Comics

  •  DC

     

    Like superheroes? Enjoyed the Marvel movies or the DARK KNIGHT trilogy? Have The Flash queued up on Netflix? Then I have some big news for you. DC—one of the big two comic companies and home of Superman and the Justice League—is about to change everything. Though they keep saying that it’s not a reboot, DC is going through a renaissance and they’re calling it (appropriately) “Rebirth.”

    Those familiar with comics know that only five years ago DC DID have a reboot. They pared down their myriad titles to a mere half a hundred, started them all over at #1, and called it “The New 52.” More than just the number changed; instead of continuing any of the existing storylines, DC tried for a complete reset, wiping away all the alternate universes, the time travel, and the deaths and restoring all the heroes to their Silver Age prime. Essentially they dropped all the “baggage” and tried to create a simpler, grittier timeline to attract new readers.

    While this theoretically sounds like a good idea, it didn’t work. To start with, company politics resulted in bad author-series pairings. Obscure titles like SWAMP THING were foisted onto award winning writers and artists, while JUSTICE LEAGUE languished in the hands of newcomers. More vitally, however, DC discovered that when you tear away all the history of a character—their losses, their triumphs, their friendships and rivalries—you tear away most of their personality as well. The New 52 superheroes felt bland, dated, and pointlessly gritty. Coming from a girl whose favorite comic writer is Alan Moore, I can say that there’s definitely a time and a place for grit. But there’s got to be something deep and powerful to back it up. When the Joker beat Robin to death with a crowbar in THE KILLING JOKE, there was a REASON for Batman to be dark, violent and brooding. When that history was wiped away by New 52, Batman just seemed melodramatic.

    That’s not to say it was all bad. I personally loved New 52’s AQUAMAN, and WONDER WOMAN was a fortuitous mix of creative art and good writing. But the good stuff wasn’t enough. Not only did New 52 fail to attract new readers, it also lost decades of loyal fans. So it isn’t entirely surprising that, five years later, they’re trying something different. Though “not a reboot” (probably because the last one went so poorly) Rebirth plans to start all its series over again at #1 and reinstate all the canon that was lost in New 52.

    DC Rebirth

    To start it all off, DC has published a big, game-changing cross-over comic titled “DC Universe: Rebirth.” It takes the form of an 80 page one-shot that’s supposed to have the impact that CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS had in the eighties. Not to give too many spoilers, it starts with the reappearance of Wally West (aka Kid Flash), one of the many characters excluded from The New 52. He breaks into the New 52 universe (using the speed force, how else) to warn Flash and the other members of the Justice League that they’ve been toyed with. That 10 years of their life and memories have been stolen by Doctor Manhattan (from WATCHMEN), reducing them from their mature, legendary status to new heroes again.

    So we see the mechanism by which all the old history is going to be brought back. It’s important to note, however, that DC isn’t completely disregarding everything that happened in New 52. All of that will remain in-canon, just added onto all the old stuff. So it’s going to be messy, but as we’ve learned from the past, sometimes messy can be good.

    Have I caught your interest? Ready to read? Our library will be purchasing DC Universe: Rebirth Special to get you started. Anything beyond that, though, is up in the air. If you have a hero you like and you’re excited to see what they’re up to post-Rebirth, let us know! Our purchaser is much more likely to get a particular title if he knows someone wants to read it. I’m excited to get to read what you guys request and I’m crossing my fingers for how this turns out. Hopefully second time’s the charm for DC.

  • k pop books

    In a previous Friday Faves, I listed my favorite K-pop CDs, but this time I want to highlight some of the books that I picked up simply because of my love for K-pop and Korean culture. I’m not saying these are the best out there (there’s a LOT I haven’t read yet), but these are ones that I enjoyed simply because… well… Korea! If you’ve got some favorite books that are about Korea or take place there, leave a comment so that I know what to read next! 

