New from syndicated comic strip artist Mark Tatulli comes a full-color middle grade graphic memoir that centers on Mark's own experience in the summer after seventh grade.
As a middle schooler, Mark finds himself on the smaller side of the physical spectrum--being short AND skinny has really wreaked havoc on his confidence. So to end his bullying woes and get the girl--or at least the confidence to talk to the girl--he starts to explore bulking up by way of the miracle cures in the backs of his comics. But his obsession with beefing up is soon derailed by a new obsession: Star Wars, the hottest thing to hit the summer of 1977. As he explores his creative outlets as well as his cures to body image woes, Mark sets out to make his own stamp on the film that he loves.
Mark Tatulli's graphic memoir debut is a humorous and heartfelt take on body-image, finding a creative outlet, and spending a summer in the 70's.
In this pop culture studded graphic memoir from cartoonist Tatulli (Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic), it is 1977 in Willingboro, N.J., and seventh grader Mark has a summer goal: to bulk up with the help of mail-order, get-big-quick supplies he finds advertised in the comics he loves, and gain enough confidence to face his bullies and approach his crush. Then Star Wars hits theaters, and Mark makes a new plan: creating a Star Wars spoof movie. His confidence grows as he directs his energy and artistic skills into film and discovers his interests and talents, an idea the book develops well. Mark's winning resilience contributes to making his embarrassing misadventures goofy yet relatable. The dynamic, cartoonish panels, occasionally contrasted with the protagonist's own distinctly illustrated comics and storyboards, are filled with cinematic movements that drive the gag-filled story at a quick clip, while simple but expressive characters show authentic emotions. The highlight is the last third of the story, which focuses on the funny, genuinely impressive movie production process, with detailed costuming (tin foil and cut-up rugs), filming, and special effects (eggs and exploding firecrackers) sequences that prove pivotal to the protagonist's artistic and personal growth. Ages 8 12.