Out on the Wire: an illustrated look at the world of radio

Jessica Abel pulls off the counter intuitive—illustrating a purely auditory medium—in her new graphic novel Out on the Wire. The book goes behind the scenes at seven of today’s most popular narrative radio shows and podcasts including This American Life, The Moth, Radiolab, Planet Money, Snap Judgment, Serial and Invisibilia to show readers how the producers of these shows go from abstract ideas to the finished product that listeners hear. Narrative radio shows like the ones Out on the Wire focuses on have increased dramatically in popularity over the past few years, as smartphones and apps make it easier to listen to podcasts on the go. As a devoted podcast listener myself, I love how immersive the ones that Abel chose to focus on in this book are. It’s amazing that talk radio has risen to the level that it has! Abel was assisted by Ira Glass, of This American Life, and Jad Abumrad, of Radiolab in the creation of Out on the Wire and Glass even wrote the forward for the book. Although the book is fascinating for all readers, it’s particularly a must-read for fans of the podcasts and shows that Abel focuses on. The book is truly a novel and well-executed idea that gives readers an inside look into the world of the voices and stories that we hear every day.

Comic artist spotlight: Marguerite Debaie

Marguerite Debaie is a Palestinian-American artist who has been writing comics about the Palestinian-American experience and they are great. Her first book, in two volumes, The Hookah Girl and other Stories are humorously poignant observations from someone who has grown up as a Christian Palestinian in the US. These two volumes manage to capture what it was like for Marguerite growing up. The art is beautiful and at times it manages to capture in time a moment of great importance for us to share with the artist. So check out Volume 1 and Volume 2

Her second book A Voyage to Panjikant is a beautiful piece of historical fiction that follows a family from 7th Century Sogdiana (now known as Uzbekistan) who are in the midst of the silk road. This first volume is short, but you can see the time and care that went into making it. The coloring is by far some of the most beautiful work I’ve seen in some time, Debaie really captures the vibrancy of the culture. If you are interested in historical-fiction comics then you need to read A Voyage to Panjikant.

Crossover Graphic Novels November Edition!

We've got a whole bunch of great crossover graphic novels for you this month and these ones are amazing!

First up this month we have Gryphon's Aren't So Great by James Sturm of Adventures in Cartooning fame. This story follows The Knight and his best friend Edward (who is his horse). Like all friendships this one is troubled by a gryphon (what your friendships don't have gryphon troubles? Must just be me). The Knight meets the Gryphon and starts riding him instead of Edward, and talking to Edward about how great Gryphon is. So just what will Edward do when Gryphon turns out to be more perilous than a pet? Read Gryphon's Aren't So Great and find out.

The second crossover graphic novel this month is Fable Comics which has a variety of artists but was edited together by Chris Duffy. These are not your normal every day fables. Nope these ones include ninja grapes (that may or may not be sour), ironic stepping on people, and leopards who really know how to rock! First Second, the published of this collection, really brought their A game to the table. The art is all great and the stories will make you chuckle, if not laugh out so loud that people wonder what's funny.

The third and final crossover is an adaptation of a wildly successful book series Warriors. Follow Ravanpaw, Tigerstar, Sasha, Graystripe, and Scourge amongst others as these graphic novels take you through new stories set in the world of Warriors. The art work in the books captures the feel of the novels, and its interesting to see what someone else imagines your favorite cats to look like! Those of you who are not already fans of the Warriors series (or who think you're too old for them) the stories in the novels are often captivating and any cat lover could enjoy the antics of these wonderful cats!

That's it for this month, but keep your eyes open for other great graphic novels that we blog about in the next month!

Lawbreakers Beware! Judge Dredd is in the Building!

The British comic 2000 AD has had a huge impact on the world of comics and graphic novels with such great comic book geniuses as Alan Moore, Peter Milligan and Neil Gaiman having worked for the comic, but none of the stories to come out of 2000 AD are quite as well known as Judge Dredd, spawning hundreds of issues of comics and 2 major motion pictures as well as a slew of video games.

Now in almost 400-page volumes, you can read the exploits of Judge Dredd in Mega-City One for yourself in "The Complete Judge Dredd Case files". The comics have a dark and gritty feel that now might be commonplace amongst certain genres of graphic novels, but at the time was truly revolutionary!

If you've ever seen the movies or played the games and wanted to know more about Judge Dredd and the world that he lives in, then now is the perfect chance to check out the many volumes that the library offers.

Blacksad: Amarillo winner of the Eisner and Harvey awards this year

In this year's comic awards season, Blacksad: Amarillo has taken home two major awards this year!

So, what's all the fuss about?

Blacksad is a anthropomorphic noir detective comic about a cat named John Blacksad. This book was wildly popular in France when it was first published, and it's popularity has led to translation into more than 20 different languages. Amarillo is the 5th installment in the series. The book starts with a fight over poetry and literary merit and just gets better from there.

The artwork is beautiful and captivating; it's easy to get caught up in the imagery as you read. If you love mysteries, graphic novels, and amazing artwork, Blacksad is a must-read.

