If you missed this 2011 7-Imp post, let me quickly summarize for you: Zita’s first set of adventures—Ben Hatke’s Zita the Spacegirl, released by First Second Books last year—is the story of a girl who lives on Earth but is transported to another planet when her friend is kidnapped by what can only be described as an alien doomsday cult. In the new world, she meets warrior robots; giant mice; mechanized, spider-like predators, out to get her; a mysterious man, also from Earth, named Piper; a large, lumpy, friendly creature named Strong-Strong; and the Scriptorians, the planet’s first inhabitants, who intend to use Zita’s friend Joseph as a ritual sacrifice to prevent the destruction of their planet. Whew. When it’s all said and done, Zita must make a huge sacrifice in order to help her friend.
In the new adventure—Legends of Zita the Spacegirl, which was released earlier this month and which Kirkus calls “a charmingly dashing interplanetary adventure” and “utterly bewitching”—Zita discovers that she’s now renowned as an intergalactic hero — but also that fame is not all it’s cracked up to be. Complicating matters is the junkyard robot Imprint-o-Tron who impersonates Zita after spotting a Zita poster. And I can’t give the entire story away, should you want to read this yourself, but I will say that Zita goes from hero to fugitive, and she must also learn how to work with the Zita-doppelganger to help save a planet. This tale also involves the mysterious and beautiful Madrigal, not to mention the evil Star Hearts, “interstellar scavengers capable of unassisted spaceflights” and the “scourge of many a planetary system.”
And, boy howdy, does the whole thing end with a big, juicy, delicious cliffhanger, too.
Zita, installment number two, doesn’t disappoint is what it boils down to. Our beloved protagonist is fearless and her adventures are thrilling. Or, in the words of Madrigal, Zita shines in a crisis and inspires loyalty. Yes. That, too.
I thought I’d interrupt all of creator Ben Hatke’s drawing to ask him how easy (or not) it was to write and draw the sequel; how many Zitas we can expect; and lots of other stuff, including ways in which I can bribe him and his family into stuffing me into their suitcase for their next trip to Italy, which may involve cookies. I also include a few questions from my own Zita-crazed daughters. (This is not something I regularly do, lest it become very kids-say-the-darndest-things here at 7-Imp, but I’ll do it just this once.)
On that note and with regard to this wonderful comic at Ben’s site, I have to say that Zita’s adventures went a long way in teaching my six-year-old how to read, given her immense devotion to the books. Now, my first child came out of my womb with a book in hand and nearly went from not-reading to reading fluently, but the six-year-old is learning to read as most children do, and I mean to tell you that she rips through these—way more than most books—because of her giant crush on Zita. To be clear, both girls are bananas over these books, but it’s remarkable how far the two books went in engaging the child still working her way around words in books.
Ben shares lots of art and early sketches from the new book today. I thank him for taking the time to visit 7-Imp again (especially for taking the reins on this interview, which he really did, given my busier-than-normal work schedule right now). Read the rest of this entry �