Sunday, June 30, 2013

Graphic Novels, Libraries and More

My friend and co-worker Sam and I were honored to represent the Anne Arundel County Public Library at yesterday's Annapolis Comic Con,  a con now in its third year. This was a lot of fun for both of us, plus we got to meet a lot of great people. We also got to tell people things about the library they didn't know.

Everyone knows, of course, that libraries have books, books, books. Some even know we have graphic novels and comics. Yet we couldn't get over the number of people who didn't know that we have popular movies and current TV shows on DVD. For free. We saw eyes widen when we told people we actually have Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Justified, True Blood, Dexter and more on DVD. Others had no idea we have downloadable audiobooks and ebooks that work with their ereader devices.

Sure, a lot of people knew we had programs like Storytime, but they didn't realize we also have Anime & Manga clubs, Star Wars programs including Star Wars Reads Day, and more. They didn't know that our branch has a Guys Book Club that recently discussed one of the most significant graphic novels of all time, Art Spiegelman's Maus. They didn't know that our branch is also planning not one, but two Superman programs in honor of the Man of Steel's 75th birthday.

Oh yeah, and we have this thing called Summer Reading Club. It provides opportunities for your kids to read during the summer. And have fun doing it! (Really!)

Yet we didn't have to tell people the importance of graphic novels and comics. They already know that comics and graphic novels are great tools for getting reluctant readers hooked on reading.

We're hoping to do more cons in the future. I think we began a journey yesterday to building even stronger relationships with the public, people who perhaps knew we're out there, but now know a little bit more about what we have to offer. And perhaps the most important thing we have to offer them is not our materials, but ourselves - our knowledge, our customer service, and our willingness to help. We're there, so let us know how we can help you.

Our library mascot Sneaks had such a great time at the con, he decided to go back in time and do it all over again!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Peter Panzerfaust Volume II: Hooked (2013) Kurtis J. Wiebe & Tyler Jenkins

Peter Panzerfaust, Volume II: Hooked (2013) - Kurtis J. Wiebe & Tyler Jenkins
Collecting Peter Panzerfaust #6-10
Trade paperback, 128 pages
ISBN 9781607067283
Retail price: $14.99
Amazon price: $11.58

If you haven’t heard of Peter Panzerfaust, you probably will soon. The graphic novels are being adapted into a motion comic and eventually, a BBC TV series. But don’t wait for those formats. This is a graphic novel series you should read right now. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

To Conan or Not to Conan?

Although the hardcover edition of Conan, Vol. 13: Queen of the Black Coast was released in January, 2013, the trade paperback is on the docket for release this week, according to the release schedule at Collected Comics Library.

Since I have lately become a fan of writer Brian Wood, and have always admired the artwork of Becky Cloonan (although she's not the only artist contributing here), picking up the trade paperback this week seems like a no-brainer.

Or does it?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Graphic Novels Read in May 2013

Things were quite hectic in May, so I didn’t get much read and you didn’t see many posts. Hopefully that will change this month. From the looks of things, it seems I was having quite a Brian Wood fest here at Graphic Novel Universe. 

The Massive: Black Pacific (2012/2013) - Brian Wood, Kristan Donaldson, Garry Brown * * * * *

X-9: Secret Agent Corrigan, Vol. 1 (1967-69/2010) - Archie Goodwin, Al Williamson * * * *

DMZ, Vol. 1: On the Ground (2005/2006) - Brian Wood, Riccardo Burchielli 

Northlanders Vol. 1: Sven the Returned (2007/2008) - Brian Wood, Davide Gianfelice

As mentioned before, May was clearly Brian Wood month. I’d never read any of his work before (Don’t ask me how that happened...), but after reading The Massive early in the month, I knew I couldn’t stop there. 

Touching very briefly on each of these books, I had a similar feeling with DMZ to the one I had with The Massive: with both tales, Wood managed to drop me into a world that was already fully developed and built, but not fully revealed. In DMZ, a second American civil war has turned Manhattan into a demilitarized zone. A mostly clueless reporter named Matthew Roth stumbles into an assignment that literally opens his eyes to the ways of life and death in the DMZ. 

Northlanders, a Viking saga of betrayal and revenge, is just as effective in its storytelling and, oddly enough, far more graphic than DMZ. One element that takes you somewhat out of the story is the use of words/phrases/vernacular that don’t seem fitting to the era Wood’s writing about. But I wasn’t there, and there’s so much we don’t know about the Vikings, so who cares? It’s a great story. 

In each of Wood’s books, he’s showing us worlds that are completely messed up,  especially with The Massive and DMZ. I hope to explore more about the spiritual nature of these books as I work my way through both series. But for now, I am astounded with Wood’s writing. 

DMZ 5/5

Northlanders 4.5/5

Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four, Vol. 4 (1964-65/2003) - Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, et. al

What can I say? These comics are a product of their time. Lee and Kirby are very close in this volume to the ground-breaking issues that would change the comics landscape forever. But they’re not there yet. Even this early in the series, readers are treated to some pretty cool comics, but Lee & Kirby are primarily caught in a vicious cycle, rehashing the same character conflicts among the group. At least we get plenty of Doctor Doom thrown into the mix and I’ve always been fond of #39 and #40 with Doctor Doom and Daredevil.