Archive for the ‘Graphic Books’ Category

Zombies: Choose Your
Favorite Flavor

Friday, October 2nd, 2015

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In what’s become a rite of October, The Walking Dead return in several flavors next week.

If you prefer your zombies televised, AMC’s version appears in its sixth season next week.

Fans of the print comic, which manges to be even more violent than the TV series, will have been following the monthly installments. Those willing to wait for the compendiums can enjoy The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 3 (Image Comics) arriving next week.

Also coming is the next in the novel series, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: Invasion by Jay Bonansinga  (Macmillan/Thomas Dunne; and in yet another version, Macmillan is also releasing it in audio), which uses characters from both the TV series and the comics.

Each are different, but tying them all together is the Dead‘s originator, Robert Kirkman, who is involved with all three properties.

Below is the latest trailer for AMC’s version:

Ta-Nehisi Coates, Comic Book Author

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.55.10 AMNational Book Award nominee Ta-Nehisi Coates is a comic book superfan, particularly of the Marvel Comics universe.

According to The New York Times, it has been a childhood dream of Coates to write comics and he gets his chance with Black Panther, the first black superhero, introduced in 1966. T’Challa, Black Panther’s real name, was born in Wakanda, a fictional African country. According to the Marvel site, his superhuman powers were enhanced by a heart-shaped herb. Coates’s version is expected next spring.

As Entertainment Weekly reports, diversity is a focus of Marvel and the new Black Panther series “will launch as part of the All-New All-Different Marvel initiative, which promises to bring changes and shake-ups with numerous new titles, including an Sam Wilson as Captain America, Kamala Khan as an Avenger, and the recently announced Asian-American Hulk by Greg Pak and Frank Cho.”

Axel Alonso, the editor in chief of Marvel, told the NYT that Black Panther “has the baddest costume in comics and is a dude who is smarter and better than everyone.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-23 at 10.57.10 AMNot only is the comic being written by a National Book Award nominee, but it may be the first comic inspired by a Pulitzer-Prize-winning book, a history of the black political struggle in the U.S., A Nation Under Our Feet by Steven Hahn (Belknap Press).

“It’s going to be a story that repositions the Black Panther in the minds of readers,” Mr. Alonso told the NYT, “It really moves him forward.”

Black Panther will also be seen in two upcoming movies, as a character in Captain America: Civil War to be released in 2016 and as the lead in 2018  film.

Kid’s Graphic Novel on LATE NIGHT

Wednesday, September 16th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-16 at 10.06.09 AMStephen Colbert isn’t the only one trying to shake up late night TV. Seth Meyers has broken ground by featuring novelists on Late Night. Last night, he highlighted graphic novelist Judd Winick, author of the new kid’s series Hilo (RH Books for Young Readers).

As The New York Times reports, the hero of the planned six-book multicultural series “is an enigmatic boy who crashes to Earth and befriends two children, D.J. and Gina … D.J. is the only one of five Asian-American siblings who is not “awesome at something,” and his best friend, Gina, who is black, has two aggressively positive sisters who are cheerleaders. Each book will reveal more about the characters and the mystery of Hilo’s destiny.”

Winick and Meyers know each other from Winick’s time writing for The Awesomes, an animated series created by Meyers and Mike Shoemaker. He has also worked on Batman, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Justice League, and Star Wars comics. He has also had experience on TV, having been one of the housemates on season 3 of MTV’s Real World.

Winick decided to write the series so his own children could read his work, after he got a bit jealous of his son’s avid fanboy reaction to Jeff Smith’s Bone. on Graphic Novels

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Offering a few comics and graphic novels for late summer reads,’s reviewer Etelka Lehoczky suggests titles she says areperfect to pore over in a patch of muggy sunlight.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.18.21 PMFirst up is Pénélope Bagieu’s English language debut, Exquisite Corpse (Macmillan/First Second). Bagieu is a French comic artist who turns her hand here to a short subversive story that has a “fiendishly unexpected denouement that combines feminist politics with a generous affection for [the] heroine.”