Shakespeare at his finest, or at least at his shortest!

There is something to be said about Shakespeare, and that something might possibly be that it is not possible to get an understanding of the plot of a Shakespearean play in fewer than 10 seconds. Well, now it is, thanks to Brevity is the Soul of Wit!

Want to know what happens to Henry VI in Henry VI part 2? This book breaks it down!

Need to know what Hamlet does in Hamlet? This book gets you the answer you are seeking!

Want to know what happens Cymbeline? Wait...Shakespeare wrote a play called Cymbeline...? Well, not only do know now know the Bard's lesser-known titles, you can also know the overall arc of the main plot!

The art isn't breath-taking, and the prose isn't overwrought, and short and sweet is a whole new way to appreciate Shakespeare's work! If you are a fan of Shakespeare, you'll laugh at the extremely summarized style. The artist clearly loves the work of Shakespeare and it shines throughout the book. This is a great, and quick read and very much worth the time!

Crossover Graphic Novels: October Edition!

Another month, another three graphic novels perfect for comic lovers whether you are 5 or 500!

The first is a graphic novel based on the hit TV show Steven Universe and imaginatively named Steven Universe Volume 1. If you're not familiar with the TV show Steven Universe, it's about a boy named Steven who is half human/half Crystal Gem. The Crystal Gems are an advanced alien race with superpowers and extended lifespans. Steven and the Crystal Gems work hard to save Beach City and the Earth from gem monsters and other disasters. This comic is a great adaptation of the show and manages to capture the feel of the show while being its own unique entity. It's a must-read for any fans of the show and if you've never seen it, it'll give you a window into one of the current hot trends!

The second is another adaptation, though this time from newspaper comic strips to monthly comics. Peanuts is produced by KaBOOM, the same company behind the hit comic Lumberjanes. Peanuts is great, and you can tell that the team behind it really loved the original series by Charles Schultz. The humor is very similar and the characters are every bit as lovable as they were in the classic strip! Now with the new Peanuts movie coming out later this year, it's the perfect time to check out some great new strips with your favorite characters.

The third graphic novel is Space Dumplins. This book is seriously great, it has everything from the the excitement of space and the drama of family, to the joy of space whale poop harvesting. The book follows Violet Marlocke, daughter of a lumberjack (the people who harvest said space whale poop). When her dad goes missing and the government takes no action, Marlocke and her friends set off on a rescue adventure.


Harvey Award Winners 2015: Celebrating Great Comics and Graphic Novels

Another year, another group of great comics and graphic novels were celebrated at yesterday's Harvey Awards at the Baltimore Comic Convention. Without further ado, here are the Harvey Award winners for 2015:

Saga really cleaned house winning 3 out of the 4 awards that they were nominated for (Best Cover Artist: Fiona Staples, Best Continuing or Limited Series, and Best Artist: Fiona Staples)

Afterlife with Archie won Best Letterer award for Jack Morelli’s work

Teenage mutant ninja turtles : the ultimate visual history won Best Biographical. Historical or Journalistic Presentation.

Blacksad: Amarillo won Best American Edition of Foreign Material

Danny Miki won Best Inker for his work on Batman.

Best New Series went to Southern Bastards

Jim Henson’s Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow won Best Graphic Album Original

Best Writer went to Mark Waid for his work on Daredevil

Lumberjanes took home Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers

Sex Criminals won the Special Award for Humor in Comics

Les Bandes Dessinées

When you are learning another language, reading graphic novels can be a helpful and fun way to develop your vocabulary and cultural knowledge with supporting visual context. Did you know that AADL’s Word Languages collection includes graphic novels for several languages?

I love to practice my French by reading graphic novels, or bandes dessinées. You can browse our French graphic novels in the catalog. Don’t miss Aya de Yopougon by Marguerite Abouet, the story of a young woman studying to become a doctor in Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) circa 1978, and her party-loving friends Adjoua and Bintou who always manage to get into trouble. Loosely inspired by the author’s own experiences growing up, the book includes rich appendices featuring a glossary of expressions, cultural anecdotes, and some Ivorian recipes. Aya de Yopougon will charm anyone looking for a vibrant story of teenage crushes, friendships, dreams, and rebellions, or those who are interested in a story of everyday life in Côte d'Ivoire during an economic boom. Don’t speak French? AADL’s collection includes the Aya series in English.

Bunny Drop a great manga for teens and older!

There is nothing normal about the beginnings of Bunny Drop, it starts with a death, Daikichi's grandfather dies and leaves behind a surprise for everyone in the family. He has an illegitimate daughter named Rin, who is only 6 years old. Follow the unlikely family as Daikichi and Rin learn how to live together and create a life together.
This manga is seriously cute, but it's not the cute that makes this manga worth reading (though cute is never a bad thing in a josei manga) it deals with the struggles of raising a child, especially one that is not biologically yours. It also deals with issues such as, abandonment, death, unexpected pregnancy, fame and friendship.

The library has all 9 volumes and so you can read the entire story from start to finish! So check out Bunny Drop!

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