The Crogan Adventures: Catfoot's Vengeance
Written and Illustrated by: Chris Schweizer
Color by: Joey Weiser, Michele Chidester
Publisher: Oni Press
Format: Softcover, 6 x 9, 200 pages, Full Color, $17.99
The first time I met Chris Schweizer I counted him a friend. The first time I read one of Schweizer's Crogan Adventures I wanted him to count me as not only a friend but also a FAN!
Chris is indeed and always will be my friend, but to keep a fan is something else. I've been writing this review column for years! I love writing Katie’s Korner, which has been a column and a monthly news broadcast. That said, something I have learned over the years is that it's challenging to tread lightly when in "friendly waters." What are friendly waters? Writing reviews about your friends' newest graphic novel or comic is near impossible. But from time-to-time I have chosen to do so, for one reason or another.
Well, my friend, let's see if I am still a fan of this all-new color version of Schweizer's newly renamed The Crogan Adventures: Catfoot's Vengeance . . . In short, for this review the question becomes: "Can the newly edited story by Schweizer, along with the most important updated addition of color (by Weiser and Chidester) reinvigorate this Crogan graphic novel to keep me not only a friend, but also a fan?"
I've always loved Schweizer's Crogan series so the bar is set high. Real high.
To start, Mr. Schweizer shows off one of his strongest suits, his ability to both visually and verbally engineer story cues that intriguingly push a story on its way and a reader into a story. The plot is the foundational key idea and detail to all of the Crogan family's adventures.
With a framing story, Schweizer first captures our contemporary, familial interests by starting off with a modern Crogan family. Dr. Crogan is parentally frustrated with his young adult son, Eric Crogan. Eric seems to be trying to figure out how to make good decisions in the face of peer pressure.
So what about the new edits and the excellent addition of color? A total win by Schweizer, Weisner, and Chidster. My only criticism of the past version was that the black and white sometimes complicated the reading. With the new addition (especially the color), my fandom is not only intact but increased. Hats off to Schweizer, Weiser, Chidester, and Oni Press.
English Language Arts Elements of Story
Plots: An early eighteenth century naval adventure on the high seas near the West Indies introduces readers to this member of the Crogan family, a newly-and-determined-to-be successful "Captain" Crogan. That is, "Captain," if he can handle the consequences and implications that come with his new job, just like the modern Eric Crogan must decide right from wrong as well. So what will these two distant relatives do?
Major Characters: Dr. Crogan, Eric Crogan, Eric's friends, Mrs. Munger, Catfoot Crogan, Eric Crogan's brother, Captain Catfoot Crogan, Captain Catfoot Crogan's newest and enthusiastic crew, Mate D'Or, multiple naval vessels in search of the new Captain Catfoot Crogan
Settings: seas near the West Indies and open seas
Themes: past-present-future, identity, legends, rivalries, pirates and navies, planning and scheming, individual and community
Reading Recommendations Using the Common Core Standards For Young Adult Readers
Key Ideas and details
1. Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text.
2. Determine central ideas or themes of a text and analyze their development; summarize the key supporting details and ideas.
3. Analyze how and why individuals, events, and ideas develop and interact over the course of a text.
* The number(s) referenced above corresponds to the number used by the Common Core Standards (www.commoncore.org)
Lesson Idea for Young Adult Readers:
It's pretty obvious what this lesson plan should be. I would suggest that educators and young adult readers consult both the previous (black and white) version of Schweizer's graphic novel and compare and/or contrast it with the new (color) version.
1. What is the same?
2. What is different?
3. What critiques and praise do readers have of the initial and new publications of Schweitzer's text?
4. If readers and educators could offer further advice or compliments to Schweizer, Weiser, and Chidester? And why?
Dr. Katie Monnin is an Associate Professor of Literacy at the University of North Florida. Besides the joy that comes with reading comic books and graphic novels, Dr. Monnin enjoys a Peter Pan-ish life of researching and writing her own books about teaching comics, graphic novels, and cartoons: Teaching Graphic Novels (2010), Teaching Early Reader Comics and Graphic Novels (2011), Using Content-Area Graphic Texts for Learning (2012), Teaching Reading Comprehension with Graphic Texts (2013), and Get Animated! Teaching 21st Century Early Reader and Young Adult Cartoons in Language Arts (2013); Teaching New Literacies in Elementary Language Arts (in press, 2014). When she is not writing (or sitting around wondering how she ended up making an awesome career out of studying comics and graphic novels), Dr. Monnin spends her time with her two wiener dogs, Sam and Max.