Amulet: The Fantasy Worlds of Kazu Kibuishi

            Kamulet       Ikazukibuishi
            (The cover of Amulet, and author self-portrait from Scholastic's Amulet site)

One of the great pleasures of reading is coming across a book that surprises you and exceeds your expectations. Amulet, Book One: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi is one of those books, a graphic novel from Scholastic that is aimed at children and young adults, but which rewards adult reading as well. Right at the beginning of the book, a family loses its father. The mother, son, and daughter relocate to an old ancestral home, only to be immediately engulfed by a rich, fantastical world beneath the house.

Kibuishi, who edits the magnificent Flight series for Villard, does several things incredibly well in this opening volume: he raises the stakes from the beginning and makes it clear to the reader that this is serious and that actions have consequences. He also manages to create a vivid, deeply imaginative fantasy world that is evocative of his influences but not derivative of them. From the strange house underground to be-tentacled assailants and bizarre tick-like creatures, the setting comes alive and seems deeply believable. Scholastic has an amazing interactive webpage for Amulet that explains even more--definitely something to amuse and entertain you for more than a couple minutes. Curious about the origins of what seems to have all the makings of a modern classic, I recently interviewed Kibuishi via email...

Amazon.com: Please describe where you are while answering these questions.
Kibuishi: I am sitting in my studio where I work, located in Alhambra, California.  It's a fairly large loft with hardwood floors and lots of natural light.  A few of my friends work here with me on their own projects, and when we're at the final stretch of production on an Amulet book, a few more artists are working in here to help me get it done.  Today, my wife Amy and I are the only ones working in here.

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