Written by Eric Esquivel
Illustrated by Ryan Jampole, James Kaminski, Sam Spina
Papercutz — Nickelodeon 9/22/2015
56 pages Age 8+
“Nickelodeon’s animated television series Sanjay and Craig follows best buds Sanjay Patel and Craig Slithers as they embark on epic kid-inspired quests that are at times totally ridiculous, absolutely gross and weirdly sweet. Now, the duo is set to conquer a new medium—the world of comics and graphic novels—with Sanjay and Craig: Fight the Future with Flavor!
“Does your neighbor have butt implants and a blueberry obsession? Can your best friend do ANYTHING without barfing? Welcome to Lundgren, where Sanjay Patel and Craig Slithers have the most rad-awesome adventures imaginable.From their collection of fart jars to their shared love of chicken wings, Sanjay and Craig are more than a boy and his pet snake… they’re family!Ready for the ride? Buckle up your fart baby and grab some napkins because Sanjay and Craig are about to douse you in awesome-sauce. NOICE! See you at the Frycade!” [press release/website]
This first edition of Sanjay and Craig features six stories about a boy, Sanjay, and his pet snake, Craig.
In the title story, “Fight the Future with Flavor,” Sanjay’s father fixes his son and Craig an afternoon snack of traditional Indian food. Sanjay and Craig are both repulsed. The duo prefers a diet of hot wings from the Frycade restaurant. To help the two get out of the nutritious snack, Sanjay’s alter ego materializes. He tells an apocalyptic story recalling the day he ate just such a snack, and what it caused.
Instead of commercial interruptions, fictitious movie trailers fill the space between each story. Tufflips Productions announces the arrival of each movie. Remington Tufflips is the star, director, producer, writer, and anything I might have forgotten. First up, the swashbuckling high seas adventure “Hi-Yacht,” rated PG for “gratuitous puns.”Sanjay is the winner of a video game contest at the Frycade, winning a month of free hot wings, in “Hot Wings from Heck.” Sanjay and Craig take advantage of the prize by eating hot wings three meals a day, nearly putting the Frycade out of business. Penny, the owner, builds a Frankenstien-ish hot sauce that self-duplicates and then tries to take over the town. Sanjay and Craig are heroes when they eat the town clean.
Now, another Tufflips Production movie trailer: Mall rats take over the shopping mall until the Mall Security Samurai tackles the overgrown mall rats. “Let’s Go Chopping,” is rated PG for “realistic mall melee action.”The colorful graphic novel continues with, “Lord of the Pipes.” Dad loses his wedding ring in the garbage disposal while retrieving Sanjay’s Aquaman figurine. Craig volunteers to slink into the sink drain and reclaim the ring. First, Craig must fight off a “Garbage Disposal Domain” creature determined to keep the ring and remain eternally in power. The ring’s inscription reads, “Forever.”
A mystical land is losing all its fairies and centaurs to a mysterious plague, until a medieval knight cures the land, in “The Knight Nurse,” rated PG for “excessive dragons.”Late at night, the hospital calls Sanjay’s mother into work. Sanjay and Craig have been watching a television show called “The Conspiracy Zone” getting a little too taken in by the movie. The pair think the government called mom in to operate on an alien. Sanjay and Craig go to the hospital to stop the operation, in a story titled “Alien Buttopsy.”
A chainsaw toting cowboy arrives to clear the town of rabid skeletons, in “Chainsaw Cowboy 3,” rated PG for “historically inaccurate depictions of awesomeness.”Sanjay and Craig awake in the middle of the night with the munchies. While watching an old (old?!) 1980’s movie, the hero claims his “signature scent, Buttermilk Breeze” makes him the man he is. Sanjay wants a bottle and his father happens to have one, but the cologne has changed in its old age: it becomes a green “Buttermilk King” with horns and a nose ring. This king has come seeking vengeance for his imprisonment. Sanjay and Craig find a creative way to disarm this vengeful green king.
A snake much larger than Craig slithers into town. It is the ultimate reptile. Police need the ultimate American hero to coil in this villain. Remington Tufflips is that hero, in “American Manaconda,” rated PG for “patriotic reptile radness.”Finally, Sanjay and Craig go to the theater to watch a family-genre movie, in “Rated ‘R’ for Radical.” The friends never make it. Sanjay sees Belle—from the Frycade— selling tickets and runs. He does not want Belle to think he watches “baby movies.” Sanjay borrows Baby Richard from a local band and tells Belle he is babysitting. Baby Richard turns out to be a terror-baby and out of control. Somehow, Sanjay and Craig must rein in this kid or forget watching their hero in the werewolf-inspired “Father Knows Beast.”
This Sanjay and Craig graphic novel is fun, tongue-in-cheek geekiness. Sanjay and Craig take the boy-and-his-pet to the extremes with Craig and his human capabilities. Their adventures are strange, absurd, and what pre-teen boys—and many girls—will love. The illustrations are colorful and filled with imagery boys crave (aliens, destruction, strange characters, and bodily functions, among other oddities).
I rate Sanjay and Craig #1: Fight the Future with Flavor 4-Stars, for venomous hijinks, outlandish adventures, and high scale comic fun. Up Next, Sanjay and Craig #2: New Kid on the Block, (available now).
A SANJAY AND CRAIG #1: FIGHT THE FUTURE WITH FLAVOR. Text and animation copyright © Nickelodeon and Papercutz. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Papercutz, New York, NY.
QUICK NOTE: This year is Papercutz’s ten-year anniversary. A joint comic deal with Nickelodeon is an awesome way to celebrate. Many of Nickelodeon’s animated series will find a new home in graphic novels for kids to enjoy. Soon to unveil are Breadwinners, Harvey Beaks, and Pig Goat Banana Cricket. The two companies also launched a new magazine called Nickelodeon Magazine. The magazine will have posters, activities, and comics among other kid-fun things. I have not seen a copy, but my guess is the magazine will be similar to what a lighter kid-version of Mad Magazine would be like.
Learn more about Sanjay and Craig #1: Fight the Future with Flavor! HERE.
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Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved
Full Disclosure: Sanjay and Craig #1: Fight the Future with Flavor! by Papercutz & Nickelodeon/Viacom, and received from Papercutz, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
SANJAY AND CRAIG: FIGHT THE FUTURE WITH FLAVOR. © 2015 Papercutz & Nickelodeon/Viacom. Used by permission of Papercutz.