Tag Archives: mike holmes

Review: Secret Coders Vol. 6 Monsters & Modules

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes is a fantastic all-ages graphic novel series that not just entertains but also educates. Blending fun story as well as lessons to teach computer coding, the graphic novels are a perfect way to learn!

This sixth volume is out in comic and book stores now. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW (Hardcover) or TFAW (Softcover)

 

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Secret Coders Vol. 5 Potions & Parameters

Secret Coders by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes is a fantastic all-ages graphic novel series that not just entertains but also educates. Blending fun story as well as lessons to teach computer coding, the graphic novels are a perfect way to learn!

This fifth volume is out in comic and book stores now. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW (Hardcover) or TFAW (Softcover)

 

 

First Second provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Review: Secret Coders Vol. 4 Robots & Repeats

Dr. One-Zero has added a new class to Stately Academy’s curriculum. But in “Advanced Chemistry,” they only teach one lesson: how to make Green Pop! While their classmates are manufacturing this dangerous soda, the Coders uncover a clue that may lead them to Hopper’s missing dad. Is it time to use Professor Bee’s most powerful weapon: the Turtle of Light?

Writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Mike Holmes again deliver an entertaining graphic novel in Secret Coders: Robots & Repeats, but that’s expected as each volume before has impressed effortlessly blending entertainment and education. For those who are unaware of the series, it follows three kids as they attempt to figure out the mystery of their school and eventually battle a villain, but they do so by learning computer programming skills.

What’s fantastic is that Yang teaches the reader as well, explaining each thing clearly and lessons build upon the last, exactly as you would in school. That education is wrapped up in a fun story that’s perfect for kids and adults alike. Even this adult has learned some stuff and taken part in the lesson “breaks” in between each chapter.

Holmes’ art has been great for each issue keeping things simple in a green, black, and white hue that has a geeky energy about it. The style, not quite sure what to call it, has a youthful fun about it all that reminds me of some of the latter 90s kids cartoons and every character has personality in how they look and act. There’s a minimal design in a way about the book but that lets you focus on the tasks at hand and the clues presented. Holmes’ also does an excellent job of creating pages where the programming is front and center while still moving the story forward. The two are blended in a way that feels natural, as if just regular dialogue.

Another fantastic entry into the series, one that I constantly recommend for parents to get their children. It’s education and entertainment together but done so in a way where you don’t know you’re learning. Can’t wait for the next volume in what is an absolute modern classic graphic novel series.

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Mike Holmes
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

:01 First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Secret Coders: Secrets & Sequences

Hopper never dreamed there was a connection between the Bee School and her missing father –  but it turns out that Albert Gracie was also a student of this mysterious coding school. His disappearance can only be the work of Dr. One-Zero. Once a star pupil of the Bee School, Dr. One-Zero is now a green-skinned villain on the hunt for “the most powerful turtle in the world.” And the coders may be the only ones who can stop him.

Secret Coders: Secrets & Sequences is the third volume of writer Gene Luen Yang and artist Mike Holmes all-ages series that not just entertains but also educates teaching readers how to code and even challenging them to do so. The graphic novel series is edutainment in every sense emphasizing the entertainment and packing in the education. Even as an adult I find myself learning with each volume as Yang slowly adds lessons and then asks the readers to apply those lessons while reading and on their own.

The series is one of the smartest and innovative out there marrying an entertaining story with actual lessons. And that entertaining story amps up a bit this volume which introduces us to what is basically a super villain, the first of the series. The introduction is an interesting one in that it takes the series from a grounded one dealing with bullies and mean teachers to a more fantastical adventure involving creepy castles and super lasers. It also fleshes out some of the world’s back story, especially adding to main character Hopper. It’s a solid pivot that matures the series a bit as the audience matures in ways. As they grow, the series can grow too. It’s a tactic we’ve seen successfully employed with the Harry Potter series for example and Yang I’m sure has that big picture growth in mind.

Mike Holmes’ art is fantastic as always. The art is clean, simple, and sparse use of color adds to the “programming” theme of it all in some weird way. The choice reminds me of old computer screens which used a minimal amount of tools to deliver a fun and entertaining experience. Here, we see that used well with Dr. One-Zero, the super villain whose green skin makes him stand out. That’s not a mistake, the guy really has green skin and other than a page where that’s not present, it’s a great touch that adds to the experience.

This series is one I recommend to everyone I can talk to. Perfect for kids and adults it’s a great way to learn computer coding and be entertained at the same time. With each volume and each lesson the series adds to itself expanding the fun and its lessons in a well planned out adventure. Yang, a teacher himself, has created the perfect marriage of graphic novel and education, not just teaching, but having the reader apply their knowledge throughout the reading, and most importantly delivering entertainment. You’ll forget you’re learning Secret Coders is so much fun.

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Mike Holmes
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Secret Coders: Paths & Portals

Secret Coders Vol 2Stately Academy is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! In the last volume, Hopper and Eni discovered a robot in the supply closet and programmed him to do mischief. Now they’re trapped in an underground lair, and they must use their new programming skills to escape.

The second volume of the Secret Coders series, Paths & Portals picks up on the mystery laid out and begins asking readers if they did their homework. Yes, Secret Coders is an educational graphic novel that not only entertains but also teaches real world coding skills.