Bagieu’s artwork is particularly engrossing, full of wry observations and saturated colors, which Lehoczky characterizes as “eloquent” and “deceptively unsophisticated.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.20.15 PMNext is Little Nemo: Return to Slumberland (IDW) by Eric Shanower (writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (artist), winner of this year’s Eisner Award for best limited series and an extension of the groundbreaking Winsor McKay original newspaper strips that began in the early 1900s.

Lehoczky does not admire it as fully. While she saysthere’s much here to divert open-minded readers,” she is put off by the style It’s utterly at odds with the original strip’s ambience, and it’s hardly narcoleptic. In fact, there’s something downright wakey-wakey about such assertive shades — they practically smack you in the eye.”

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 3.22.13 PMLast comes Five Ghosts vol. 3 by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham (Image Comics). It features “macho treasure hunter Fabian Gray [who] is possessed by five literary spirits whose abilities he can manifest: The Wizard, the Archer, the Detective, the Samurai and the Vampire.”

Calling it “adventure of the highest order” Lehoczky details Gray’s tribulations,  which begins with our hero fighting zombies in Romania and winds up with him strapped to Dr. Moreau’s operating table.”

The Syfy channel announced a deal to adapt the series last fall.

Nancy Pearl on Graphic Bios

Tuesday, August 18th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.32.35 PMOn her weekly radio appearance on Seattle’s NPR affiliate KUOW, librarian Nancy Pearl talks about Jessie Hartland’s Steve Jobs: Insanely Great (RH/Schwartz & Wade).

It is a graphic biography Nancy thinks would be perfect for middle and high school students, making it an alternative tie-in to the upcoming biopic based on Walter Isaacson’s 600+ page tome about the computer legend.

Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 12.33.48 PMFilled with black, white, and gray free-flowing images and text that often breaks out of speech bubbles, the nonfiction work details Jobs’s achievements and personality. Hartland’s website gives a quick glimpse of her style.

When asked by host Marcie Sillman, Nancy said that she thought Jobs would adore it, as she did, putting her on the hunt for Harland’s previous graphic biography, Bon Appétit!: The Delicious Life of Julia Child (RH/Schwartz & Wade, 2012).


Top Eisner

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Analyzng the Eisner Awards, announced earlier this month at Comic-Con, the  LA Times views them as reflecting a “creative swell in children’s comics,” with several titles winning in categories not defined by age.

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Caldecott honoree This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (Macmillan/First Second; OverDrive Sample) won for best New Graphic Album (essentially the best graphic novel of the year) and Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen, and Shannon Watters (S&S/BOOM! Box; OverDrive Sample) won the Best New Series award while Raina Telgemeier’s middle-grade Sisters (Scholastic, a companion to her previous title, Smile) won in the Writer/Artist category. views the awards as making a leap beyond superheroes, noting that the Best Writer Awards have traditionally gone to “an author producing pamphlet comics—serial, monthly works—rather than graphic novels.” This year breaks precedence with the award going to The Shadow Hero (Macmillan/First Second) by Gene Luen Yang “a writer who has made his name in the graphic novel industry, where he wrote and illustrated the first ever graphic novel to be a finalist for the National Book Award [Boxers and Saints]—and the first ever graphic novel to win the Printz Award [American Born Chinese].” They also note the number of women writers winning awards this year, with titles addressing subjects never before covered in graphic novels indicates that “the depth and breadth of what comics are—and can become—are reaching ever new heights.” This change was noted earlier this year by the Wall Street Journal.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.54.12 AMThe award for the best nonfiction graphic work went to Hip Hop Family Tree, vol. 2, by Ed Piskor (Norton/Fantagraphics).Volume one was published in 2013; volume three is coming in August.

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 11.56.31 AMEmily Carroll’s Through the Woods (S&S/Margaret K. McElderry) won for Best Graphic Album-Reprint, giving those who do not yet own this beautifully creepy work all the more reason to buy it. Carroll also won the Eisner for Best Short Story.

Bechdel and the LATE NIGHT Bump

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

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Continuing his somewhat incongruous attention to books, Seth Meyers featured graphic memoirist Alison Bechdel on yesterday’s Late Night show, devoting the entire second half to her book Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2006) and its Tony-winning Broadway musical adaptation.