    8.4 The Birth of Korean CoolTHE BIRTH OF KOREAN COOL
    By Euny Hong
    (2014)

    Going from a third-world to first-world country in a matter of a few short decades is no simple task, but South Korea managed it, and is now becoming one of the world’s top exporters of pop culture. Euny Hong describes her experience of moving to Korea when she was twelve in the 1980s and how she’s seen the country go from very un-cool, to ultra-cool in that time. This was a fascinating read to see how the country essentially rebranded itself. 

     

     

    8.4 K Pop NowK-POP NOW!
    By Mark James Russell
    (2014)

    There are a wide variety of factors that have contributed to the development and growing popularity of K-pop. Russell provides a broad overview that includes historical and cultural influences, as well as describing what makes the industry unique and different from Western music. From there, Russell provides overviews of some of the current hottest artists in boy groups, girl groups, and solo acts, then briefly ventures onto the future of k-pop and what to expect when traveling to South Korea. 

    8.4 Bride of the Water GodBRIDE OF THE WATER GOD
    by Mi-Kyung Yun
    (2007)

    In this manhwa, Soah’s village is suffering from a long drought. To appease Habaek, the water god, they must sacrifice a girl to be his bride. When Soah is chosen, she understands she will likely die. However, there is something unique about her, and Habaek decides to rescue her. As she adjusts to live in Habaek’s kingdom, she discovers that there are a lot of mysterious things going on, including some that surround her new husband. This is a beautifully drawn manhwa that will be made into a K-drama later this year. 

     

    8.4 RE JaneRE JANE
    By Patricia Park
    (2015)

    In this modern retelling of Jane Eyre, Jane Re is a half-Korean, half-American orphan who grew up in New York. She doesn’t quite fit in and becomes desperate to get away from her Uncle’s strict rules. Jane finds a job working as an au pair for two Brooklyn academics and their daughter, which presents its own unique problems and opportunities. When her grandfather passes away, a quick trip to Seoul for the funeral turns into an extended stay as she reconnects with family and discovers a modern Korea, completely different from the one her uncle left decades earlier.  

     

    8.4 Stars of K Pop GirlsSTARS OF K-POP: GIRLS
    By StarNews
    (2014)

    Through photographs, interviews, and statistics, this book highlights some of the biggest girl groups in the k-pop industry. Girls’ Generation, 2NE1, Kara, f(x), Secret, Sistar, 4minute, T-ara, Miss A, Brown Eyed Girls, Afterschool, Girl’s Day, A Pink, Rainbow, and Crayon Pop are all highlighted with individual member information and tons of pictures. This book is a visual feast for the k-pop fan.

     

     

    8.4 Stars of K Pop BoysSTARS OF K-POP: BOYS
    By StarNews
    (2014)

    Very similar to its above counterpart, this edition of STARS OF K-POP focuses on male idols and groups including Psy, TVXQ, Big Bang, Super Junior, Beast, SHINee, Infinite, 2PM, 2AM, CNBLUE, ZE:A, F.T. Island, MBLAQ, EXO, and Supernova.

     

     

  •  Graphic Novels you Can Give Without Worry 1

    Books make the best Christmas gifts! Alright, sure, I am a little biased, but I firmly believe there is a book for everyone, even for the pickiest of readers.  Last month, I wrote a post singing the praises of graphic novels and why you should read them. All those reasons also apply to why graphic novels make great gifts!

    Last year, we published a list of well-reviewed, clean graphic novels that make great gifts for anyone on your list. We’ve had such great feedback about last year’s suggestions, so here is an updated edition including some newer releases that have hit the shelves since then.

    12.7 Rebel LadiesBRAZEN: REBEL LADIES WHO ROCKED THE WORLD
    By Penelope Bagieu
    (2018) 

    With her characteristic wit and dazzling drawings, celebrated graphic novelist Penelope Bagieu profiles the lives of these feisty female role models, some world famous, some little known. From Nellie Bly to Mae Jemison or Josephine Baker to Naziq al-Abid, the stories in this comic biography are sure to inspire the next generation of rebel ladies.