Writer Gene Luen Yang again nails it out of the park in this graphic novel which continues Hopper and Eni’s adventures but also teaches, it’s edutainment and holy crap is it good. Secret Coders teaches coding as the kids must solve problems using robots that run on the instructions they are given. Readers learn basic commands and how computer programming works with more and more complicated commands added as the story progresses.

This isn’t an information dump, instead, a particular command is taught and then used in a practical way for the story to solve some issue. It also asks the readers to participate by writing their own code along to see if what they came up with matches what the team comes up with in the story. It’s a fantastic and utterly brilliant way to get younger kids interested in computer programming.

It’s also not just for kids. Even as an adult, I felt like I was receiving a refresher on things I learned when I was much younger. It’s a great 101 introduction that takes you along on an adventure that’s as fun as it is educational.

Joining Yang is artist Mike Holmes whose art is fantastic. With minimal colors, the graphic novel has a look that’s inviting to people of all ages and what might seem like a dry idea is enhanced by the art which helps bring out the humor in Yang’s writing. This feels like something aimed at kids in look but as I said it’s great for adults too. I personally love the inviting art.

Like the first volume, this graphic novel is absolutely amazing and a must get for parents who want their kids to be entertained and educated at the same time. Even as an adult I found myself learning as Yang masterfully teaches without you feeling like you’re being taught to. Just an amazing accomplishment that has me excited for the next volume to see what I can learn next!

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Mike Holmes
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Munchkin Vol. 1 TP

Munchkin Vol. 1 TP

Imprint: BOOM! Box
Writers: Tom Siddell, Jim Zub, John Kovalic
Artists: Ian McGinty, Rian Sygh, Mike Holmes, John Kovalic

Based on the immensely popular card game, Munchkin comes to comics! Munchkin takes place in a very flexible mashup of genres. What do Munchkins do? They play for the win. They backstab. They gloat. They whine when someone else backstabs or gloats. If a Munchkin seems to show mercy, it’s because he was bored or distracted. After all, even stomping an ant helps you level up. Collects issues #1-4 and contains an offer for an exclusive new Munchkin playable item!

Munchkin_v1_cover

Review: Secret Coders

Secret CodersWelcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes!

From comic star writer Gene Luen Yang (who’s also a high school computer programming teacher), Secret Coders is an entertaining first volume of he new graphic novel series that mixes entertainment with education. This is exactly the type of book I’d give to a kid who wanted to learn a bit about computers and programming, and wanted a fun place to start learning.

The learning aspect of it all isn’t in your face, and younger kids may need some help with some of the concepts, overall, it’s a fun read that got me to understand some concepts I actually didn’t know myself. With schools across the United States cutting funding for computer programming classes, they’re “nonessential” according to some, the series helps fill a gap in learning, and makes it fun too.

The graphic novel is short, with of course a second volume coming. Hopefully it comes sooner than later (it’s just listed as 2016 right now) as a long gap could hurt that learning, though there’s an online component to check out too. The length I think is key, as it’s geared towards a younger set who may not like reading a 200+ page graphic novel. It also focuses the learning aspects.

Mike Holmes‘ art is fun and perfectly geared towards the audience of the book. The characters all look different, with styles to their own, all done in a cartoonish look. It’s really solid, and I like it, perfect for younger kids.

A wildly entertaining new series that combines logic puzzles and basic programming instruction with a page-turning mystery plot! Bring on the next volume!

Story: Gene Luen Yang Art: Mike Holmes
Story: 9.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Bravest Warriors Vol. 5 TP

Bravest Warriors Vol. 5 TP

Imprint: KaBOOM!
Authors: Jason Johnson & Breehn Burns
Artist: Mike Holmes

The Bravest Warriors have crashed! Shot down by a mysterious enemy, the gang is stranded on an uncharted planet with no way off or help in sight. While the rest of the team tries to find a way to survive (and pass the time), Chris struggles to accept his Emotion Lord abilities and begins to doubt whether or not he should even be a Bravest Warrior. Written by the showrunners of Bravest Warriors, Jason Johnson & Breehn Burns, and illustrated by Mike Holmes (True Story), this volume takes place during season 2 of the hit animated series. Collects issues #17-#20.

BravestWarriors_V5_TP_cover

Preview: Munchkin #4

Munchkin #4

Imprint: BOOM! Box

Author: Tom Siddell, Jim Zub
Artist: Mike Holmes, Rian Sygh

Based on the popular card game. A squad of space marines are sent to investigate a colony that has recently fallen out of contact, but when they get there, they find the first signs of non-human life are super annoying. Plus, an exclusive game card is included with every copy of the first printing!

Munchkin_04_A_Main

Preview: Munchkin #1

Munchkin #1

Imprint: BOOM! Box

Authors: Tom Siddell, Jim Zub, and John Kovalic
Artist: Mike Holmes, Rian Sygh, and John Kovalic

Kick open the door. Kill the monster. Steal the treasure. Screw over everybody you come in contact with. Welcome to the world of Munchkin, a gathering of stories based on the popular game series. It’s a laugh a minute, pal. Plus, every first printing of every issue will ship with an exclusive card for the game.

Based on the immensely popular card game, the Munchkin comic series takes place in a very flexible mashup of genres. Originally a satire of fantasy roleplaying, the game has since taken on non-fantasy and non-gaming elements, and the new comic series is a direct reflection of that. Munchkin#1 features four stories set in and around the world of the game, featuring Spyke, Flower, and all the other characters, monsters, and settings players have come to love.

Munchkin_001_coverA

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