Sci-Fu

Sci-Fu

Hip-Hop, Sci-Fi and Kung Fu all hit the turn-tables for the mash-up mix of the year! Cartoonist/force of nature Yehudi Mercado (Pantalones, TX, Rocket Salvage) sets his sights on 1980s Brooklyn and Wax, a young mix-master who scratches the perfect beat and accidentally summons a UFO that transports his family, best friend, and current crush to the robot-dominated planet of...

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Title:Sci-Fu
Author:Yehudi Mercado
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Sci-Fu Reviews

  • Heather Taake

    So fun! Love the rhymes, the fact that it’s set in the 80s, and the artwork is awesome!

  • Amanda [Novel Addiction]

    This was cool! I definitely want more.

  • Betsy

    Not too long I attended a local comic convention in the Chicago area call C2E2. I’d been to the New York Comic Con once or twice, but that was small potatoes compared to this extravaganza. While there I had the chance to see something that a lot of librarians miss: Comics in their natural element. Comics from big publishers. Comics from small publishers. Independent artists. And, naturally, panels panels panels. On one such panel I saw publisher Charlie "Spike" Trotman of Iron Circus Comics spea

    Not too long I attended a local comic convention in the Chicago area call C2E2. I’d been to the New York Comic Con once or twice, but that was small potatoes compared to this extravaganza. While there I had the chance to see something that a lot of librarians miss: Comics in their natural element. Comics from big publishers. Comics from small publishers. Independent artists. And, naturally, panels panels panels. On one such panel I saw publisher Charlie "Spike" Trotman of Iron Circus Comics speak about the disconnect between comic creators and libraries. As she pointed out, a lot of librarians are unaware of the vast number of comics available out there and a lot of comic creators are aware of the distinct advantages that come from getting your work in libraries. She was entirely correct on that front. Comics for kids have never been more popular than they are today, but the output available from the standard children’s presses is far outstripped by the need. Add in the fact that 90% of what you find is by white creators, featuring white characters and you’ve got yourself a disconnect. While all these thoughts percolated in my head, I heard about

    , a book that falls right smack dab into the shouldn’t-work-but-it-does school of thought. It’s not a book that’s going to correct the schism between what’s available and what libraries provide, but it’s a pretty little babystep in the right direction.

    As a kid, Wax can probably be best summed up as a boy with modest dreams. He only wants to be the greatest DJ the world has ever known. He only wants to have Pirate Polly, that incredibly cool girl down the street, as a girlfriend. He only wants to write rhymes that impress beyond measure. But Wax is just a normal kid with a best friend, little sister, and uncle. It’s the 1980s in Brooklyn and nothing out of this world has ever happened to him. Nothing, that is, until an evil alien robot hears his record scratching and interprets the sound as an intergalactic challenge. Now Wax has discovered that he, his family, and Pirate Polly have all been transported to the world of Discopia where he has very little time to master the music/kung-fu art of Sci-Fu before the baddies take him down for good.

    I’m an adult that pretends that she can read a book like a kid. Until I had kids I think I honestly believed that I could read with a child’s eye. But you forget, as you age, what it’s actually like for a kid to encounter a book that’s entirely new. I come at every book with a wealth of knowledge about what’s come before, what it might be referencing, and how it compares to other books in the same genre. A lot of a time a kid doesn’t have access to that information. They’re meeting these books on their own terms, and their interpretations are vastly different from my own. It can be near impossible to actually put yourself into their shoes . . . unless you’re dealing with a book like

    . People often talk about what happens when a white reader encounters something that is Not For Them and how discombobulated they become. That’s not wrong. I acknowledge freely that I waltz into the reading of a lot of children’s books with a sense of ownership. That’s why

    instantly befuddled me. This book is loaded down with references that I am simply not getting. Hip-hop references. Graffiti references. Kung Fu references. Heck, from what I understand the whole first chapter is filled with visual references to Beastie Boys songs. As I read, I realized I had to let a lot of this stuff just slip past my head. It was oddly freeing, knowing as I did that I didn’t need to get any of those references to enjoy the book. After all, a strong work doesn’t need nudges and winks to its adult gatekeepers to stand on its own. Just strong storytelling and killer art.

