The Hilo Graphic Novel Series

Publisher: Random House

Writer: Judd Winick

Artist: Judd Winick

Colors: Steve Hamaker

Letters: Judd Winick

Review by PeteR

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Hilo creator, Judd Winick has had an interesting career. He was on the MTV television show The Real World: San Francisco. He authored an amazing graphic novel about his friend and AIDS activist Pedro Zamora called Pedro and Me, (a book that should be mandatory reading for every High School sociology and college human sexuality class).  For Image Comics and Oni Press he created a series called The Adventures of Barry Ween which (in my opinion) maybe the funniest comic book ever created. He has written various on-going comic book series including Batman, The Outsiders, Justice League and the Exiles. He also created the cartoon The Life and Times of Juniper Lee.

Judd Winick’s work has garnered three GLAAD awards. He has been nominated for The Eisner Award. He won the Publisher Weekly’s Best Book award. In 2001, Pedro and Me won six different American Library awards.  The Hilo series has repeatedly been a staple of the New York Times best seller list. This is an extremely talented guy who knows how to maximize a graphic narrative.

It’s hard to describe the series and give it the justice it deserves. One way is to imagine the results if someone were to put Magnus the Robot Fighter, the Little Rascals, the best of the Warner Brother’s Loony Tune cartoons, Usagi Yojimbo and 10 pounds of pure joy in a blender and pushed the frappe button. Chances are Hilo is what would pour out.

The Hilo series currently comprises three glorious graphic novels published by Random House. The first book, Hilo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth deftly sets the stage for the main characters. There is Daniel Jackson Lim, commonly known as D.J. as well as the rest of his family. Anyone who as ever felt isolated while being surrounded in an ocean of people can relate to D.J.

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He is soon joined by his best friend, the resourceful Gina Cooper Gina 001

And, of course, Hilo (pronounce High-low),

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who arrives on Earth in silver underwear and an insatiable need for knowledge, from a giant portal.

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Book One Hilo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth starts with a chaotic foot chase away from a giant robot and introduces us to what becomes the universal cosmic greeting “AAAHHH! Daniel, Gina and Hilo start to learn who Hilo is as they battle space robots and public school administrations. Since you asked, yes, a raccoon is used as weapon of mass hysteria.

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Book Two. Hilo Saves the Whole Wide World has Hilo, D.J. and Gina trying to stop an invasion of monsters and robots through a galactic portal. All this while trying to balance their lives as middle school students and various family demands.

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Book three, Hilo, The Great Big Boom continues the epic as Hilo and company take the battle into another universe where magic and science merge. Warning, each book ends on a cliffhanger that will leave staring at the calendar in anticipation for the next saga.

The descriptions provided above for each book are sparse because I don’t want to give too much away. There are events and surprises that the reader should experience without me providing spoilers. Every chapter contains adventure, action and humor galore.

Why you should buy this book? The series combines strong characterization with humorous and accessible artwork. If you own a comic book store, you need to have this series in stock. Every time a parent, uncle, aunt, cousin or whoever asks you to recommend a book for a child, the Hilo series should be what you reach for first. If you are a comic book reader, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity you will love the Hilo series because it is the definition of the word “FUN”.

Book four is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2018

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