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Explorer: The Mystery Boxes [Paperback]

Kazu Kibuishi
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 6.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Mar 2012 Explorer
Explorer is an exciting anthology of short graphic works by established artists and innovative newcomers in the comic and animation fields, who have each created a unique story on a central theme: a mysterious box and the marvels, or mayhem, inside. Collected and edited by Kazu Kibuishi these well-written, beautifully illustrated stories reflect a range of styles from the humerous to the fantastic. Explorer will appeal to young adult readers already in4ouch with the comics world and warmly invite in the more reluctant readers of this age group.

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Frequently Bought Together

Explorer: The Mystery Boxes + Explorer: The Lost Islands + Prince of the Elves (Amulet)
Price For All Three: 20.01

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781419700095
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419700095
  • ASIN: 141970009X
  • Product Dimensions: 22.8 x 15.3 x 0.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 314,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

About the Author

Kazu Kibuishi is the creator of the graphic novel series Amulet. He is also the editor and art director of eight volumes of Flight, a groundbreaking graphic anthology. Jason Caffoe is a contributor to the Flight anthologies. He has worked as the lead production assistant fo Kazu contributing colours and background art to the Amulet series. Emily Carroll is an up-and-coming artist who works in animation forr children's television. Stuart Livingston has contributed to both the Flight and Popgun anthologies and had produced storyboards for Disney, Warner Bros. and Cartoon Network. Johane Matte has worked as a storyboard artist at Nickelodeon and is now at Dreamworks. Her film credits include How to Train Your Dragon, Avatar and The Last Airbender. Her comics have appeared in several volumes of Flight. Dave Roman is the creator of Astronaut Academy Zero Gravity. He is the co-author of The Last Airbender: Zuko's Story and X-men: Misfits. He is also the creator of the teen horror graphic novel Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery. Rad Sechrist is a cartoonist, a contributor to Right and a storyboard artist at Dreamworks, where he worked on Kung Fu Panda II and Megamind. Raina Telgemeier is the creator of the young-adult graphic novel Smile. She previously adapted and illustrated The Baby Sitters Club into a series of graphic novels.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Tales of boxes 22 Feb 2014
By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAME TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Boxes. Boxes with mystery contents. They may have treasure, or a demon, or an alien creature, or even a demonic wax doll. Each of the seven stories in "Explorer: The Mystery Boxes" revolves around a... well, a mysterious box that changes the life of whoever handles it. A couple of the stories are too goofy for me to really get into them, but the others are simply sublime -- bittersweet, hopeful, charming and/or creepy.

The stories, in order, are:
- A girl finds a box with a wax doll inside. But while the doll initially helps her with her chores, it also begins to cause trouble... and refuses to leave.
- While cleaning his closet, Oliver finds a strange puzzle box -- and is immediately swamped by greedy wizards who want to buy it from him. However, Oliver has his own plans for the box.
- A young treasure-hunter ventures into a vast labyrinth, and finds a mysterious box with the help of a horned creature. What is inside? And can it match the horned creature's dreams?
- After her grandmother claims to have caught a butter-stealing spirit in a box, a curious girl digs it up and checks inside... and ends up being transformed into a teeny-tiny spirit herself. How can she get back?
- After her father is killed, Clara sets out for vengeance against the man who killed him. But when she meets a stranger with a glowing box, she learns the true price of war.
- Alien worker Deets is assigned to organize thousands of boxes... only to discover that something very destructive is inside one. Will it ever come in handy?
- While James is hiking, he is drawn up into a vast floating box. Inside, an alien tells him that the Earth is doomed, and that he has been chosen out of all humans to be taken to another world.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  21 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little bit of lesson but a lot of fun 15 Sep 2012
By Andrew C Wheeler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
So, first there was the series of Flight anthologies, edited by Kazu Kibuishi -- they showcased mostly younger cartoonists, mostly people working in and around animation, and weren't officially for younger readers, though they were almost entirely young-reader-friendly. Flight ran eight annual volumes, and ended last year.

There was a spin-off anthology, Flight Explorer, which was specifically targeted to younger (roughly tween) readers -- though with pretty much the same crew of creators, very similar or the same main characters, and not much difference from the main Flight volumes. That was published in 2008, and was billed as "Volume One," though a second volume hasn't yet appeared.

And now there's EXPLORER: THE MYSTERY BOXES, which smells a whole lot like a themed FLIGHT EXPLORER, VOLUME TWO: seven graphic stories, edited by Kibuishi, all about mysterious magical/scientific/marvelous boxes and the people that open them, also aimed at middle-grade readers. Now, my major problem with the big FLIGHT anthologies is that they were each three hundred pages of stories that were all mostly the same kind of thing: young or otherwise naifish protagonists wandering through big, visually exciting worlds, learning Important Lessons, being Nice, and probably saving something along the way. FLIGHT EXPLORER was better: it focused on adventure, not so much on lessons, though it also seemed to be trying to launch each of its main characters as the hero of a series of separate graphic novels. (And the moderate success of that might be why we haven't seen a second volume.)