    Which isn’t to say I didn’t do my homework after reading this book. In interviews, Mr. Mercado has mentioned that the hip-hop influences on this book included Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Run DMC, and A Tribe Called Quest. Kung Fu? That’s all about the Jackie Chan. One interviewer mentioned that what the artist does in this book isn’t just referencing hip-hop and Kung Fu but “sampling” them, as you would a beat or musical through line. I liked that link he made between comics and music. It’s something that’s been explored far more on the adult side of graphic literature, but deserves some serious thought here. Mr. Mercado even went so far as to create a Spotify playlist for this book. Now it looks like I’ll have to start calling books “must reads” alongside their “must listen” playlists.

    For years authors of books for kids have raided their own childhoods for their writing. Nostalgia is only a part of the reason. For many, the mantra to “write what you know” is easier when you can time travel to a point in your own past when your emotions were at their keenest and clearest. These days, however, there’s yet another reason. Set a book before the 90s and you’ve the additional advantage of telling your tale before the electronic revolution. Mobile phones and the internet are plot busters, plain and simple. That said, I think Mr. Mercado selected 80s Brooklyn as much for its place in history and the romanticism that goes with that as he did plot conveniences. And anyway, I’ve seen books that tried to make it out like scratching and flattops are contemporary, and they never go well. This book, frankly, makes more sense.

    But is it any good? Actually, yes. It’s a lot of fun. I think I heard a librarian somewhere claim that the rhymes (and there are a lot of them) don’t always scan on the page, but I reject that idea outright. The scansion was never a problem, as far as I could tell. I like Mercado’s rhymes, almost as much as I like his art. True, it’s busy. If you’re a fan of pure esthetics and clean lines against single color backgrounds, this is not the book for you. Visually, the story is trying to land as much pop, vitality, energy, wit, and sheer eyeball jarring magnificence in each panel as possible without distracting the young reader away from the storyline. The end result can sometimes be a little uneven, with certain fast sequences coming across as more coherent than others, but it’s never boring and it's impossible to ignore.

    In an interview, Yehudi Mercado mentioned that he’d encountered two different instances where famous DJs mentioned a link between their scratching and extraterrestrials. That’s one of those weird facts that leads artists to books like this one. Now don’t go handing this book to someone you’re trying to convert to loving comics. I’ll tell you right now, due to the complexity of the material, this is best suited for those folks that have loved comics for years and are interested in trying something new. Brown kids on graphic novel covers are rare in libraries, and black kids, sad to say, are almost unheard of, even in 2018. Seriously, walk over to any library’s comic book section and grab me three books there with black boys on their covers. This book steps into that gap with a love and affection for music and Kung Fu that few would be able to match, creating something wholly, incredibly, entirely new. Long story short: A must have for libraries nationwide.

    For ages 9-12

  • Kayla Leitschuh

    If you like Robots, DJ Battles, and Intergalactic Rivalry then this action-packed graphic novel is sure to please.

  • Manon

    Wax is a kid from Brooklyn, he loves DJing, rapping and hanging out with his best friend. One day, as he’s DJing, something very weird happens and his entire house and the street near it is transported into another planet and dimension.

    The welcoming committee is a talking snowman that tells him he’s a sci-fu master and and a giant robot that tries to kill him.

    That’s when trouble starts…

    When I read the synopsis, I was very intri

    Wax is a kid from Brooklyn, he loves DJing, rapping and hanging out with his best friend. One day, as he’s DJing, something very weird happens and his entire house and the street near it is transported into another planet and dimension.

    The welcoming committee is a talking snowman that tells him he’s a sci-fu master and and a giant robot that tries to kill him.

    That’s when trouble starts…

    When I read the synopsis, I was very intrigued. It seemed like a very interesting idea. And it was interesting. Sadly, it was also confusing, too much was happening too fast, it lacked built up. I also couldn’t feel the love between the characters and I didn’t have time to fall for them either.

    It all just felt rushed. And that’s a damn shame.

  • Kate

    Good little middle-grade graphic novel that manages to seamlessly connect sci-fi and hip-hop in 1980s Brooklyn. Some of the references may go over the head of younger readers, but all the knowing inclusions that Mercado adds into the narrative don't detract from the story-telling, so readers won't get drawn out or lost in this.

