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.

The D Word: Comic Collections to Watch Out For.

Dykes to Watch Out ForDykes to Watch Out For

My latest preferred form of episodic entertainment has been found in reading our collections of Alison Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For, a comics series about a diverse group of lesbian women and their many adventures. It's just good, fun reading, with characters that you really come to care about. But it's also one of the few pieces of current, popular storytelling that I know of which actually focuses on women, LGBTQ people, people of color, and progressive issues. I didn't even realize what I was missing until I started immersing myself into these great stories. We have many of the compilations here at the library.

And of course, I would highly recommend Bechdel's Fun Home: her graphic memoir about her early life and experience of coming out. It's a really special book.

February Books to Films

Sophie Kinsella's bestseller Confessions of a Shopaholic is now a chick flick that would appeal to retail-therapy addicts who won't mind a bit of humor at our expense. Shopping on Madison Avenue is almost as much fun as the original London setting.

Fresh from winning the ultimate Newbery Award, one of Neil Gaiman's earlier novels comes to the silver screen as a delightful animated feature Coraline. While looking for excitement, young Coraline ventures through a mysterious door into a strange world where she must challenge a gruesome entity in order to save herself, her parents, and the souls of three others. The novel was a New York Times Bestseller, Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2002 and School Library Journal Best Book of 2002.

Based on the wildly popular He's Just Not That Into You by Greg Behrendt, this potential blockbuster tells the stories of a group of interconnected, Baltimore-based twenty- and thirtysomethings as they navigate their various relationships "from the shallow end of the dating pool through the deep, murky waters of married life", trying to read the signs of the opposite sex. With a star-studded cast, it is sure to please the movie-date crowd.

The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde

19th century poet and playwright Oscar Wilde is best known for his plays, such as Salomé and The Importance of Being Earnest, and his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. Although he mainly wrote for an adult audience, he also wrote several very popular children’s fairy tales. Written with Wilde’s trademark wit, these stories serve as social commentaries as well as entertainment. Award winning comic artist P. Craig Russell illustrates these fairy tales in a series of graphic novels called Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde. If the comic book style isn’t your thing, you can also find Wilde’s fairy tales in picture book form in Stories for Children, illustrated by P.J. Lynch.

A Graphic Novel Recomendation: Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale

I have long been a fan of the comic book work of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Their many story collaborations about iconic DC and Marvel comic superheroes have always represented especially poignant and reflective tellings of familiar stories. In our AADL collection, we have The Long Halloween and Dark Victory: Batman stories that formed some of the basis for Christopher Nolan's movie Batman Begins.


Before there were graphic novels, Jack Kirby envisioned a day when comics would be written to be collected in prestigious hardcover volumes to be treasured as one would Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus is the realization of that vision, albeit too late for him to see it.

"The Fourth World", as it came to be known, began as a story Kirby meant to tell in the pages of Marvel's The Mighty Thor comic book series. When Ragnarok was to arrive on Asgard, the Norse Gods Thor, Loki, Odin, and Balder were to die. From the ashes of Asgard's destruction would come a new race of people to carry the epic battles of the gods into exciting new directions. Instead of sharing this opus with an increasingly ungrateful Marvel Comics, Kirby took "The New Gods" to DC Comics. Beginning with his run on Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Kirby introduced us to timeless heroes like aggressive Orion, cheerful Lightray, and inscrutable Metron of New Genesis; and classic villains like Apokolips monarch Darkseid, ruthless enforcer Kalibak, and demented torturer Desaad.

Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, Volume One collects Kirby's galaxy-spanning tale of the New Gods in the order the stories originally appeared in the pages of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, New Gods, The Forever People, and Mister Miracle. The time has come to experience "An Epic For Our Times" as Kirby meant it to be.

Vampire Hunter stalks AADL

Do you remember Blade? You know, the half-vampire daywalking vampire slayer from those awesome movies? Well we have the Blade comics collected in graphic novels! Sit ringside as Blade fights hordes of vampires, Shield agents, Wolverine, and...Santa Clause? (Don't let his jolly exterior fool you, Santa is a fighter!) Blade also digs deeper into his past--and finds out more about his destiny.

New Graphic Novels for Kids!

Our wonderful library is always getting new graphic novels. Here are a few new ones for kids that could be new favorites:

Chiggers by Hope Larson: Abby goes back to the same summer camp she always goes too. All her old friends are there but so is a new girl Shasta, who drives everyone except Abby nuts. Can Abby be friends with Shasta without losing her other friends?

Korgi: Volume 2 of this strange and exciting graphic novel series is now in our library. Follow Ivy and her korgi dog Sprout as they navigate the wonders and dangers of magical Korgi Hollow. You know what else is strange? There are no words!

Dinosaurs Across America: These dinosaur friends are travelling across the USA visiting every state. Fun and informative, with plenty of dinosaurs for everyone!

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: It's the classic story of the hunchback Quasimodo, now in graphic novel format!

Top Ten Graphic Novels for Teens: Sidescrollers

There are a lot of great graphic novels out there for teens. If you want to read a really interesting graphic novel, check out YALSA's 2008 Top Ten Great Graphic Novels for Teens. The folks at the Young Adult Library Services Association picked out ten great graphic novels, including Sidescrollers.

Sidescrollers is the thrilling adventure of three guys who want to play video games and go to a concert. But to get to the concert they have to face their archnemesis, the big bully Richard (they call him "Dick"), an evil cat, angry girl scouts, and matrix lobsters. Will the trio make it to the concert and save the girl? Is Cap'n Crunch the meanest cereal guy or is he a wimp? Will Brian ever lose at Street Fighter?

Stop asking and read!

Graphic Novel Bootcamp: Training in the Fundamentals of Comics Storytelling

Closing DoorsClosing Doors

How is a graphic novel different than a comic book? Is it the length of the story, the format in which the story's printed, the genre or subject matter, or is there something more going on? Find out Sunday, September 28, 2008 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Pittsfield Branch Program Room .

Join cartoonist and teaching artist Mark Rudolph, author of the graphic novel Closing Doors (recently featured in a documentary aired on Detroit Public Television), in an interactive discussion and hands-on workshop that explores the unique affordances granted to a cartoonist when making a graphic novel. Learn some of the fundamental techniques used by professional cartoonists as you create some of your own comics work. Discover some of the idiosyncratic storytelling possibilities facing an author of "long form" comics stories.

Supplies will be provided. All you need to bring is your imagination and the urge to create!

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