“…this is clearly a young Superman book with a twist.”
Do you like Superman? Wish he was in high school, easily readable by all ages, and had a good message about watching what you eat? The welcome to Power Lunch, the new (hopefully ongoing) series by J. Torres and Dean Trippe; a delightfully creative and earnest graphic novel that should be given out in lunch rooms along with every well balanced meal.
The book kicks off with a kid named Joey heading to school, and finding out from the OLD weird kid – Jerome – that he, Joey is the NEW weird kid at the school. This gets backed up pretty nicely by the fact that Joey only eats white food, and claims to have superpowers… A Fact he ends up backing up a little bit later.
Okay, spoiler time, because there’s no way to talk about the book without mentioning the central conceit: whenever Joey eats colored foods, he gets a different power. For trail mix, super speed. For bubble gum, super jumping. You get the idea.
Over the course of the tightly written book, Joey and Jerome deal with a bully named Bug, learn how to be friends, and explore Joey’s powers. That’s pretty much it! Except at the same time, the simplicity belies a complex amount of thought that’s gone into each brightly rendered panel.
First of all, like I mentioned up top, this is clearly a young Superman book with a twist. Joey looks like a young Clark Kent, Jerome could be a young Lex Luthor (back when Lex was still a good-ish kid with a red fro), or maybe Jimmy Olsen. And Bug is, I dunknow, some kid at Smallville High or whatever. Leave me alone, I’m no good at metaphors. Point being, if you like the earnestness, honestly, and simplicity that defines a good All-American Superman story, you’ll love this book.
Even if you don’t, though, the story is enjoyably told, and I can’t imagine any kid in the world reading this and NOT imagining that their next bite of food won’t give them a unique super-power. That’s the beauty of the imagination this book will spark in children, and adults alike, as they get to explore the world of food together. In fact, having read a number of Big Two (Marvel and DC) comics that push healthy eating*, Power Lunch does a better job of encouraging kids to stray from chicken nuggets and fries, without being didactic about it than any other book I’ve read.
That’s what good children’s literature should be, right? Fun to read, sparking the imagination, and imparting a good lesson without making the adults – or kids – want to roll their eyes. I’m ready for a second course of Power Lunch, whenever Torres and Trippe are up for cooking up a new volume.
Power Lunch Book 1: First Course is currently in stores