Thursday, November 6, 2008

Knights of the Lunch Table: The Dodgeball Chronicles

Knights of the Lunch Table: The Dodgeball Chronicles- Frank Cammuso  This is a great comic book for kids. It is put out by the graphix imprint of Scholastic. It is very well written and illustrated by Frank Cammusso. I have always been a big fan of myths and legends, and it isn't uncommon to see them used in various ways as backdrops for other stories. This book takes bits and pieces of Arthurian legend and mixes them together with a lot of standard kid story elements. 

The main character, Artie, is called wart by his sister Morgan. He moves from Cornwall and attends Camelot Middle School. Mr. Merlin is a guidance counselor who helps Artie along in his journey. Artie meets Percy and Wayne who become his friends. He meets Gwen Lee, who also joins with them later. He shows that his destiny is to be a King among students (aside from his last name being King) by opening the unopenable locker #001XCL. He learns of a fearsome beast living in tunnels below ground. He is challenged to a great conflict by the Horde, a gang of bullies and dodgeball champions sanctioned by Mrs. Dagger, the evil principal and 'queen of the school'. In order to defeat the horde, they seek out the help of a 'Savage Scott', or at least the help of the king of the Arcadia Land of Fun Arcade named Scott Savage. Before they can meet this barbarian king they have to defeat his champion Angus in Mortal Kombat... or Savage Blades as the game in the book is called. 

It's really good stuff. It's fun and although it crams a lot of legend and what I assume is sort of pseudo legend into one slim volume, it does it in a whimsical way. It doesn't seem heavy, or overburdened at all. It is light and quick moving. There are perhaps some lessons in there as well, but it isn't preachy and it comes across beautifully. I would certainly put this book in the same class as what I have seen so far from the  Toon Books imprint. I think things like this are a good sign, and certainly a good start. Comic books, Graphic Novels, what have you, kids deserve quality titles written for them, I would put this title in that category. As an old guy who loves fun well written comics for any age, I enjoyed this a lot, and there were some levels built in there that I probably appreciated more than most kids reading it who don't even realize yet that there is source material.


Sandy said...

This sounds like a blast. I liked Frank Cammuso's art in his Toon Book Otto's Orange Day, which I picked up at SPX after chatting with him there. I'll have to get this for my kids and hang on to it until they're old enough.

You should check out Chris Schweizer's recently-published Crogan's Vengeance, which is another solid book for this age group (or maybe a little older) that adults also will enjoy.

Talkin Bout Comics said...

Thanks for the recommendation. For reasons I can't explain at all, I don't think I stopped by his table. I feel dumb about it now, but not as dumb as I feel for not recalling that he did Otto's Orange Day, which I read and posted a review of not that long ago. I saw his name and thought it was familiar, but couldn't recall why.