     

    12.7 The Prince and the DressmakerTHE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER
    By Jen Wang
    (2018) 

    Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride--or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. Sebastian's secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances--one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone's secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend?

     

    12.7 SheetsSHEETS
    By Brenna Thummler
    (2018) 

    Marjorie Glatt feels like a ghost. A practical thirteen-year-old in charge of the family laundry business, her daily routine features unforgiving customers, unbearable P.E. classes, and the fastidious Mr. Saubertuck who is committed to destroying everything she's worked for.

     

    12.7 ApolloAPOLLO
    By Matt Fitch
    (2018) 

    In 1969, humankind set foot on the moon. Neil Armstrong, Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin, and Michael Collins carried the fire for all the world. Backed by the brightest minds in engineering and science, the three boarded a rocket and flew through the void, just to know that we could. In Apollo, Matt Fitch, Chris Baker, and Mike Collins unpack the urban legends, the gossip, and the speculation to reveal a remarkable true story about life, death, dreams, and the reality of humanity's greatest exploratory achievement

     

    12.7 The Gigantic Beard that was EvilTHE GIGANTIC BEARD THAT WAS EVIL
    By Stephen Collins
    (2013) 

    On the buttoned-down island of Here, all is well. By which we mean: orderly, neat, contained, and, moreover, beardless. Or at least it is until one famous day, when Dave, bald but for a single hair, finds himself assailed by a terrifying, unstoppable... monster*! (*beard) Where did it come from? How should the islanders deal with it? And what, most importantly, are they going to do with Dave? 

     

    Happy gift-giving! If you missed last year’s list, check it out here.

  •  informational comics

    There are some kids who just don’t like to read.  Maybe they are a slow reader or have a learning disability.  Maybe they just can’t be bothered to sit down long enough to read a whole book.  When a kid like that gets assigned to do a report for school, it can cause major trauma and drama for both the child and parent.  One solution is to try an informational comic book. Here at the Provo Library we have around 250 informational comic books for kids on a wide variety of topics, from science to history, including 80 biographies (think president or explorer reports).  The informational comics have a lot of great…well… information, and it’s in a form that is palatable for reluctant and comic-book-only readers.  Informational comic books are so enticing, why not pick out an interesting one and just set it on the coffee table in the living room. Then watch and see how long it takes before your child picks it up and starts reading! 

    Here are some great informational comics.     

    3.28 Older than DirtOLDER THAN DIRT: A WILD BUT TRUE HISTORY OF EARTH
    By Don Brown and Mike Perfit
    (2017)

    A precocious and often sarcastic groundhog and his friend, an earthworm, take the reader on a tour of the history of the Earth, from the Big Bang to its projected demise.  

     

    3.28 ShackletonSHACKLETON: THE VOYAGE OF THE JAMES CAIRD
    By Gavin McCumiskey and David Butler
    (2016)

    The harrowing adventure of the passengers of Shackleton’s ill-fated expedition comes to life with dramatic dialog and full color illustrations. 

     

    3.28 BaggywrinklesBAGGYWRINKLES: A LUBBER’S GUIDE TO LIFE AT SEA
    By Lucy Bellwood
    (2016)

    Don’t know your port from your bow? This humorous guide introduces the reader to a boatload of nautical terminology, history, and lore.

     
  •  Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness month? I would guess that, if we haven’t already, all of us will at some point experience our own mental health struggles or have someone very close to us who does. Just like the rest of our bodies, our minds can go through periods of wellness and periods of poor health, and they deserve care and treatment.

    A generation or two ago, these struggles might have been kept quiet. Fortunately, our culture is becoming more accepting of and open about mental health. For instance, you might have heard about the Heads Together campaign, spearheaded by younger members of the British royal family, or about the Campaign to Change Direction. Programs like these aim to reduce stigma against mental illness, to educate, and to provide mental health resources.

    In recent years, memoirs dealing with mental health, including some REALLY funny memoirs, have become common. Their humorous but honest approach can remind us that we aren't alone and keep us laughing. Here are a few of my favorites.

