Ever wanted to read a comic but didn't know where to start? Interested in superheroes, manga, romance, webcomics and more? Look no further! We have all the recommendations you'll ever need.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Tiny Titans: Welcome to the Treehouse

Writer: Art Baltazar and Franco
Art: Art Baltazar
Publisher: DC Comics

What's it about?
The Tiny Titans series is written for kids aged, at a guess, 5 to 10 years.  The Titans of the title are the Teen Titans, but aged about 7 or 8, attending primary (elementary) school.  They don't solve crime or fight monsters - they go to classes, get the bus to school, hang out together at lunch and tease each other.  It might sound mundane, but if you are 7 that's what your life is.  These stories have superheroes doing the same thing.  The teachers are villains from the DCU but there's no nastiness here.  It's light hearted and it's adorable.

What's good about it?
It's a perfect book for young children, whether they know about superheroes or not.  The characters keep their personality but anything too adult is either removed or toned down.  The inclusion of the DCU villains as teachers is just perfect for this setting.  The language is clean and the costumes are age appropriate.  Everything is told from the kids' perspective.

If you want to know who the heroes (and their adult counterparts) are, from top down, left to right, we have:
Miss Martian (Martian Manhunter), Raven (Trigon), Red Devil (Blue Devil)
Wonder Girl (Wonder Woman), Cyborg (no adult counterpart)
Speedy (Green Arrow), Beast Boy (the Doom Patrol), Starfire (no adult counterpart),
Aqualad (Aquaman), Robin (Batman), Kid Flash (Flash).

The book consists of 26 stories (originally published in 6 individual comics).  Some stories are just one or two pages, others are split into several parts, placed between other stories.  There are plenty of games for kids to play too - count the alpacas (that Beast Boy has turned into), themed mazes, matching the Tiny Titans to their accessories, stuff like that.

If you know a bit about the adult Teen Titans personalities, you will see parts of them reflected within this book.

What's bad about it?
Lots of adult comic fans regard this series very highly.  However, if you are an adult and not a DC reader you may find this banal.  It is marketed at all ages, but really is best for kids, or mature adults who get the references to mainstream continuity.  When I first read it I wasn't very impressed, but when I got to know some more kids and could read it through their eyes, I appreciated it a lot more.

What's the art like?
Much like Baltazar and Franco's other books, this art can be described as cute.  Its focus on kids means the pages are filled with cherubic, round heads with just the eyes and mouths to give the expressions.  But what expressions!

In this page, Robin is changing his costume and has just been asked if he's going to a disco:
He might be pleased, Starfire and Cyborg are quite rightly baffled.
The there's these panels featuring Blue Beetle and Supergirl's first meeting.  Check out Supergirl's body language and Blue Beetle's facial expressions.  You don't really need the words to understand how the characters are feeling:
Quite often the only body parts we see of adults are their legs and torso, this is a great visual way to reinforce the kids' eye level perspective of the book:
There's a 3 page story where Robin and Raven are attracting their namesakes.  It's a great example of the way the story is told through art as much as words:
I think this would be good for kids who aren't comfortable with reading.

More information
Price: £9.99
ISBN: 1401220789 
Also available in the series are Adventures in Awesomeness, Sidekickin It and The First Rule of Pet Club.
It's written by the same team who did Superman Family Adventures and Patrick the Wolf Boy.
If you like these books I'd also recommend checking out the webcomic JL8 and also Supergirl Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade.

No comments:

Post a Comment