MYSTERY BOXES is the most circumscribed of the books: all of the stories have a mysterious box, which then opens to reveal something wondrous, unpleasant, or otherwise surprising, and then the heroes have to deal with that situation in eighteen pages (or, in one case, only sixteen). The resulting stories are pretty varied, though -- the unpleasant box-dwellers range from the creepy, in Emily Carroll's "Under the Floorboards" to the Warner-Brothers-inspired goofy, in Johane Matte's "Whatzit," and the lesson stories -- like Jason Caffoe's "The Keeper's Treasure," "The Soldier's Daughter" by Stuart Livingston with Stephanie Ramirez, and Kibuishi's own "The Escape Option" -- at least teach slightly different lessons from each other. And the sheer fun-mayhem level is high, in "Whatzit" as well as Dave Roman and Raina Telgemeier's amiable cartoony "Spring Cleaning" and Rad Sechrist's Littles-inspired "The Butter Thief" (which has a muted moral of its own).

As usual, the art is all excellent and very colorful -- even the creators that don't come out of animation embrace mostly bright palettes ("Butter Thief" uses muted tones in pursuit of a similar aim, and "Under the Floorboards" has a softer, scratchier feel) and clean black lines to define spaces. These are fun stories -- with a hint of spinach in the lessons most of them teach -- that should be enjoyed by tweens and viewed favorably by those tweens' gatekeepers (parents, teachers, librarians), who will be happier at those lessons that the target audience probably will be.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tales of the boxes. 20 Mar 2012
By E. A Solinas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Boxes. Boxes with mystery contents. They may have treasure, or a demon, or an alien creature, or even a demonic wax doll. Each of the seven stories in "Explorer: The Mystery Boxes" revolves around a... well, a mysterious box that changes the life of whoever handles it. A couple of the stories are too goofy for me to really get into them, but the others are simply sublime -- bittersweet, hopeful, charming and/or creepy.

The stories, in order, are:
- A girl finds a box with a wax doll inside. But while the doll initially helps her with her chores, it also begins to cause trouble... and refuses to leave.
- While cleaning his closet, Oliver finds a strange puzzle box -- and is immediately swamped by greedy wizards who want to buy it from him. However, Oliver has his own plans for the box.
- A young treasure-hunter ventures into a vast labyrinth, and finds a mysterious box with the help of a horned creature. What is inside? And can it match the horned creature's dreams?
- After her grandmother claims to have caught a butter-stealing spirit in a box, a curious girl digs it up and checks inside... and ends up being transformed into a teeny-tiny spirit herself. How can she get back?
- After her father is killed, Clara sets out for vengeance against the man who killed him. But when she meets a stranger with a glowing box, she learns the true price of war.
- Alien worker Deets is assigned to organize thousands of boxes... only to discover that something very destructive is inside one. Will it ever come in handy?
- While James is hiking, he is drawn up into a vast floating box. Inside, an alien tells him that the Earth is doomed, and that he has been chosen out of all humans to be taken to another world.

The only story that didn't truly grab me was "Whatzit" -- it's not a BAD story per se, but it's very slapsticky and cartoonish. In those ways, it seems out of sync with the other lighter stories in this collection, such as the charming "Spring Cleaning" or the frenetic Japanese-themed "Butter Thief. The remaining four stories are truly entrancing, ranging from quiet horror to haunting sci-fi, from a misty meditation on revenge to a fantastical ode to the imagination.

And every story's artwork matches the narrative. For instance, Kazu Kibuishi's is misty, shadowed and quietly graceful (especially the outdoor scenes); Emily Carroll's is very simple and slightly sinister; Jason Caffoe's is filled with luminous blue light and glowing gold; and Johane Matte's looks kind of like an adapted story from a Cartoon Network show, very jagged and colorful.

"Explorer: The Mystery Boxes" is a good showcase for some very talented comic artists -- beautiful art and stories that range from heartbreaking to kooky. A couple didn't quite grab me, but even the lesser stories aren't too bad.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great, kid-friendly graphic novel! 27 Feb 2012
By S. O'Donnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a fantastic compilation of short graphic novel stories, put together by eight top comic creators. Seven different stories and fabulous color graphics will keep middle grade readers engaged for hours. Both my 10-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter LOVED it. In fact, I had to steal it from my daughter in order to write this post.

My son's favorite thing about these stories was the endings. He told me he loved the way they kept the mystery alive, even at the end, and then insisted on reading three of the endings to me. Both kids loved the recurring theme of the mystery boxes in every story. I love the graphics.

If you like kid-friendly graphic novels, I highly recommend picking up a copy of this one.
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 Graphic Artists + 1 Theme = Great Fun 4 April 2014
By A. Silverstone - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The graphic artists in this collection were given an assignment. Write a story about a mysterious box and the marvels inside. The 7 stories that resulted are very different, of course, but very entertaining. The first story, "Under the Floorboards" by Emily Carroll features a twist on the golem story. The wax figure from the box who seems to be ideal helper for the unnamed girl shows that there can be too much of a good thing. "The Butter Thief" by Rad Sechrist takes us into the Japanese demiworld with a not quite malevolent spirit on a quest for butter. "The Escape Option" by Kazu Kibuishi who also edited this collection, uses a deus ex machina devise to help nudge mankind onto the right path.

The stories can be thought provoking, and the beauty of the varied styles from each artist gives you a taste of their work.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Anthology 5 Mar 2014
By Michael E. Huppman - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
I started with the Amulet series, and am now a big fan of Kibuishi's work. This book is an anthology of his stuff and that of a bunch of his colleagues, but it's very good. The diversity between the different artists is a definite plus. Visually stunning all around.
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