    Hyperbole and a HalfHYPERBOLE AND A HALF
    By Allie Brosh
    (2013)

    Even if you’ve never heard of Brosh or her blog, you’ve probably seen her CLEAN ALL THE THINGS! meme. Brosh blogs about everyday life using a mix of text and crudely drawn webcomics. In addition to sharing hilarious stories about grammar, her childhood, and her dogs, she has also written about ADHD and, famously, depression.

    Whether in book or blog form, HYPERBOLE AND A HALF might just be the funniest thing I’ve ever read.

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting her second book for a couple of years now, but its expected release date has been pushed back from 2017 to 2050. I’ll be impatiently waiting into old age, it appears.  

    Furiously HappyFURIOUSLY HAPPY: A FUNNY BOOK ABOUT HORRIBLE THINGS
    By Jenny Lawson
    (2015)

    Jenny Lawson (a.k.a. the bloggess) is another author who started out in the blogosphere. She writes irreverently about living in a small Texas town with her patient husband, their daughter, and an ever-growing collection of quirky taxidermy. She frequently writes about her experiences with depression, anxiety, and avoidant personality disorder. FURIOUSLY HAPPY is my favorite of her books, but I also love her first memoir LET’S PRETEND THIS NEVER HAPPENED and YOU ARE HERE, a coloring book of the illustrations she creates in moments of anxiety.

     

    Adulthood is a MythADULTHOOD IS A MYTH
    By Sarah Andersen
    (2016)

    This is a book you could easily read in an hour or two. Sarah Andersen, who also gained a following online (I’m sensing a theme here), creates comics about life as a Millennial adult. In simple drawings, she depicts social anxiety, body image struggles, insecurity, and how pets make it all a bit better.

     

    Heart and BrainHEART AND BRAIN: AN AWKWARD YETI COLLECTION
    By Nick Seluk
    (2015)

    Nick Seluck is another webcomic creator who eventually became a published author. He is best known for comics depicting inner turmoil between logical Brain and fanciful Heart, as well as various other organs (I have a soft spot for the adorable Gallbladder). I’ve especially enjoyed his comics about anxiety and insomnia.

     

    Youre Never Weird on the InternetYOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST)
    By Felicia Day
    (2015)

    Felicia Day’s life has been an unusual one. Homeschooled as a child, she went to college at sixteen, finished her math degree with flying colors, and then became an actress and web-series developer. She writes about anxiety, depression, and the intense gaming addiction she developed in her twenties.

    YOU’RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET is easily the funniest celebrity memoir I’ve ever read (and I’ve read an embarrassing number of celebrity memoirs). Day’s narration of the audiobook is especially hysterical.

     

  • Moon Landing

    By now, most people are probably aware that 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing on July 20, 1969. Many moments in history are forgotten or their anniversaries are overhyped. Other moments, like the moon landing, really are a Big Fat Deal – even fifty years later. As we celebrate this lunar anniversary, here are some books all about the moon landings for even the youngest readers. 

    7.22 Rocket to the MoonROCKET TO THE MOON!
    By Don Brown
    (2019) 

    This nonfiction comic book tells the story of the Apollo 11 mission, and not just the story of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. This well-illustrated book is more than an introduction to lunar travel – it takes readers on a journey through the history of rockets and fleshes out the story with less-known details of the famous mission. All of this rolled into a bite-sized graphic novel good for kids or older readers. 

     

    Apollo 8 The Mission That Changed EverythingAPOLLO 8: THE MISSION THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
    By Martin W. Sandler
    (2018)

    This book is a little different, because it isn’t about Apollo 11 – the mission that resulted in the first lunar landing. Instead, this is the story of Apollo 8 the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth’s orbit and circle the moon. With a good overview of the Cold War and space race, this book gives historical context to the lunar missions that young readers may not know. This book is also filled with full-color photographs including the famous Earthrise. 

