson, Howard Hendrix, and Cecelia Holland at SF in SF
The next installment in the SFinSF reading series features Kim Stanley Robinson, Howard Hendrix, and Cecelia Holland; it's this Sunday, Jan 20, doors at 6, event at 6:30, $10 (no one turned away for lack of funds), at the The American Bookbinders Museum (355 Clementina).
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