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Funny Book Friday: A Parent’s Guide to Cura Te Ipsum Volume 1

Funny Book Friday: A Parent’s Guide to Cura Te Ipsum Volume 1

Disclaimer:  I’ve been sick with the flu for almost two weeks. Just keep in mind that I’m kinda high on cold medicine while I write this….

Cura Te Ipsum
Written by: Neal Bailey
Illustrated by: Dexter Wee
To Buy: www.CharlieEverett.com

Cura Te Ipsum was my favorite find of Geek Girl Con.  The con was winding down and we were finally taking a few moments to check out the expo hall in detail.  Author Neal Bailey was sitting at his table and a mock prop from the book caught Nate’s eye. Since I was standing there awkwardly,  I asked him what the book was all about.  He summarized the plot and when he was done Nate politely asked “What age do you recommend this for?”  and I knew that his interest had been piqued.

Cura Te Ipsum is the story of Charlie Everett.  From The Cura Te Ipsum website:

Charlie Everett is much like any other Charlie, the everyman. In most universes, Charlie Everett gets sick of his life (where he’s most often a guidance counselor who tells other people how to live their lives, while not knowing how to live his own). After a certain point, he’s fired, and he goes home and sticks a pistol in his mouth and blows his brains out. Charlie Prime, our hero, is stopped by another character, Leo, who introduces him to the concept of the multiverse, and tells him that there’s a whole team of Charlies, Cura Te Ipsum, fighting to stop him from committing suicide across time and space.
Charlie is our hero. He is brave, sad, and after he meets the Dark Everett, steadfastly committed to keeping himself and other versions of himself alive, to end the threat.

Nate is in his angsty tween phase, and I think the idea of sad, suicidal Charlie being saved by confident, alterna-Charlie (Leo) was appealing to him.  He’s also really into alternate universe stories at the moment (he loves Marvel’s Noir series, for example).   Neal’s answer to the age appropriateness question was “It’s dark and has swearing and violence; but all in context.  You know your kid and what they can handle”.  

The book is indeed dark and violent.  Nate handled it just fine for the most part, but one of the more violent scenes in the book did seem to stick with him. If your kid is emotionally mature enough to handle a dark storyline about suicide, the book is worthwhile read.

I think this is a fantastic book, and Nate agrees.  He cannot wait to get his hands on Volume 2, and neither can I.  The writing is snappy without being trite and the art, even without the aid of a colorist, is beautiful.  (The lack of color in the book actually has the benefit  of taming some of the violence; blown off heads just aren’t quite as gross without color).  The story gets off to a nice quick start, pulling the reader into the story right off the bat.  The main antagonist is introduced with enough exposition to intrigue the reader, while leaving enough unanswered questions to keep you wanting more.

The idea of alterna-yous searching you out to tell you it’s going to be okay and invite you to be part of a inter-universe super squad is fresh and unique and is sure to appeal to many.  Cura Te Ipsum explores the human will to survive, the struggle to pull yourself up from darkness and find a purpose.  So many of us have felt as bad as Charlie at one time or another, this book will resonate with that part of you.   
Parent’s Guide:
Age Appropriateness: It’s a pretty dark subject matter, and there’s a good amount of swearing and violence, though it’s all in context. This one is definitely one to read with and/or before readers younger than 16. Nate really enjoyed it, but it was a bit disturbing to him.  I don’t think it’s anything worse than what’s sometimes on TV.

Things to look out for: Suicide, swearing, violent images including a background image of someone eating a corpse.

Talking Points:Why does Charlie want to commit suicide.  Why do you think the other Charlies want to save him?  Why do you think that Dark Everett wants to stop them?  Why does the group use the phrase “Cura Te Ipsum” and how does Dark Everett use the same phrase, even though he has an opposite objective?  What would you say to Charlie?  What do you think alternate versions of you would be like?

Funny Book Friday: A Parent’s Guide to Teen Titans #1

Welcome to my new column!  In Funny Book Friday I’ll review a comic (either a single issue or a trade) and post my thoughts, including a Parent’s Guide with possibly objectionable material listed – things that I may or may have not found to be inappropriate, but feel that some parents may want to be aware of.  And because I think that comic books are FANTASTIC for kids and their parents to read together I’ll a include list of questions you and your kids can discuss together.  Have a Family Comic Book Club and have everyone read the same book over the course of a week and then talk about it over dinner, it’ll be fun!

Teen Titans #1
Written by: Scott Lobdell 
Drawn by: Brett Booth.
Published Monthly by DC Comics

For my first Funny Book Friday I wanted to read something that was totallly new to me, but still appropriate for at least a teenaged reader and so I figured I’d go for something in DC’s New 52.   My pals at Arcane Comics recommended and provided me a copy of Teen Titans #1.

I’m not a big DC reader, I wanted to use their recent reboot to discover some of the books my readers, friends and colleagues have been talking about for years.  Outside of the gorgeous All-Star Superman and mind-blowing Red Son, I am pretty clueless about most of the characters and goings on in the DC universe. You all may know what the deal with Tim Drake and Kid Flash are, but I’ve only ever heard of them in passing.  I’m truly coming at these reintroduced characters with very little knowledge about them, and experiencing them the way only a first time reader could.

This book is clearly a first issue.  Most of the content is character introduction and exposition.  You know how when you go back to watch the pilot of an established TV show and it’s weird because characters that have become more nuanced over 5 seasons seem like characitures of themselves?  I’m hoping that this book goes in this direction.  There’s a lot of potential for the characters and plot they introduced but right now it’s a lot of exposition and introductions.  I expect the next few issues to follow in that vein as the rest of the Teen Titans team is introduced.  The writing is snappy enough to show promise, and the mysteries introduced piqued my interest. I could definitely see kids getting into this,especially as a first foray into the more complex characters and story telling that can be found in more mature comics.  I’m sure those already familiar with Teen Titans have a better idea about where this is going than a brand new reader like me, but from a first time reader’s perspective it was clear enough to not confuse me, but mysterious enough that I left the first issue eager to find out what happens next.

Parent’s Guide: 
Age Appropriateness: This book is rated Teen. Besides the use of a single mild curse word and some flagrant disregard for authority it’s pretty mild.  I’d let Nate (age 11) read this one with a bit of guidenance.
Things to look out for: One mention of the word “ass” as in “That kid is acting like an ass” (not a direct quote, but in that same context), a teen driving what is implied to be a stolen car, a teen disregarding a firefighter’s instructions, a teen blowing up his apartment to escape a villain.
Talking Points: Why does Kid Flash behave the way he does?  What is he trying to accomplish?  What do you think Red Robin’s goal is?  How does Cassie feel about her powers and why do you think she feels that way? What did you think of the ending? What do you think will happen next?



Have a suggestion for a book for Funny Book Friday?  Leave it in the comments or email me at sharon(at)ParentingGeekly.com