Heard the one about the goatman in the lemon grove?

Gilbert Hernandez took a break from his work on Love & Rockets (done collaboratively with his brother Jamie) to create another book on his own, Sloth.

Hernandez uses his rough and expressive style of illustration to work magic on the story of Miguel, a youth full of suburban ennui who wills himself into a coma as a means of escape. When Miguel wakes up a year later, his physical movements have slowed to a sloth’s pace and he finds himself mixed up in a local urban legend. The story takes some unexpected twists and and comes out looking like a Möbius strip.

Grease Monkey: a tale of growing up in orbit

On those days when you’re trying to figure out how the adult world works wouldn’t it be great to have an 800-pound gorilla on your side? Cadet Robin Plotnik, is about to get just that. He is assigned to work with mechanic Mac Gimbensky, for whom fixing space fighters is a passion and an art. Mac’s “creative” work style has chased off many a cadet but Robin manages to survive his first day as Mac’s grease monkey. In no time the two become good friends.

Together, this unlikely duo maintains the fighter craft for the all-women Barbarian Squadron, which constantly competes against other fighter jocks. Full of adventure, romance, and humor Grease Monkey will engage you to the last page.

La Perdida

Jessica Abel, known for her comics series Artbabe, has already received a lot of acclaim for her latest graphic novel, La Perdida (The Lost One).
Mexican-American Carla, moves to Mexico City (with a Frida Kahlo obsession and a pair of rose colored glasses) in search of her Mexican heritage and herself. Her naiveté and preconceived notions soon get her into trouble.
Abel’s brushwork is amazing. The black and white artwork, though simple, adds depth to the story. She does some interesting things with the Spanish dialogue to really give you an idea of what it is like for a non-Spanish-speaker.

American Born Chinese is 2007 Printz Award winner

The first graphic novel to win the Printz Award is American Born Chinese by Gene Yang. Announced today in Seattle, the 2007 Printz Award winner “focuses on three characters in tales that touch on facets of Chinese American life. Jin is a boy faced with the casual racism of fellow students and the pressure of his crush on a Caucasian girl; the Monkey King, a character from Chinese folklore, has attained great power but feels he is being held back because of what the gods perceive as his lowly status; and Danny, a popular high-school student, suffers through an annual visit from his cousin Chin-Kee, a walking, talking compendium of exaggerated Chinese stereotypes.” (Booklist review)

Printz Honor books are:

Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: Taken From Accounts by his Own Hand and Other Sundry Sources by M.T. Anderson
Abundance of Katherines by John Greene
Surrender by Sonya Hartnett
The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak

Sports Manga @ Animanga Club on January 24

Get in the game as the Animanga Club discusses our favorite sports manga and does a cool craft. We’ll be focusing on Prince of Tennis, Eyeshield 21, and Crimson Hero, but come with recommendations of others sports manga that you’ve loved. Pocky and other snacks will be provided. The event will be held from 7:00-8:30 pm at the Malletts Creek Branch on Wednesday, January 24th.

Great stuff I have been reading...

I read a lot of great graphic novels and manga this past year and some of the titles that really left lasting impressions on me include: Abandon the Old in Tokyo by Yoshihrio Tatsumi, the seminal gekiga style mangaka. The manga series One Piece by Eiichiro Oda - wacked out and super fun pirate tales jammed with memorable characters, places and stories. Another is Ellen Forney's I Love Led Zeppelin - yet another wild ride celebrating alternative lifestyles and musings on memories. Rounding out the list are Alison Bechdel's Fun Home: a family Tragicomic - yes, it's as good as they say it is! Be sure to check out her Dykes to Watch Out For collections too...

”It’s easy to become anything you wish…”

“…so long as you’re willing to forfeit your soul.”

Gene Luen Yang’s graphic novel, American Born Chinese, follows three separate stories: the Monkey King who wants to be seen as a god; Jin Yang, the only Chinese-American attending a predominantly white suburban school; and Danny, a white adolescent trying to maintain a social standing while being visited yearly by his boorish Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee. Yang skillfully weaves the three stories into one (with the help of an Herbalist’s wife and Transformers) while exploring self-image, acceptance, and pride.
Yang’s humor and simplified drawing style highlight his talent for storytelling. It’s no wonder this book was a 2006 finalist for the National Book Award in the category of Young People’s Literature—a first for a graphic novel.

American Born Chinese & The Monkey King

Cleverly interweaving stories tell the tales of Jin Wang, a teen who meets with ridicule and social isolation when his family moves from San Francisco's Chinatown to an exclusively white suburb; Danny, a popular blond, blue-eyed high school jock whose social status is jeopardized when his goofy, embarrassing Chinese cousin, Chin-Kee, enrolls at his high school; and the Monkey King who, unsatisfied with his current sovereign, desperately longs to be elevated to the status of a god. Exploring issues of self-image, cultural identity, transformation, and self-acceptance American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang is a rare treat.

Pride of Baghdad

Writer Brain K. Vaughan’s latest graphic novel, Pride of Baghdad, follows the story of four lions that escape from the Baghdad Zoo during a U.S. bombing raid in 2003. The story was inspired by actual events. (You can read the BBC story here.) Vaughan explores the idea of freedom and what it means to the individual. His characters come from different backgrounds and generations, each representing a different point of view on their situation. Vaughan’s method of telling this story, through the use of anthropomorphism, works well to get his feelings on war across without sounding too preachy. The illustrations and color by Niko Henrichon add to the story by giving the reader a good feel for the locations.

There are some very graphic depictions of violence, so this book is not for children.

Bone (in color!)

If you missed out on the first run of this great comic series (originally released from 1994-2004 by Cartoon Books) you won’t want to miss Scholastic’s re-release. The writer/illustrator, Jeff Smith, is currently working with colorist Steve Hamaker to color all nine volumes, which were previously released in black and white.

The story follows the adventures of three cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone as they are run out of their hometown of Boneville and find themselves in a mysterious valley. There they encounter giant rat creatures, swarms of locusts, dragons, princesses, and racing cows. It’s a fantasy saga that doesn’t take itself too seriously all the time. Take Smith's humor, throw in a little adventure, romance, and suspense, and you have a comic that appeals to all audiences.

Visit Jeff Smith's website to learn more about Bone.

You will find the new Scholastic color versions through volume four in our collection (volume 5 is due out next February):
1.Out from Boneville
2.The Great Cow Race
3.Eyes of the Storm
4.The Dragonslayer

AADL also has some of the black and white Cartoon Books releases:
1.Out from Boneville
3.Eyes of the Storm
4.The Dragonslayer
6.Old Man’s Cave
8.Treasure Hunters

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