I adore Art Baltazar’s artwork, with its bright neon colors and cute, expressive characters. Little wonder that his Tiny Titans comics have become a New York Times bestseller, showcasing his excellent interpretations of DC Comics stalwarts.
His original creations lack that household familiarity, but are just as worthy of checking out, especially for young readers wanting an easy but fun read. There’s lots of action and adventure in this first installment of a series created ages ago, brought back now for a new generation.
Craynobi is an adventurous member of the Cray, one of the races that co-exist peacefully on a world filled with mystery and wonder. Their allies are the gentle Yahgeez who live in the title land of Yahgz. Whenever hostilities threaten the Yahgeez’ peaceful nation, they call upon their more action-minded Cray friends to help them repel invaders. Craynobi has become so honored for this by his Yahgeez friends that he’s considered family, earning the moniker “Craypa” as he grows older and entertains Yahgeez children with stories of his adventures.
While his own son Crayski has loved growing up with the Yahgeez, their little unit — including their Cray companion Weez — is eager to travel back to Cray City. Crayski wants not only to see the land of his Cray family but to answer the call of destiny. He has, after all, been prophesied to be a savior and leader of both Cray and Yahgeez origin. When Weez receives a mystical summons informing him of great danger coming to Cray City, our intrepid heroes must pack up and head to a home some of them have never even seen. But not without telling a few stories first, of course.
There is a lot of adventurous back story in these pages, serving to set up future installments of the book. While the stories are entertaining on their own, there’s a definite feeling of preamble to the entire novel. Which is fine! Background is necessary, and young readers can have a short attention span, so this absolutely works as a book with that particular target audience.
Included with these adventures is a cute short comic from Mr Baltazar’s Gillbert title. The excerpt shows his continuing evolution as a smart, thoughtful creator, and will hopefully turn readers on to more of his excellent work.
Yahgz: The Craynobi Tales 1 by Art Baltazar was published August 1 2023 by Papercutz and is available from all good booksellers, including