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Buzz! by Ananth Hirsh


by Ananth Panagariya, Tessa Stone (Illustrator)

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Buzz! by Ananth Panagariya is a graphic novel about street fighting. Except, the fighting is done with words, not weapons. Nonetheless, the fights are still illegal and still dangerous.

Webster (ha ha) is a new high school student but is quickly roped into a spelling bee gang. He's been warned about them from his sister. But he's good at it. He's quick and he has flair. His words carry power.

Drawn in black, white, and yellow, to drive home the bee aspect of the spelling bee, Buzz! takes a ridiculous sounding concept and makes it work. There is the drama of a family torn apart by crime (spelling), there's the thrill of power that comes from winning, and the lingering danger of either being caught or injured to the point of never being able to fight again. It has all the ups and down and excitement of a manga. ( )
  pussreboots | Apr 12, 2015 |
This is a strange little fellow. It's one of those books that take you half-way through till you fall for it. The second half was just so much more entertaining as by then I'd caught up in the story and characters, which are very unusual, to say the least. This is a take on the martial arts battle mangas only here we have spelling bee competitors battling each other with the letters forming into solid shapes and attacking the other person, causing injury. OK, it sounds weird and honestly, I thought what the heck? when I first started it almost not wanting to finish the book. But I'm glad I did because it has a good message of believing in yourself and it turned out to be quite a fun story. I can see myself enjoying this much more as a teen as I was one of those "word nerd" girls. LOL. I liked the art; very manga-like but the use of yellow in the b/w illustrations was not aesthetically pleasing. ( )
  ElizaJane | Mar 20, 2015 |
BUZZ! takes an odd concept (spelling bees are illegal so a circuit of back-ally contests rises) and runs with it, to hilarious results.

The best thing about BUZZ! is back-from-the-dead Tessa Stone's super stylish, ridiculously neon art. (See the preview: http://onipress.tumblr.com/post/69644454671/buzz-free-preview) But the writing is also great, consistently clear even when tackling difficult subjects, and often laugh-out-loud funny.

This is a great little indie comic. Recommend to fans of "Hanna is Not A Boys Name!", "Applegeeks" and "Johnny Wander". ( )
  EMaree | Feb 11, 2014 |
ARC provided by NetGalley

In a world where spelling bees are regulated, illegal underground spelling bees become a way of life, where letters become weapons to defeat or harm your opponent. Young Webster and his sister Merriam live a quiet life studying for the sanctioned spelling bees...until the day Webster gets caught up in an underground Spelling Bee after impressing the Outlaw King, who grooms Webster to get into the regional Spelling Bee and expose the Spelluminati for the scoundrels they are! Along the way Webster makes friends with other underground champions and prepares to battle the one person he never thought would cross his path at the final battle.

Ananth is bit better known for his webcomic that he works on with Yuko Ota, called Johnny Wander (an autobiographical strip) but he branches into fiction here with this excellent, fast paced tale. You wouldn't think spelling could be fun, but Ananth turns it into a power to make letters come alive and makes it illegal outside of sanctioned events. It's a fast paced story with action, battles, and a couple of death matches and interesting and entertaining characters. I ended the book wanting more and I really hope they give it to us.

The art is Scott Pilgrimish in style, with sharp lines to create shadows and depth to the characters. The characters are well designed and Tessa does an excellent job of blending words in with the characters making sure that neither gets lost. The bulk of the book is black and white, with yellow used to accentuate the colors. And to be honest I wish they had chosen a different color or perhaps a different shade of yellow as it's a bit eye glaringly bright at times. Overall though great illustrations.

I can't wait to read this in print and I really hope they come out with a second volume in the series. I can see middle school aged and up enjoying this fast paced enjoyable comic, and who knows it might even create some new spelling champions out there? I give the book 4 out of 5 stars. ( )
  zzshupinga | Jul 20, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Panagariya, AnanthAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stone, TessaIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Webster is a bundle of nerves headed into his first day of high school, but whatever academic and social horrors he feared are nothing compared to what's in store for him as he stumbles into an unsanctioned, street-level spelling bee! And this ain't no staged production, either - letters fly like jump kicks and the losers leave bruised and beaten more often than not! Soon he's propelled into the fast-paced world of competitive spelling by the mysterious Outlaw King and his cohort the Black Queen. Does Webster have what it takes to get the spelling world buzzing?… (more)

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