The Drained Brains Caper (Chicagoland Detective Agency Series #1)by Trina Robbins, Tyler Page (Illustrator)
Raf knows Megan is trouble from the moment she steps into his mom's pet food store asking for a tarantula. But there's one thing you can count on in Chicagoland: weird things happen several times a day. Megan is a vegetarian, manga-reading haiku writer. She definitely doesn't fit in at Stepford Academy, her new summer school. The other students are happy to be
Raf knows Megan is trouble from the moment she steps into his mom's pet food store asking for a tarantula. But there's one thing you can count on in Chicagoland: weird things happen several times a day. Megan is a vegetarian, manga-reading haiku writer. She definitely doesn't fit in at Stepford Academy, her new summer school. The other students are happy to be in class. Too happy. And everyone looks and acts exactly alike. That's weird. Megan is determined to dig into Stepford's secrets, but soon she's in way too deep. Raf may be the only human being she knows who can help. But with zombified students, very mad scientists, and the school psychiatrist on their trail, they're going to need a whole lot more help. We did say that Chicagoland is weird...
Thirteen-year-old Megan Yamamura is new in Chicagoland. She had a bit of trouble in her last school when she accidentally set off the sprinkler system (burning a haiku written to a boy who wasn't worth it). Now she attends the Stepford Preparatory Academy, where the kids are a bit too smiley. When Megan, a vegetarian, refuses to eat the swill served in the school cafeteria (and kind of starts a food fight), her father takes her to see psychiatrist Dr. Vorschak. However, Dr. Vorschak's not what she appears to be; soon Megan is in dire need of assistance. Good thing she made one near-friend in Raf Hernandez, who works at his mother's pet-supply store. Together with talking dog Bradley, who learned English from watching detective movies, the newly christened Chicagoland Detective Agency solves the case! Underground-comix icon Robbins pens a passable origin story for the first volume of this new series, and Page's manga-influenced black-and-white panels are a good match. With the setup accomplished, readers can hope that now the actual mysteries can begin. (Graphic mystery. 8-12)
Meet the Author
Writer and feminist herstorian Trina Robbins has been writing books, comics, and graphic novels for over 30 years. Her most recent books are The Brinkley Girls (Fantagraphics) and Forbidden City: the Golden Age of Chinese Nightclubs (Hampton Press). Her newest graphic novel is the three-part YA series Chicagoland Detective Agency for Graphic Universe.
Tyler Page lives in Minneapolis with his wife Cori Doerrfeld (who is also an artist) and their daughter. He was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2003 and received a Xeric Foundation grant in 2007 to publish the first volume of Nothing Better. To date he has created and published 6 books of his own in addition to doing comics and illustration work for a variety of commercial clients. When he's not drawing he serves as the Director of Print Technology Services at the Minneapolis College of Art & Design.
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Raf Hernandez was not at all happy when Megan Yamamura walked through the door of his Mom's pet supply store saying, "I want to buy a tarantula." Duh, there was a big sign in front of the cash register stating they didn't sell animals. His mom always said, " . . . nobody has the right to own another living creature" and that included not selling them. Megan annoyed Raf even more when she told him she was "politely asked to leave" her old school, was into haiku and read manga. TMI and he wanted her out of there. Out she went and it wasn't long before she was walking the halls of Stepford Preparatory Academy going to summer school. All the kids at that academy looked and acted like a bunch of zombies and even had bandages plastered to their foreheads. They were totally model students and enough to make anyone barf. Speaking of which, the lunches were horrid and there was no way Megan would even touch them because she was vegan. Sloppy Joes were simply out of the question, to say nothing of liver and onions. After school she was off to see Rav and ask him for his cell number and email. He started to warm up to her when she told him how she "totally got expelled from school" for burning her haiku in the girl's room. How cool can it get? It wasn't long before she got into trouble in her new school and her father had to take her to have her head examined at Dr. Vorschak's. After she got rid of her dad, the evil doctor injected her with a knockout drug and had her gagged and bound to a table. The lunatic began to talk about her master plan to make Megan into a model citizen along with the rest of the zombies at the Academy. It would be easy. Dr. Vorschak sneered and said, "A simple nip in the prefrontal lobe of your brain, a tuck in the left and right sides of your head, a squirt of sheep genes in the lymph nodes . . . and you will become a model junior citizen." A mysterious caged mutt was watching carefully as the scene unfolded. Megan began to text a haiku to Raf. Would he be able to rescue her before she got that prefrontal lobotomy? Just what did that mutt know about what was going on at the Academy? Megan, Raf, and "doggy Einstein," Bradley, meet up to solve a fabulously freaky mystery at Stepford Academy. Typically manga is drawn in black and white and I found this to be particularly appealing. This book, the first in the series, introduces Raf Hernandez and Megan Yamamura, who quickly become best friends. To add to the mix is "doggy Einstein," Bradley. Together they form the Chicagoland Detective Agency. I loved the way this mini manga mystery unfolded so smoothly and would love to read the next one in the series. Of course the Chicagoland Detective Agency claims there is "no case too weird" for them to tackle. "The Maltese Mummy" is the next one up in the series and if it is as good as this one (weird and nicely wacky), this series will be a hit! Quill says: Even the most reluctant reader will be turning the pages quickly in this book to find out just what is turning all the kids into zombies at the Stepford Preparatory Academy!
I was really surprised by this when I opened the pages. I knew absolutely nothing about the author, Trina Robbins or this series. What an eye opener! Trina Robbins has been writing for thirty, yes I said thirty years. Her website is @ http://www.trinarobbins.com/; it is cute and very informative. She has penned a variety of graphic novels; just the covers give you a glimpse into the diversity of her work. My fingers cramp up just typing the title to this graphic novel: Chicagoland Detective Agency: The Drained Brains Caper. I enjoyed many things about this: the artwork was really good, the dialogue was engaging, the characters were spot on, the plotline was enjoyable and the young adult theme was refreshing. Trina Robbins has put together a very nice graphic novel and one that can be shared with the whole family. I like the fact I can share this with my youngest children and discuss the reading experience. That now a days is difficult as far too many cross lines that don't need to be crossed. Here is a bit from the graphic novel itself: "Raf knows Megan is trouble from the moment she steps into his mom's pet food store asking for a tarantula. But there's one thing you can count on in Chicagoland: weird things happen several times a day. Megan is a vegetarian, manga-reading haiku writer. She definitely doesn't fit in at Stepford Academy, her new summer school. The other students are happy to be in class. Too happy. And everyone looks and acts exactly alike. That's weird. Megan is determined to dig into Stepford's secrets, but soon she's in way too deep. Raf may be the only human being she knows who can help. But with zombified students, very mad scientists, and the school psychiatrist on their trail, they're going to need a whole lot more help. We did say that Chicagoland is weird..." I hope that you give this graphic novel a chance, pick it up, and have some fun that doesn't come from the DC/Marvel stable. Trina Robbins delivers the total package here and then some. What are you reading today? Check us out and become our friend on Facebook & Linkedin. Go to Goodreads and become our friend there and suggest books for us to read and post on. You can also follow us on Twitter, and the Gelati's Scoop Facebook Fan Page. Did you know you can shop directly on Amazon by clicking the Gelati's Store Tab on our blog? Thanks for stopping by today; We will see you tomorrow. Have a great day. http://www.gelatisscoop.blogspot.com