Friday, May 23, 2008


AUTHORS: Eric A. Anderson and Manny Trembley
ILLUSTRATOR: Manny Trembley
LETTERING: Eric A. Anderson
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
GENRE: Humor

FORMAT: Trade paperback
PAGES: 168
COLOR: Full color
ISBN-10: 1-58240-820-0
ISBN-13: 978-1-58240-820-0

Dahlia is home alone on her birthday; her father is nowhere to be found. She waits for him for four days, surviving on the ultimate kid food – peanut butter – but when he never shows she decides to ride out on her panda to find him.

Little does Dahlia know that her scientist father has been kidnapped by the evil Goat in order to develop an army of fighting robots. Goat, you see, wants to take over the world. In order to keep the scientist oppressed, Goat sends a roller-skating samurai-for-hire to deal with her. Little does Goat know that his plan will backfire. Together, Dahlia, her panda, the samurai assassin, and a double-naught agent set out to put old Goat in his place.

Think AUSTIN POWERS meets Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and you have a good idea of what PX! A GIRL AND HER PANDA is about. Humor? Oh yeah, plenty of it. This book is a riot assuming you think a roller skating ronin and a world-dominating cig-smoking goat are funny. I do. Just check your disbelief at the door, go in and have a good time.

The art is unique. The page backgrounds are black and the inking is light. The details come in the form of coloring, which are what give this book its look. I am down with it.

My Rating: Teens and older

The humor and the vocabulary are most appropriate for teenagers and adults. Not that the book is inappropriate for younger readers. It is not, but I think younger readers would miss out on the best parts of the book.

Goat smokes cigarettes. Now he is the evil character so it is easier to justify using this book in a school if the smoking is not cool. Cigs in school literature are a quick way for a teacher to get into trouble, so be aware. One could argue that the Goat is a cool, evil character and that this would promote smoking among rebellious teens. There is also a bit of gun play.

PX! is interesting in that it has multiple story lines occurring at the same time through a large percentage of the book. This is a perfect time to study parallel storytelling and the converging of those stories later on. The creators also used flashbacks, adding another writing tool to the curriculum.

This was originally published as a web comic and finally found its way to print. Click here for the official web site.

Recommended with Reservations
Schools take smoking very seriously, especially in the Midwest, so teachers in conservative school districts may want to steer clear. I think the book has a lot of merit in both escapism and in curriculum. I could find lots of ways to use this book in the classroom, but I would be fearful that parents or administrators might object and cause problems. So I have decided to recommend this book but to do so with reservations.

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