     

    7.22 The Far Side of the MoonTHE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON: THE STORY OF APOLLO 11’S THIRD MAN
    By Alexander Irvine
    Illustrated by Ben Bishop
    (2017) 

    Another nonfiction comic book, this very small little number focuses almost entirely on the third member of Apollo 11’s crew – Michael Collins, the one who never set foot on the moon. He doesn’t always get a lot of credit, but this book honors his essential role in the mission; orbiting the moon, keeping the command module functioning, and getting everyone home safely. In a limited palette of black, white, and deep purple we see the details of the moon landing play out with stark reality. 

     

    7.22 Man on the MoonMAN ON THE MOON: HOW A PHOTOGRAPH MADE ANYTHING SEEM POSSIBLE
    By Pamela Dell
    (2011) 

    We might forget, fifty years later, that the world was watching Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin take their first steps on the moon. We might forget that for so long this had seemed completely impossible – it was a moment that changed the world. The photograph of Buzz Aldrin in his spacesuit on the moon was called one of the 100 photographs that changed the world by Time magazine. This book is all about the legacy of that picture and just what it took to get there. A totally unique lens through which to view the past. 

     

    7.22 Reaching for the MoonREACHING FOR THE MOON
    By Buzz Aldrin
    Illustrated by Wendell Minor
    (2005) 

    Written in first person by Buzz Aldrin, this book has a personal touch that few books about the lunar landing can offer. This picture book autobiography is an unusual look at space travel told with lots of personal detail and heart. Illustrations throughout offer new vantages on an iconic moment in history, all culminating with the words left by Aldrin and Armstrong on the moon: 

     

    “Here men from the planet earth
    First set foot upon the moon
    July 1969. A.D.
    We came in peace for all mankind.”

     
  •  Graphic Novels1 updated

    It may surprise you to hear that despite my great interest and enthusiasm for graphic novels and comics, I actually haven’t read very many yet! But like many good things – ice cream, cozy blankets, mountains, label makers – you don’t need to have tried them all to know how wonderful a medium it is. But, because I’m so in love with graphic novels, I want to read more of them. Come New Year’s, as I pondered my 2019 reading goals (the only New Year’s resolution I bother to make), I had a thought. A bold, possibly (probably) crazy thought.

    What if I read every graphic novel in the library?

    So I did the math. And realized just how many graphic novels we have at the library.

    math meme

    I realized this really was a crazy idea. Unless…

    Good Idea

    Parameters! Yes! Setting some guidelines wouldn’t hurt; sure, it might change the idea a bit, but realistic goals are good goals.After a few minutes, my crazy idea evolved into a legend of a goal. Drumroll, please:

    READ GOAL 2019

    Yes, I cut back on my original idea by focusing on just the Graphic Novel section in the adult collection of the library. It may seem like a lot, excluding books found in the Juvenile Comics, Young Adult Comics, and Overdrive collections. But with approximately 805 titles (and counting) in the Graphic Novel section alone, I’d say I have my work cut out for me. And to ensure success, I decided to share my goal with you, dear readers! It begins! Stay tuned for updates on my progress or decent into madness, whatever the case may be.

    Have you made any reading goals for 2019? Do you think I’m going to lose my mind attempting mine? Comment and let us know

  • Dragon PrinceSource: Netflix

    If you are anything like me, then you’ve already bingewatched all episodes of The Dragon Prince on Netflix. How can you fill the hole in your heart until the next season comes out? 

    You can’t. Sorry. 

    However, you can fill your time by reading these wonderful books with similar themes of friendship, magic, and intrigue. 

    8.26 Singer of All SongsTHE SINGER OF ALL SONGS
    By Kate Constable
    (2002)

    When Calwyn, a young priestess with ice magic, comes across an injured man within the holy sanctuary, she finds herself on an adventure to save the land of Tremaris from an evil sorcerer. This book will appeal to those interested in magic systems and unlikely heroes. 

     

    8.26 TruthwitchTRUTHWITCH
    By Susan Dennard
    (2016)

    In a land on the brink of war, a Truthwitch is a highly sought after prize. Safiya just wants to live in peace, but her Truthwitch powers make that wish nearly impossible. If you like magic and princes, then this book could be for you. 

