Skip to main content

Last Man: The Stranger by Balak, Michaël Sanlaville and Bastien Vivès, 207 pp, RL 4



The Last Man trilogy is the creation of a trilogy of men well known for their work in their home country of France. Balak, a star from the world of French animation, Michaël Sanlavalle, a star from the world of French video gaming and Bastien Vivès, a star from the world of French comics joined forces to create this fast paced graphic novel that feels familiar and new at the same time.

The Last Man trilogy begins with The Stranger.  The world of The Last Man has a medieval European feel to it with Asian influences. The story opens on students in a dojo-like school practicing battle techniques in preparation for the annual gladiatorial contest, the Games. The hero - or one of the heroes - of The Last Man is twelve-year-old Adrian Velba, small for his age, loved and protected by his single mother who works long hours in a bakery to put meager amounts of food on their table. Also, Adrian's mother is a Bridget Bardot, grade A knockout. When Adrian's battle partner falls ill, he is saddened, but not for long. The mysterious Richard Aldana arrives and enters the competition, disdainful of the magic (think Avatar the Last Airbender magical battles) used by the fighters and  disregards the rules. Marianne Velba reluctantly agrees to let Adrian partner with Aldana and the story takes off from there.  While there are many elements of The Last Man: The Stranger that feel familiar, there is a maturity to the story and the illustrations that I have not encountered yet. I am excited to read the rest of the series and think about the differences between a French born graphic novel and an American one...

The Last Man: The Stranger ends with a brutal (for the reader, and possibly for Adrian) cliffhanger. Happily, the next volume, The Royal Cup, comes out in June of this year!

More images from The Last Man: The Stranger:













 Balak, Bastien Vivès, and Michaël Sanlavalle 


Source: Review Copy





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!

Be…