Books into Graphic Novels

They make books into movies so why not make books into graphic novels? The library has several in the collection like P. Craig Russell’s adaptation of Coraline by Neil Gaiman which is beautifully done and in my opinion better than the movie. The Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan has gone manga. Takahiro Arai’s artwork has made Cirque a manga hit in Japan. After translation it’s now available in the English-speaking world. Fahrenheit 451: The Authorized Adaptation is another book turned into graphic novel winner. It’s creator, Ray Bradbury provides an intriguing introduction to this adaptation by Tim Hamilton. The storytelling and artwork set a dark and heavy tone that is ever faithful to this classic dystopian tale.

Graphic Novels - The Photographer

The Photographer is an extraordinary Graphic Novel. I could not put it down until I finished it 5 hours later. At least 2 of those hours were spent studying the strings of photos among the illustrated frames of the story. If you are interested in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Doctors Without Borders aka MSF, or photography try this book. If you believe you are not interested in graphic novels, … this book is an unforgettable way to be introduced to the genre. It is also a genuine account of 1989 border strife between tribal cultures, MSF, Taliban, Russian occupation, and “the photographer” Immanuel Guibert. Pictures are worth thousands of words and What a story !

Gorgeous Korean Manhwa Trilogy

Manhwa is the general term for for comics and print cartoons in Korea. If you're looking for a lushly drawn, and accessible graphic novel to try for the first time, or if you're a seasoned reader looking for something new be sure to try the "Color" trilogy by Dong Hwa Kim. The trilogy starts with The Color of Water and chronicles the lives of a single mother and her daughter in rural Korea in a moving and evocative look at love as seen through the eyes of one feeling it for the first time and another who longs to savor it once more. The story continues with The Color of Earth and concludes with The Color of Heaven. Beautiful illustrations, mother and daughter bonding and romance will capture your heart. The trilogy is published by First Second the premier publishing house for quality, literate graphic novels.


Fluffy is a baby rabbit being raised by a single man called Michael Pulcino. Fluffy wonders if he will have black hair like Michael's when he grows up and if he can keep the library book that he loves about tractors. He also wonders what his nursery school teacher is doing visiting his apartment late at night. Michael struggles with relationships, a rabbit in denial, and being a single dad. Fluffy is absolutely adorable.

Simone Lia is one half of Cabanon Press.

Mouse Guard

Mouse GuardMouse Guard

The mice struggle to live safely and prosper among all of the world’s harsh conditions and predators. Thus the Mouse Guard was formed…

Mouse Guard tells the tales of mice surviving in the Middle Ages. In the spirit of books such as Watership Down, this comic is far from “cute.” It is a tale of survival – because the life of a mouse can be short and brutal. So it is the aim of the Mouse Guard to protect their fellow mice, traveling from town to town and facing dangers such as crabs, snakes and weasels.

Beautifully illustrated and written by Michigan native David Petersen, Mouse Guard is targeted toward younger children, but can also be enjoyed by readers of all ages. The comic received two 2008 Eisner Awards in the category of “Best Publication for Kids.” There are currently two volumes, each containing six issues: Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Winter 1152, the latter of which has been on the NY Times Best Selling Graphic Books list for the past six weeks.

Alison Bechdel's Bittersweet Biography

Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel, is one of the most poignant and touching memoirs I have ever read. Her autobiographical graphic novel centers on her relationship to her father, the discovery of his homosexuality (and her own), and his death. The name of the book refers to the family home, a funeral home run by Bechdel’s father, Bruce. Bechdel spent seven years writing and illustrating Fun Home and it's packed with detail, allusions, and pop culture references. The novel pulls off the difficult feat of being simultaneously a quick and easy read and a complexly layered piece of literature. Fun Home was a finalist for the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award, in the Autobiography/Memoir category, and won the 2007 Eisner Award for Best Reality-Based Work.

Alison Bechdel is also the author of the popular comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For.

Craving Comics

For the first twenty-five years of my life I never bothered much with comic books. Sure, I read a few obligatory graphic novels such as Box Office Poison, Ghost World, and Blue Monday. Then there was that year long phase in college where I read web comics almost every day (i.e. Penny Arcade, Scary Go Round, etc.). Really, at that point I had no excuse to shun graphic novels after seeing how much they had to offer. But the literary curmudgeon inside ignored comics in all its forms for the past six years until picking up a copy of Alan Moore's The Watchmen this past winter. It's an amazing story and it revived my interest in the genre. Now I've reached a full turnaround after finishing Absolute Batman: The Long Halloween. After reading these two fantastic graphic novels the trend makes sense. Luckily AADL lends many, many graphic novels to explore what has been published so far. Have any favorites of your own to suggest?

Le Photographe (The Photographer)

The French graphic novel Le Photographe (The Photographer) by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefevre, and Frederic Lemercier has finally been published in the U.S. by First Second with translation by Alexis Siegel. It is the late photographer, Didier Lefevre's, story of his travels with Medecines Sans Frontieres (MSF or Doctors Without Borders) to Afghanistan in 1986. Guibert incorporates Lefevre's photos (he went through some 4000 taken in the 2 months he was there) as well as his own artwork to tell the harrowing story of which Lefevre barely survived. More importantly the novel is about the daily life of the people of Afghanistan who face disease, famine, brutal weather and of course the brutality of war. The courage of the MSF when going into war ravaged areas to perform major surgery or having to ask the Russian doctors for assistance for instance is a big part of this story. All in all an incredibly gripping story with the photos and artwork only adding to the intensity of each scene. Guibert is a well-known French artist. His Alan's War (also just recently published in the U.S.) is an Eisner nominee for best new graphic novel and yet another excellent biography.

The X-Men Stories

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" hit theaters today, expanding on the story of that fan-favorite, pointy-haired, claw-waving, Canadian superhero Wolverine. This continuation of the popular X-Men movie franchise promises to lift the fog that covers the hero's past. If this movie appeals to you, you may also enjoy exploring the in-depth universe of the X-Men available at our library. We have the X-men comics, collected in graphic novel form, as well as the popular X-Men movies. Be forewarned, reading of X-Men can be highly addictive!

Jerzy Drozd Presents: Why Superheroes Communicate to Us

On Saturday, April 25th at 4pm in the Downtown library, Cartoonist Jerzy Drozd, author of The Front: Rebirth and other graphic novels, will deliver a dynamic presentation aimed at adult audiences on the greater significance that superheroes have in our world.

From the author: Superheroes have been an integral part of American culture since the late 1930s. Almost everyone knows what effect Kryptonite has on Superman, why Batman has a disdain for guns, or how Spider-Man learned "with great power comes great responsibility". But are these cultural icons merely a power fantasy for young people, or do they speak to wider human experiences and struggles? And why have they until only recently been a genre exclusive to comic books?

Join cartoonist and teaching artist Jerzy Drozd for an interactive discussion about the role of superheroes in fiction as well as the parallels that can be found when one compares them to characters found in mythology and fables.

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