Meyers asked Bechdel to share the impetus behind Fun Home. Although it’s covered in the book, Bechdel’s recounting added emotional depth to  the story of  her coming out while in college and how that ultimately revealed her father’s hidden homosexual infidelity. He died shortly after in an accident that may have actually been a suicide.

That sad moment was balanced against a scene from the play, staged on Meyers set, in which the Broadway cast performed “Changing My Major.”

Holds are spiking in some libraries beyond ratios of 6:1 while a few libraries we checked had copies on the shelf.

A cast album is also available:

Tesori, Jeanine, composer, Fun home: a new Broadway musical(PS Classics)

Congressman As Superhero

Monday, July 27th, 2015

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Highlighting Congressman John Lewis’s leadership in the Civil Rights movement, CBS Sunday Morning profiled the Representative and his award-winning graphic memoirs March: Book One and March: Book Two (both from Top Shelf).

Fittingly, the profile includes clips of Rep. Lewis at ComicCon, wearing, as tradition dictates, his own superhero outfit: a coat and backpack similar to those he wore as he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge during the Selma March in 1965.

A third March volume is expected early next year.

Graphic Novelist to Know:
Scott Snyder

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-22 at 4.01.26 PMOn the comics fast track, Scott Snyder has won an Eisner award for both The Wake (DC/Vertigo, 2014) and for American Vampire (DC/Vertigo, Vol 8 coming in January) and has worked on various superhero comics.

He may become a household name with his new comic Wytches (Image Comics, July 9, collects the original issues 1-6). In an interview with the authorNew York magazine calls it “a tale of remarkably visceral terror” and notes that Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment is adapting it as a feature film.

When Wytches came out in serial form in 2014 it was covered by Entertainment Weekly (with a follow-up last month), USA Today, Nerdist (and a recent follow-up), and BuzzFeed.

The story, which takes place in a tiny remote area of New Hampshire, follows the Rooks family as they encounter a terrifying evil lurking in the woods. Each episode ends with a personal essay by Snyder addressing anxiety and depression. Illustrated with creepy genius by Jock (himself a cult figure in comics), the experience is pretty intense. Libraries that own it are showing heavy holds on light orders.

For more on Snyder, see the 2011 profile in the LA Times “Hero Complex”  (Parts One, Two and Three).


Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

The one thing we understood from Jon Stewart’s interview with Elizabeth Olsen about the movie in which she stars, Avengers: The Age Of Ultron, opening this week and expected to a major blockbuster, is that you probably need to be a fan boy to get the references.

This may help:

Well, maybe not.

If you prefer to do your own background research, Wired magazine offers “5 Comics That’ll Get You Ready for Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

There are several movie tie-ins (check our Movie Tie-in Collection for full listings).

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Graphic Novels Score with Youth Media Awards

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

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Graphic novelist Raina Telgemeier tweeted her excitement about today’s ALA Youth Media Awards,  “Graphic novels can win the most distinguished American book award, it’s official. The game is ON. I am so happy.”

Graphic novels have won major ALA awards before (Brian Selznick won the 2008 Caldecott Medal for The Invention of Hugo Cabret), this is the first year that  one graphic novel took home both a Caldecott and Printz Honor. This One Summer, by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, (Macmillan/First Second), is a graphic novel, qualifying it as a “picture book for children” (Caldecott).  Since it is written for children ages 12 to 18, it also qualifies as a young adult title (Printz). In addition, El Deafo, by Cece Bell, (Abrams/Amulet) won a Newbery Honor.

Even more significant, just months after the formation of the We Need Diverse Books campaign, the medalists and honorees represent a wide range of backgrounds.


Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

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The second book of the award-winning graphic memoir by Congressman John Lewis, the next in a planned trilogy, arrives today.

Featured today in Entertainment Weekly ‘s “Shelf Life” column, the story notes that Book One, “took the world by surprise. Acclaimed by the comics press and social justice activists alike, it was an engaging and accessible work of nonfiction about one of the most important moments in American history.” It also a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book, one of YALSA’s Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens and was on multiple best books list for the year.

Book Two may have taken the library world by surprise. Reviewed last week in Kirkus and yesterday in SLJ‘s “Good Comics for Kids” column, it does not appear on library catalogs we checked.

