We are the not-at-all-famous father-son duo, Michael and Liam Overby. You may know Liam as the third-grader from various youth sports, his Star Theater IMDB resume, or from his ADHD-fueled inability to sit down for more than two seconds. You may know me from seeing me videoing everything. What you may not know about us is we read — a lot. Now, we may not be as eloquent or poetic as my brother Eric (the brilliant mind behind “Note to Self”) or have the journalistic integrity of my brother John (he writes actual news), but we are undoubtedly funnier and exceedingly better looking.
In our new column “Like My Father Before Me,” we are going to recommend some books to you and your family revolving around a weekly theme.
The theme this week is Graphic Novels.
First things first, yesterday was Star Wars Day (May the 4th Be With You). I already know what you’re thinking: The name of this column is a Star Wars reference, so naturally the theme should be Star Wars this week. Once again, a no-brainer! Well, it’s confession time: While we are big-time fans of the galaxy far far away, neither of us has ever read a single Star Wars novel. Maybe next year. The odds of this entry containing any Star Wars content are approximately 3,720 to 1.
Comic books and graphic novels are one of my favorite mediums of literature (Yes, literature, you snobs). They can tell amazing stories, showcase incredible artwork, or just be straight-up fun. I think we can all agree they are so wizard! Not to mention, if you have a young child learning to read and not enjoying it, say hello to the world of graphic novels for kids (looking at you Dog Man).
“Barb The Last Berzerker” by Dan Abdo and Jason Patterson
8 – 12 Years, 256 pages
Barb The Last Berzerker is about a young hero (think Ahsoka meets Finn from Adventure Time) trying to save The Berzerkers. The Berzerkers are a team of heroes that get captured by the villain, Witch Head. Barb is the newest member and has to rescue the others. Barb has a special Berzerker power where she goes straight X Games mode.
The book is a funny adventure story. She gets into some pretty serious and scary situations, but the main vibe is fun and wacky.
The illustrations are so good! I really like how you can really see the expressions on the faces of the characters. You always know the feeling behind the words they say. The colors are sweet! They use a lot of purples, pinks, and blues that I really enjoy.
Barb always has a positive attitude. She is kind to others and is selfless. Barb is always quick to put herself into danger to help anyone in need — her friends, complete strangers, or even an enemy! Porkchop is a yeti monster who is like Barb’s sidekick who kind of looks like a wampa, just A LOT more friendly. He is a funny and brave companion. I liked Barb and Porkchop’s friendship because, in their world, humans and monsters are at war, so it’s rare that they are friends.
My favorite part in the book (no spoilers here) is when Barb defeats one baddy in battle, and he falls into a deadly mud pit. She jumps in to save him even though he’s a bad guy! Her act of kindness to an enemy means so much to him that he turns into a friend.
I would recommend this book because it has a good message. It shows a good example of a loyal friend. It teaches you to be brave and stand up for others who are not as strong as you, even if you don’t know them. Wars not make one great, but being a true friend does.
- Sweet Art
- Amazing colors
- Good message
- Easy, fast read
- I don’t have the 2nd book yet!
“Batman: The Long Halloween” by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale is a foundational piece of Batman lore. It is an absolute classic. The gist here is Batman investigating a serial killer. Feel like you’ve seen a movie lately with a similar description? That is because The Batman film with everyone’s favorite vampire boy/Gryffindor, Robert Pattinson, is heavily influenced by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s work in The Long Halloween (along with another classic, Batman: Year One).
The noir factor is turned all the way up in this detective story. And, in my opinion when it comes to Batman, noir is the way. It features untouchable crime bosses, a femme fatale figure (crazy cat lady), old hardened cops, a mystery serial killer, and a 6-foot ninja vigilante detective who kicks more butt than a Mandalorian bounty hunter.
The art in this one is beautiful. Dimly lit characters dominate the pages. Tim Sale pencils a massive Batman with some extra long bat ears and flowing cape Vader would covet. Commissioner Gordon’s mustache is a solid 10/10 — a formidable character in its own right that not even Gotham City can corrupt. The famed rogues gallery of Gotham is on full display. You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. Every scene is either at night or indoors flooded by shadows, while flashbacks are featured in a black and white scheme
One of the notable accomplishments of this Bat tale is, for the first time, we get to see the downfall of Harvey Dent before he fully becomes the villain known as Two Face. Harvey is depicted as a tortured soul with more duality than the suns of Tatooine. This is where the classic Batman trope of The Vigilante, The Commissioner, and The DA working together. That is — until the DA breaks, or maybe he was broken all along.
Look, I’m not some mindless philosopher, I know a lot about Batman comics. You can trust me. This is a classic, definitive Batman story. It’s also a great place to start if you’ve never read a comic book but have a general idea of some Batman mythos.
- Dark and moody but cinematic art
- Noir detective story
- Intricate plot with fun side plots
- Stellar mustache
- Crazy cat lady
- This time, I can’t think of any
- These aren’t the droids you’re looking for
May the 4th be with You and Happy Revenge of the 5th. And remember, “A good book is the best of friends, the same today and forever” ⁃ Fortune cookie fortune