Julian Rodriguez Episode One: Trash Crisis on Earth (ADVANCE)


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Julian Rodriguez Episode One: Trash Crisis on Earth (ADVANCE)


  • Words: Alexander Stadler
  • Art: Alexander Stadler
  • Inks: N/A
  • Colors: Alexander Stadler
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press
  • Price: $15.99

A brilliant extraterrestrial in the body of an 8-year-old boy, Agent Julian of the Federation lives undetected among us. Or does he?

For several years now, Agent Julian Rodriguez of the intergalactic Federation has been deep undercover posing as an Earthling child in order to better study the bizarre customs and culture of the "mini-brained" humans. He has suffered much at the hands of the local "education center," poorly stocked "nutrition capsules," and other depravities of Earth life. But the greatest offense comes when his Maternal Unit commands him to empty the local refuse receptacle. Such indignity for an officer of his caliber! Then again…it may all be in "Agent" Julian’s head.

The latest comic/storybook hybrid from Scholastic, Julian Rodriguez is an all-ages tale that reads like the adopted brother of Calvin and Hobbes and Invader Zim. Interpreting the world through an elaborate (and seemingly imagined) sci-fi point of view, Julian gives a humorously absurd account of his most mundane experiences. The back-and-forth exchanges between Julian and the shocked crew of his Mothership are very amusing as we hear an alien’s view of the often baffling behavior of human beings. There is little in the book that we haven’t seen before, drawing as it does from Star Trek, The Coneheads, the aforementioned Calvin and Zim, and other sources. Still, Julian’s twisted take on things will surely give kids a new perspective on the world around them as they reconcile the character’s words with the reality of his life.

The artwork in the book is loose and sketchy to the extreme, emulating the doodles of its young hero. Though not the most exciting or polished of styles, it’s a thematically appropriate choice in its way and one that the book’s target audience will relate to. Writer/artist Alexander Stadler smoothly transitions from illustrated text pages to comic panels and back again, making for a unique reading experience.

Julian Rodriguez should prove an entertaining read for any kid with an active imagination and may even get a chuckle or two out of a parent or older sibling. Buy this for the youngsters in your household but don’t be surprised if they appeal to the Mothership the next time you make them eat their peas.

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