Explorer: The Lost Islands

Kazu Kibuishi, Author
Edited by Kazu Kibuishi. Abrams/Amulet, $19.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-4197-0881-7
Paperback - 126 pages - 978-1-4197-0883-1
Prebound-Sewn - 126 pages - 978-0-606-33456-3
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In this eclectically entertaining follow-up to Explorer: The Mystery Boxes, Kibuishi and a crew of cartoonists again take turns weaving seven tales based around a loose theme. This time the motif is islands, and the contributors are left to interpret it in illustrated shorts. Some, by using their strange and remote settings as microcosms, underscore the value of hard work (Jake Parker’s “Rabbit Island”) or finding one’s niche (Katie and Steven Shanahan’s “Radio Adrift”), while others examine more abstract concepts such as exploration and isolation (Jason Caffoe’s “Carapace”). Together, they coalesce into a product greater than the sum of its parts. Standouts include Chrystin Garland’s “The Mask Dance,” a gorgeous rendering of a young islander’s terrifying nocturnal encounter with shamanic spirits, and Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier’s fable “Desert Island Playlist,” about a castaway girl who is literally confronted by her past and future. With this second showcase Kibuishi affirms his editorial savvy for amassing talented creators and providing a vehicle to let them do what they do best: use comics to tell funny, thoughtful, and just plain good stories. Ages 9–up. (Oct.)■
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