Sunday, February 15, 2009

Graphic Novels: like normal novels, only more awesome

When I was seven years old my Dad bought me my first comic book at a 7-11. He told me to pick one off of the old spinning comic rack (a rare thing these days). I went for an issue of Captain America - Issue #401 to be exact. The cover featured a bummed out Cap sitting at his desk (yes, Captain America has a desk) with the faces of a bunch of heroes and villains floating above him. Something about the heavy vibe and all of the cool character's faces appealed to me.

Flash forward eighteen years and I still love comics. I'd steered clear of them for a few years off-and-on, but I've always come back. One great thing about working in TEEN is that I get to keep up with the stories and talk to patrons about their favorite stuff. That's right - comics in the library! I'm sure this isn't exactly news to everyone, but it's still a relatively new thing. It wasn't until the late 90s that graphic novels and trade paperbacks (generally six issues of a comic compiled and bound together) really started showing up in book stores and libraries. It's about time that comics, manga, and graphic novels are accepted as the works of art they truly are.

Check out these selections from our collection of graphic novels and graphic series. (Of course, there's plenty more where these came from - be sure to ask your friendly neighborhood librarian for suggestions!) :

House by Josh Simmons: This graphic novel by first-time author Simmons is a haunting tale in which three teenage friends explore a mysterious, abandoned house with tragic results. House is completely wordless, but the art is wonderful.

Batman - The Man Who Laughs by Ed Brubaker: Experience the first ever meeting between The Dark Knight and the Clown Prince of Crime! Batman is Gotham cities new defender, but he's never encountered any criminals quite like the chalk-faced madman known as the Joker.

Street Angel by Jim Rugg: Jesse "Street Angel" Sanchez is a homeless teen from the worst ghetto on Earth. She stays alive with her kung fu skills and skateboarding prowess, fighting Irish astronauts, ancient gods, and gangs of evil ninjas. Check out local author/artist Jim Rugg's awesome comic series!

Awkward and Definition: the high school comic chronicles of Ariel Schrag by Ariel Schrag: Ariel Schrag created these comics the summer following each year of High School. Awkward is about her freshman year and Definition is about her sophomore year. Wonderful true-to-life stories you can relate to. Impressive to think that a high school student created and published these great stories.

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine: A wonderful falling-out-of-love story about (that most cliche of indie comic subjects) twenty-something slackers. Luckily, it is a wonderful story - sad and touching with great commentary on racial identity in America.

Corey W, Main - TEEN


Kate said...

Gangs of evil ninjas?

loveandsqualor said...

Katie, you were more shocked by evil ninjas than fighting irish astronauts? - cw