Review: Mini Marvels by Chris Giarrusso

I don’t usually review comic books, since I hardly read them as it is; nor do I think that graphic novels have equal literary merit to “proper” novels; but I couldn’t help but share this nice title I found. 🙂  By the way, I’m not getting paid to do this (although I wouldn’t mind if I was), and the following are my unbiased opinions on this product.

When I was a kid, I didn’t read all that many comics.  I read an all-ages manga once; while it was pretty neat, I can’t say I’d go out of my way to read others.  My parents approve of The Peanuts, and I have read a smattering of Calvin and Hobbes at other people’s houses, but that’s about it.  Now, as a tentative fan of the Marvel franchise who’s seen a couple of the movies (and I plan on seeing more thanks to what I reviewed in my previous post), I wanted to be able to read about my favorite superheroes in comic-book form without compromising my values.  Let’s face it – a vast majority of comic books available today are not appropriate for kids — or conservative readers in general.

I recently learned of the Mini Marvels series, created and drawn by artist Chris Giarrusso, author of the G-Man series.  It’s marketed as an all-ages comic series featuring everyone’s favorite superheroes and villains from the Marvel franchise as super-kids!

Spiderman struggles with his paper route, which involves delivering to his archnemesis and best friend’s dad, the Green Goblin (uh-huh-huh-huh); Charles Xavier (who bears an uncanny resemblance to Charlie Brown) runs a “group home” for mutants, without any adult supervision (he uses his psychic powers to keep government officials disinterested in his activities); Captain America tries to return a book to the library that’s sixty years overdue; Wolverine, who’s still short for his age (and is surprisingly adorable too), embarks on a quest to the supermarket for his favorite cereal, competing with the Blob, Toad, and Sabertooth along the way; young Iron Man, who wears a fake mustache under his mask, tries to engineer the perfect armor for all of the Avengers; our favorite Asgardian foster siblings squabble like little Midgardians; and the Hulk (who is often joined by his friends Red Hulk and a new character, Blue Hulk) babysits the Power Pack as toddlers.  It’s all insanely adorable and many of their antics border on outrageous.  Outrageously funny, that is.

I dare you to tell me these guys are not adorable!  Come on, I dare you!

And now for the content advisory:

As comics go, I found Mini Marvels to be quite tasteful, except that….

  • There were a couple of comics that take place at the beach, where there are several women milling about wearing bikinis, but it’s nothing that parents can’t touch up with markers to turn them into more modest, one-piece bathing suits, T-shirts with “boy shorts” style swim bottoms, or even scuba suits, if you’re feeling particularly artistic. 😀  (Just keep in mind that Mini Marvels comics may be considered collectors items in some circles, and taking a marker to your comics might not be a good idea if you plan on reselling them as such.)
  • Most times, to my relief, Storm wears a respectable costume with full coverage, or “normal people” attire, but there’s one strip where Storm is wearing what looks like a revealing, one-piece bathing suit.  (I think this is one of her regular costumes from the classic X-Men comics.)
  • Human Torch asks various female characters, “Is it hot in here, or is it just me?” in an attempt to flirt, but to no effect.
  • There were two brief instances I could remember where two superheroes kissed each other.
  • Hawkeye briefly expresses jealousy of Thor, whom he says is always “scoring with the girls.”
  • In one comic, Loki wears baggy jeans that reflect the fashion trends of the “Midgardian slums,” which reveal his white underwear in the back.  This is played for comedic effect, and in context, I thought it wasn’t all that bad.
  • This probably isn’t that big a deal, but after several characters ask Giant Girl to do favors for them because she’s so tall, like playing on their basketball team, she complains that people only want her for her body, and not her mind.
  • Lastly, there’s some name calling, like “jerk” and “sucker,” and characters tell each other to “shut up,” (or in Asgard, “shutteth up,”) but that’s about as strong as it gets language-wise.

Please consider this information when determining whether Mini Marvels is appropriate for your home. 🙂

* * * *

You can read just about every Mini Marvels comic known to mankind in the Mini Marvels Ultimate Collection, which is presumably available for purchase wherever comic books are sold.  The hardcover edition, I’ve found, is pretty pricey, but the paperback edition can be found all over for under $15.  It’s about 200 pages of pure adorableness, and if you’re a fan of the Marvel franchise looking to share your fandom with a younger audience, or you just want some (relatively) clean comic book for your own entertainment, I think Mini Marvels is the way to do it.

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