     

    8.26 Shadowfell 2SHADOWFELL
    By Juliet Marillier
    (2012)

    Neryn is a normal fifteen-year-old girl. Or so she thought. When she meets the Good Folk she finds out she has the power to stop a wicked king and save her country. Those interested in the magical creatures of Xadia will certainly enjoy this read.  

     

    8.26 Legend of ZeldaTHE LEGEND OF ZELDA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS
    By Akira Himekawa
    (2017)

    Link must protect the Twilight Realm and the World of Light when an evil presence threatens to take over everything. If you love the art style in The Dragon Prince, then this graphic novel may be the visual appeal you need. 

     

    8.26 Revenge of the WitchREVENGE OF THE WITCH
    By Joseph Delaney
    (2005)

    Tom is the seventh son of a seventh son and becomes the apprentice of the village spook to protect the townsfolk from all manner of magical beasts. Those who enjoyed the character development in The Dragon Prince will be pleased with Tom’s growth in this book. These reads may not replace The Dragon Prince, but they are sure to bring entertainment and fantasy to any household. Happy reading!

     
  • third party

    We all know the two big names in comic books: Marvel and DC. We read their comics, watch their movies, and pick sides over which one is our favorite. However, there’s no monopoly on superheroes, and these two powerhouses aren’t the end of the story. Since the 80s, dozens of smaller publishers have cropped up, each with their own unique heroes, stories, and flavors. Our library collects highly reviewed comics regardless of publisher, so it can be a good place to get your toes wet and try a universe you haven’t read or watched before. Here are just a few of the third-party comics publishers that we house:

    Image Comics

    Founded in 1992, Image Comics provides a place where comics creators can publish their stories without giving up the rights to their characters. This is a huge departure from Marvel and DC’s way of doing things, and means that almost any comic you pick up from them will have an all-new cast. This has led to hundreds of separate storylines rather than a coherent universe. Because of their relative independence (and since you don’t need to know 60 years of history for each character), Image comic books are easy to jump into.

    8.22 DescenderDESCENDER
    By Jeff Lemire
    (2015)

     

     

     

     

     

    CHEW
    Bby John Layman
    (2012)

    REED GUNTHER
    By Shane & Chris Houghton
    (2011)

    INVINCIBLE
    By Robert Kirkman
    (2011)

    Dark Horse

    Founded in 1986, Dark Horse has its fingers in all the pies. It does licensed material like the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER comics, creator-owned material like Mike Mignola’s HELLBOY, and even some manga.

    8.22 BuffyBUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER
    By Joss Whedon
    (2007)

     

     

     

     

     

    HELLBOY
    By Michael Mignola
    (2003)

    THE LEGEND OF ZELDA: HYRULE HISTORIA
    Edited by Patrick Thorpe
    (2013)

    TRIGUN MAXIMUM
    By Yasuhiro Nightow
    (2003)

    VIZ

    Founded the same year as Dark Horse, VIZ is a far more focused publisher. They do manga, manga, and more manga. Because they’re also heavily involved in anime licensing and the television side of things, their manga is frequently adapted into popular shows. Fans of the manga want to watch the shows, and new fans of the shows want to read the manga, so it’s a circular system where both the print and the screen versions of a story benefit.

    8.22 NarutoNARUTO
    By Masashi Kishimoto
    (2003)

     

     

     

     

     

    OURAN HIGH SCHOOL HOST CLUB
    By Bisco Hatori
    (2005)

    FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST
    By Hiromu Arakawa
    (2005)

    TOKYO GHOUL
    By Sui Ashida

    IDW

    Last but not least we have Idea and Design Works, or IDW for short. Recognized as the fifth largest comic publisher in the United States, IDW focuses largely on graphic novel adaptations of popular TV shows and films. Though it has adapted several series for adults, the bulk of the company’s titles are intended for children, including their line of Cartoon Network-based comics.