    The art style is influenced by '80s street art, and although a few panels are noisy making it hard to distinguish the voices and stalling the narrative a few times, it add

    Good little middle-grade graphic novel that manages to seamlessly connect sci-fi and hip-hop in 1980s Brooklyn. Some of the references may go over the head of younger readers, but all the knowing inclusions that Mercado adds into the narrative don't detract from the story-telling, so readers won't get drawn out or lost in this.

    The art style is influenced by '80s street art, and although a few panels are noisy making it hard to distinguish the voices and stalling the narrative a few times, it adds to the over-all theme of the comic.

    Would recommend for readers aged 10-14, and probably parents aged 40-60 too!

  • Billie

    The illustrations are awesome and the story is fun, but the rap battles don't translate well to written text and, since the raps are kind of central to the whole concept of the book, it negatively impacted my impression of the book as a whole.

  • Chad

    A blended up puree of Scott Pilgrim and Parappa the Rapper with a swirl of Run DMC.

  • Watch Books

    *Received through NetGalley*

    DNF

    2.5

    My first time reading/reviewing a "comic book" so my expectations could have been way too low or high but.... The book started off somewhat strong, then completely spiraled in my opinion.

    First and formost, a fun, chill, creative book with an all black cast...mostly (I'll get to that)

    I no doubt got the funky feel from the artwork and characters, and it was fun and refreshing being that its not the vibes I get from most of my reading.

    Here and there, I r

    *Received through NetGalley*

    DNF

    2.5

    My first time reading/reviewing a "comic book" so my expectations could have been way too low or high but.... The book started off somewhat strong, then completely spiraled in my opinion.

    First and formost, a fun, chill, creative book with an all black cast...mostly (I'll get to that)

    I no doubt got the funky feel from the artwork and characters, and it was fun and refreshing being that its not the vibes I get from most of my reading.

    Here and there, I ran across some one-liners that really tickled me, so more fun points.

    I really want to applaud the author for the original concept. Like I said, I don't usually reads these types of things (comics/hip hop), but it was the concept of disk jockeying mixed with kung fu, thrown in with futuristic vibes, robots and a talking snow man that really got me.

    now......

    If you somehow were keeping up with my painful updates, you will know that this book went on for WAAAAY to long, I hardly made it past the half point mark. You know when you keep reading and reading something, but when you go to look at the page count, its like you aren't moving along at all? This.

    The dialog was kind of hard for me to follow. It was a lot being said, but not really....its hard to explain, but annoyed me greatly.

    It didn't really stick to the "concept" very well. We got a lot of chitter from Wax and his friends and family, but not very much of the "Hip-Hop, Sci-Fi and Kung Fu". It felt like a lot could have been cut out, and more could have been focused on, explained better.

    The random/timed fights that kept popping up? They should have been exciting but they just were more annoying each time.

    Towards the middle.....the polly thing with the sound? Wax ignoring his family? His best friend deciding to turn on them or something? And that weird jumping into the past fight sequence? The "twist" from the bad guys? All should have got me wanting to read more but sadly just had me wanting to slam my head against a wall. This coupled with the biggest turn off for me that was....

    Polly. Upon first being introduced to Wax's crush, I thought she was cute, loved her purple puff and eye patch, and I could tell she wouldn't disrupt the story. But you know what else I thought?

    "How nice! Cute black girl who is the love interest that isn't displayed in a negative light."

    But haha, jokes on me because guess what? Naaaaaaturally, Polly isn't African American. She is Hispanic.

    !!!!!!!!!!!

    I wanted this not to bother me, but reading from that point had me scratching my head like....why? For her to be cute, or nice, she must not have been able to be just black. And then I looked to Wax's sister who looks like mini terminator in a tutu at times. She has a bad attitude, a weird hairline,scary teeth and eyes, and is overall a ball of negative energy. She is also the only black girl in the book. Hmmmm....

    The author is not black, so if this was intentional or not, I don't know, don't care. Maybe it was ok because when black people write things they make sure to do things like that aaaalll the time, so now its just whats expected. Stuff like this happens too much though, and just left a bad taste in my mouth so...yeah.

    A cool concept and art work that no doubt takes you on a funky adventure. Was way to long for my liking taking the subject and story line, but that may differ from person to person. Not one of my strongest recommendation due to my dislikes. But hey, different strokes. -Zoe

    (P.S. And now I'm confused.... Was Wax and his family African-American or not? I was getting Jamaican vibes but now I'm not sure. Seems kind of hodge podgey to me and real mish mash if so.)

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