School Library Journal Gives Rickety Stitch: The Road to Epoli a 4th Starred Review

Our fourth starred review has us reeling. We can hardly believe how much people are enjoying Rickety Stitch: The Road to Epoli. So kind! Here's the whole review.

Rickety Stitch is a skeleton minstrel who travels throughout the fantasy realm of Eem with Goo, his jiggling cube of a sidekick. Unlike the other reanimated skeletons in this world, Rickety retains his personality, but he has no memory of who he was when he was alive, and the only key to his past is a song whose fragments come to him in a dream. So in true buddy fashion, the duo venture on an epic quest to find the plucky troubadour’s origins. Drawn in stark black-and-white lines with somber gray shading, the dream sequences contrast beautifully with the lurid colors and chaotic art style of the rest of the book. The art brings the story to life, making the characters believable and adding dimension to personalities. The plot is an exciting blend of creepy and humorous, with a truly amazing amount of world-building and history, making the setting every bit as captivating as the characters. VERDICT Conjuring up an entertaining bard’s tale, this adventure is sure to appeal to anyone who loves high fantasy punctuated with comedy, especially older fans of Jeff Smith’s “Bone.”
— Kelley Gile, Cheshire Public Library, CT
Rickety Stitch: The Road to Epoli

Rickety Stitch: The Road to Epoli

Shelf Awareness Reviews Rickety Stitch

We love the call outs and praise from this latest review from Shelf Awareness. Check it out!

Rickety Stitch lives in a world of imps, unicorns and gnomes, but as a skeleton with a soul, he’s the odd one out. Other skeletons are passive “workin’ machines,” but he’s prone to dozing off, cracking wise and “inciting a mutiny with song and dance” in a way that makes corporeal humans nervous. After these and other bad habits lead Rickety Stitch and his friend the Gelatinous Goo to be unceremoniously fired from their job of de-rusting the iron maiden and cleaning the gut-wheel in the torture chamber of Subterranean Pits and Lairs LLC, they begin a quest to find out who Rickety was when he was alive. With little to go on but vague scraps of music, Rickety and Gooey are thrust into the vivacious and unruly world of Eem in search of Epoli, a place they know only through Rickety’s dreams. The unlikely pair confound everyone they meet—both being the only one of their kind—including a tricky imp who offers to guide them. When the Goo is held hostage by “Ogre-Spawn of Gordak, Glutton King of Grimly Wood,” Rickety must head out on a rescue mission that tests his devil-may-care temperament—the first in what could be a lengthy saga of self-discovery.
— Stephanie Anderson, assistant director for public services, Darien Library (Conn.)
Costa and Parks have been creating Eem together for years online, and the solid world-building strengthens every panel of Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli. Though Costa’s full-color, jaunty illustrations may appeal to younger readers, due to a healthy dose of cartoon violence and adult humor (“I still have, like, six days of PTO left”), the book is definitely meant for teens and adults. The book is most compelling when the text and visuals balance each other out. From the start, with its first scene in the corporate torture chamber, it uses the interplay between the two to shift effortlessly between fearful darkness and upbeat irreverence. The goofy jokes leavened with existential musings recall Terry Pratchett and Patricia Wrede, and well-read fans of fantasy will appreciate the loving homage to the genre. “You are someone, Rickety Stitch. That much I know,” the skeleton is told toward the end of the story. Rickety and his readers will have to wait for the second installment to find out who, and they’ll likely be impatient to see the next steps of his journey.
— Stephanie Anderson, assistant director for public services, Darien Library (Conn.)

Shelf Talker: Ben Costa and James Parks launch their skeleton bard and his gelatinous buddy on a grand graphic adventure that's just the right mixture of serious and silly.

Source: Shelf Awareness

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

We're so pleased to read this amazing, starred review of Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli, from Publishers Weekly. So, great to hear critics enjoying our fantasy graphic novel as much as we enjoyed making it! Here's to fantasy comics!


Here's what Publishers Weekly had to say:

Rickety Stitch is a skeleton bard who can’t keep a job; his dreams hint at who he was in a previous life, but he remembers little upon awakening. After getting fired from a dungeon, Stitch sets out for answers in Epoli, a place that surfaces in his dreams. His blob of a sidekick, Gelatinous Goo, accompanies him, and their adventures throw them into contact with imps, gnomes, trolls, and other creatures; some befriend and help him, while others have less benevolent plans in mind. The kaleidoscope of characters is complemented by the full-color artwork, which establishes a rich fantasy landscape and contrast starkly with the barren b&w eeriness of Stitch’s dreams. Amid many slapstick moments, gross-out gags, and edgy jokes—“You’re lucky you didn’t rip my blouse,” wails the skeleton after getting stabbed during a bar fight, “this thing’s vintage!”—Parks and Costa impressively evolve their tale into a compelling epic quest with deeper themes than the initial chapters hint. This trilogy opener is ideal for Nimona fans looking to see tried-and-true fantasy tropes get hilariously upended. Ages 12–up.
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)

The Kirkus Star

We are stunned and delighted to have learned that Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo: The Road to Epoli has received a glowing review from Kirkus and was awarded with the Kirkus Star!

Here's a brief expert from the review, but you can read the whole thing here.

Costa and Parks’ script is imaginative and laugh-out-loud funny, unafraid to crack a well-timed, verging-on-naughty joke. Costa’s art is unfalteringly, vibrantly buoyant, with many sight gags that effortlessly turn the profane into something adorably laughable. A cliffhanger ending leaves readers poised for the sequel—they will be clamoring.
— Kirkus Reviews

We're so honored they enjoyed the adventure and can't wait to release it to the world on June 6th, 2017. If you're eager to secure a copy, you can actually pre-order Rickety Stitch today. Just visit this link

Junior Library Guild Selection

We are  over the moon and honored to learn that The Road to Epoli: Rickety Stitch and the Gelatinous Goo, Book 1 has been announced as a Junior Library Guild selection!

If you’re not familiar with the Junior Library Guild, here’s some information about this incredible honor straight from them:

"The JLG editorial team reviews more than 3,000 new titles each year, in manuscript or prepublication stage. We’ve developed a keen sense for finding the best of the best. Over 95 percent of our selections go on to receive awards and/or favorable reviews."

If you’re listening, thank you Junior Library Guild! We are grateful to be held in such high esteem and to be associated with such an amazing catalog of books.

You can pre-order The Road to Epoli at AmazonBarnes & NobleBooks A MillionHudson BooksellersIndieBoundPowell's, and Target

Or if you’re a library buyer, you can check out the Junior Library Guild page.