    8.22 Doctor WhoDOCTOR WHO: PRISONERS OF TIME
    By Scott & David Tipton
    (2013)

     

     

     

     

     

    THE POWERPUFF GIRLS
    By Troy Little
    (2014)

    TMNT ADVENTURES
    By Justin Eisinger
    (2012)

    MY LITTLE PONY: THE MAGIC BEGINS
    By Lauren Faust
    (2013)

     

  • Graphic Novels

    It’s okay to have a favorite genre. It’s okay to be afraid to branch out. Though a rare event, I know how bitterly disappointing it is to try a new book and hate it. Such travesty I would not wish upon my worst enemy! (Kidding, I would, #slytherin). That said, I wouldn’t be doing due diligence as a librarian if I didn’t give you a helpful nudge out of your reading rut.  

    May I suggest reading graphic novels?

    “Graphic novels aren’t real books.”

    “Those are just for kids, people should grow out of that.”

    “What’s to read? They’re just pictures with blurbs”

    “I’m not into superheroes or that Japanese stuff.”

    If you had any of these thoughts, please allow me to meme at you for a moment.

    2gzi50

    Don’t be afraid. I’m here to guide you.

    Graphic novels are certainly real books, with character development, rich plotlines, exploratory themes, symbols, morals – you name it, they’ve got it. They aren’t just for kids, though there are titles written for all audiences. And there’s plenty of graphic novels written in all styles and genres, not just superhero comics or “that Japanese stuff” - or as it’s actually called, manga. And sure, you’re allowed to read what you already know you love (that’s one of the joys of reading!), but you’re missing out if you wave off this versatile, engaging medium.

    That’s right, graphic novels are a medium of storytelling, not a genre. Understanding this concept breaks many of the misconceptions I mentioned above. The visual component of graphic novels is part of the storytelling. And I don’t mean just the illustrations, but all its facets:  style, color, division of space on the page, panel shapes, panel borders, speech bubbles, captions, and more! Like other novelists write books in verse, prose, letters, journal entries, and more, graphic novel artists use visual elements to best present the story. It’s fascinating to see how different artists employ visual techniques in their story telling!

    Just like traditional novels, graphic novels cross all genres. It’s one of the beauties of the medium! With that said, that can make it hard to know where to start. Here are some suggestions for you:

    Genre: Memoir

    I could really go on and on about graphic memoirs, but I’ll let you explore this past blog post. My first non-manga, non-superhero graphic novel was MAUS, a popular, compelling read that introduces many people to the world of graphic novels. If you want something with a lighter tone, anything by Lucy Knisley (author of RELISH: MY LIFE IN THE KITCHEN) is an excellent choice. Her friendly, relatable tone and use of light, pastel color palette make her books, especially this one, a great choice for the shy newcomer.

    11.2 MausMAUS I
    by Art Spiegelman
    (1980)

     

    11.2 RelishRELISH: MY LIFE IN THE KITCHEN
    by Lucy Knisley
    (2013)

     

    Genre: Classics

    11.2 MetamorphosisMETAMORPHOSIS
    by Kafka 
    (2003)

    Kafka’s tales lend themselves so very well to visual interpretation. Acclaimed graphic artist Peter Kuper presents a kinetic illustrated adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis. Kuper's electric drawings--where American cartooning meets German expressionism--bring Kafka's prose to vivid life, reviving the original story's humor and poignancy in a way that will surprise and delight readers of Kafka and graphic novels alike.

     

    Genre: Magical Realism

    11.2 I Kill GiantsI KILL GIANTS
    by Joe Kelly
    (2008)

     

    Genre: Mystery

    11.2 Girl Over ParisGIRL OVER PARIS
    by Kate Leth
    (2016)

     

    Hopefully I’ve shown you how graphic novels would be a great addition to your to-read list! If you’re interested in reading more, check out this blog post that provides some fun fact and additional reading about graphic novels. And if you want a personalized recommendation, please come see us at the Reference Desk!