Doug TenNapel (sorta rhymes with ‘ten-APE-hell’) produces quirky and interesting books that challenge the brain.
I enjoy every panel of ’em though they require some cataloging gymnastics because while they have an all-ages sensibility (an appreciation for the gross, an appealingly goofy sense of violence, enough action to keep the story moving, and kid heroes who have wit and cunning) still there’s usually one panel per book that causes me to promote ’em to our Young Adult side.
Reading through the panels you’ll occasionally hit a speed bump in an errant curse word, a realistically rendered birth scene (Earthboy Jacobus), a splotch of realistic gore (Frink), or a full size Tyrannosaur dropping steaming heaps of dung on a neighbor’s car (Tommysaurus Rex)…
His relatively recent (2010) Ghostopolis tip-toes this line well. There are just enough lines of low-brow slapstick humor to engage the Captain Underpants set, and sufficient interesting plotlines (and even romance!) to appeal to older readers. This is a book I can read to the masses at our monthly Comics Jam (comics read-aloud programs) to hold them in rapt attention — without worrying too much that I’ll hit a squeamish bit.