March: Book Two
Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
Top Shelf; January 20, 2015

m00eIn a  feature about the books on CNN in July, Lewis said he used the comic format because many in his generation in the ’60s were deeply inspired by a comic book called Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery Story (watch the video to the end, for a story about libraries).

Top Shelf Comics has republished that comic book in print as well as in a digital bundle with Book One.

RA Alert: Scott McCloud’s

Monday, January 19th, 2015

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The book on many a comics readers’ mind in the next few weeks (and maybe all year) will be Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor (Macmillan/First Second, Feb. 3), a massive 496 page graphic novel that Cory Doctorow called McCloud’s “magnum opus” back in April. Due out on February 3rd, it is the story of a washed up young artist who makes a deal with Death to create art that will be remembered – but he only gets to live 200 days to do so.

The comic book scene is buzzing with anticipation and Entertainment Weekly listed it as one of the “20 Books We’ll Read in 2015.” For advisors who need a bit of backstory, McCloud is a writer/artist that readers treasure for his nonfiction books (drawn, of course) explaining how comics work (Understanding Comics, Reinventing Comics, and Making Comics – all published by William Morrow). The Sculptor is his first graphic novel in over a decade and follows in the wake of his cult favorite title Zot! (which HarperCollins reprinted in 2008). McCloud discussed creating the book, which took five years, in USA Today last June, sharing that he wanted to make a book that was “an engrossing read — a page-turner from beginning to end.”

Macmillan offers a look at McCloud’s innovative page design, use of perspective, and his color palette of pale blues and deep blacks. First Second provides more images as well as a glimpse of the cover and the spine – showing just how big a book The Sculptor is.

Many libraries have yet to order it, in spite of glowing reviews and stars from library trade journals and the long-simmering publicity.

Graphic Novels Audience Expands

Monday, January 5th, 2015

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The next wave of readers clamoring for more graphic novels might not be the stereotypical teenage boy but his sister instead. The Wall Street Journal recently posted an article exploring the rise in female graphic novel authors and illustrators, a new focus on female characters, and the expansion of female readers. Not only have graphic novel sales grown, “outpacing the overall trade-book market” according to the article, it seems, at least in part, that women are behind those figures, expanding the market and changing the graphic novel landscape.

The new attention might be behind the recent focus on female characters in superhero comics, a world long dominated by male figures. Not only has Wonder Woman gotten more attention in 2014, but She-Hulk, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Woman, and Batgirl all saw an increase in their profiles. In the TV world, Agent Carter makes the point as well.

Female writers and artists are certainly changing the scene, offering new stories, characters, and approaches. The WSJ article features Raina Telgemeier, creator of Smile (Graphix, 2010; OverDrive Sample) and Sisters (Graphix, 2014; OverDrive Sample) and mentions Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (Bloomsbury USA, 2014; OverDrive Sample), a finalist for the National Book Award and on many best books lists.

More to Consider

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Collection development and RA librarians seeking more examples might also consider This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki (First Second, 2014), How to Be Happy by Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics, 2014), Through the Woods by Emily Carroll (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2014; OverDrive Sample), and Gast by Carol Swain (Fantagraphics, 2014).

Holds Alert: HERE
by Richard McGuire

Monday, December 29th, 2014

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The graphic novel of the moment (and perhaps the year) is Richard McGuire’s Here (Random House/Pantheon, 12/9/14), an experimental, time-bending, tour de force that Chris Ware calls “a work of literature and art unlike any seen or read before” in his Guardian review. Ware knows what he is talking about, having re-created the comics scene in 2012 with Building Stories (Random House/Pantheon).

McGuire’s book floats through decades, centuries, millennia, as it highlights tiny moments in time, overlapping them in space so that readers see multiple events at once in the same location. The artwork is as compelling as the concept, precisely drawn, finely observed, and charmingly surprising at times.

Review after review after review lauds McGuire’s creation, which he has been working on for 25 years, all pointing out its significance and its place alongside the masterworks of Ware and Art Spiegelman.

Holds are building around the country, with some libraries yet to receive copies and some yet to purchase. Where copies are in circulation holds generally exceed a 3:1 ratio. As we posted earlier, McGuire’s book and work is also the subject of an exhibition at the Morgan library.