By Dave Roman
and John Green (Not that John Green, YA fans)
Available now from Clarion Books (Houghton Mifflin)
Collaborators Dave Roman and John Green originally published the TEEN BOAT! mini-comic through their own Cryptic Press. You can still visit the old websites associated with that version of the comic. TEEN BOAT! won an Ignatz Award and now it is available in a full color version with extra comics and other bonus material.
The art of TEEN BOAT! is clean with easy-to-distinguish and consistent character designs. The girls aren't overly sexified either. They look like teen girls and their designs are stylized the same as the guys. The art doesn't stand out from the crowd, but it is definitely not hideous. And believe me, you'd be surprised how many comics and graphic novels get published with awful art.
TEEN BOAT! first came onto my radar when I read the AV Club review praising its light parody of Saturday morning cartoons. After reading it myself, I cannot come up with a better description than that. TEEN BOAT! is an updated, self-aware Saturday morning cartoon that invites the reader to laugh at the ridiculous premise and plots and enjoy the story anyway.
The protagonist of TEEN BOAT! is actually named TEEN BOAT! He's a high school student who can turn into a boat at will, but must turn into a boat when wet. He gets in and out of trouble, dates an Italian gondola, and runs for class president. Like most teen guys, he's pretty self-absorbed. One of the running gags is how he doesn't notice that his best friend is both into him and has shape-changing abilities of her own.
Older teens will probably find TEEN BOAT! too short and silly. But hey, I'm an adult and thought it was cute. TEEN BOAT! is probably best for tweens, especially ones that still enjoy the cheesiness of Saturday morning cartoons. There is some underage drinking and gambling, but it the protagonist does not partake and the behavior is punished.