Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, 2011 First Second Books, 192 pages
Ben Hatke, known to Catholic homeschoolers for his illustrations in many familiar titles such as Angel in the Waters and Once Upon a time Saints (Bethlehem Books) among other things, has written a full length "graphic novel". Entitled Zita the Spacegirl, his comic book tells the many adventures of a likeable and good girl, Zita, who is accidentally thrown into a space odyssey of sorts. To help her friend Joseph, Zita bravely faces all sorts of adventures!
I have loved Ben’s art since I first encountered it and I was very excited to get a hold of this book as this seems to be what he loves to do best! I grew up with nice comic books, free from the reputation they suffer here in the United States (and I must add deservedly so for the most part), and it is a delight to have my children enjoy Zita as I enjoyed Tintin, Asterix and others.
We fell in love with Zita for many reasons: first of all, Zita is good, brave, kind and cute! Then the characters created by Ben are unique and original and hilarious! The story is fast-paced and very adventurous! Shortly after we got the book my 11 year old was reading in the car with a friend and I had to chuckle at their comments and excitement over their joint reading. The art is wonderful: Ben is a fantastic, talented and solid artist. I must add that the reviews from major sources of this new graphic novel have been very positive—Kirkus calls it “out of this world!”—and I think well-deserved!
In preparing this review I chatted with Ben over the internet and asked him a few questions that will relevant to Mater & Magistra readers. He was fun to work with, and watch the next issue of Mater & Magistra for it!