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

Depths of Concrete

Paul Chadwick’s 1980s Concrete series has been recently re-released by Dark Horse Comics. The series follow the life of Ronald Lithgow after aliens transplant his brain into a massive body made of rock. Instead of having Concrete seek revenge on the aliens who put him into this predicament, or having him declare his intentions to rid the world of evil-doers, Chadwick explores how Mr. Lithgow (former senatorial speechwriter and average Joe) deals mentally, emotionally, and physically with suddenly having a "nigh invulnerable" body.

In the first book of the series, Depths, we get Concrete’s origin story, complete with aliens and woodland creatures. Also included are some of the early stories, never before collected, in which Concrete attends a birthday party, attempts to swim an ocean, and becomes bodyguard to a rock star. The page layout choices are well thought out and the illustrations are fantastic. Chadwick’s attention to detail throughout adds a lot to the story (especially the 150 panel swim sequence on page 54).

All good things must come to an end

One of the most popular manga in the U.S. is Fruits Basket, the story of Tohru Honda and her friendship with the rich and mysterious Sohma family.

After 7 years and 136 chapters, the manga has finally concluded its serialization in Japan; the final chapter was published in the magazine Hana to Yume on November 20th. While you’re waiting for volumes 16-23 to reach the states via Tokyopop’s translations, why not watch the excellent anime adaptation? It’s twenty-six episodes long, spread over four DVDs, and covers events (with a few differences) from the first six volumes of the manga.

Fruits Basket, Vol. 1 (Episodes 1-6)
Fruits Basket, Vol. 2 (Episodes 7-12)
Fruits Basket, Vol. 3 (Episodes 13-19)
Fruits Basket, Vol. 4 (Episodes 20-26)

“Well, I’ll be an eight-ball’s uncle!”

Secret Wars #8Secret Wars #8

In Secret Wars #8, released in the mid eighties, an alien machine gave Spider-Man the now infamous black costume. It turned out to be an alien symbiote and soon became one of his greatest foes, Venom.
Since then we have not seen Spider-Man in the black costume. But, in the aftermath of Civil War, Marvel’s summer event, we once again see Spidey don the black threads. Marvel’s Spider-Man: Back in Black! series runs through next February.

Could this be a possible tie-in with the upcoming Spider-Man 3, where we see Toby Maguire also wearing the black costume?
Get reacquainted with your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man with books and movies from aadl’s collection.

Trust and Betrayal

Samurai XSamurai X

The Meiji Restoration (1866-1869) marked the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan. The two part OVA Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal is a story set during that tumultuous era. In the shadows of Kyoto, Himura Kenshin works for the Choshu revolutionaries as their best assassin. But a chance meeting with a mysterious young woman named Tomoe leads him to reconsider his choices.

Samurai X is gorgeously animated and features some of Japan’s best voice actors, including Mayo Suzukaze and Tomokazu Seki. It’s based on events from volumes 19, 20, and 21 of the manga Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki, but unlike the manga, it’s aimed at adults rather than teens.

If you’re interested in reading more about this historical era, the library also has some great nonfiction books about it, such as Inventing Japan, 1853-1964, The Making of Modern Japan, and The Last Samurai: The Life and Battles of Saigo Takamori.

Comics Art Digital Coloring 101, Sunday, November 12

Enjoy drawing your own comics and working on computers? This teens only program is for you. You’ll learn how to use Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 on Mac computers to clean up your art, fill in line work with colors and halftones, create cool lettering, prep the finished page for printing, and more.

Choose one of two sessions to attend [12:30-2:30 p.m. OR 3-5 p.m.]. Register by calling 327-8301 or stop by any information desk.

Syndicate content