Avatar @ Animanga Club Thursday, April 12!

What's the coolest type of airbending? Join us this Thursday @ the Northeast Branch from 7-8:30 as we discuss an American spin on anime, Avatar The Last Airbender. We'll watch the DVD of Book 1: Water. Not a fan of Avatar? Come anyway! You can talk about ANYTHING relating to anime, manga, Japan - etc. Snacks and drinks will also be served. See you there!

Plastic Man is Back!

Kyle Baker has re-visited the Golden Age Plastic Man in his Eisner Award winning series. First released in 2004, issues 1-6 have been collected into one volume Plastic Man: On the Lam. Follow Patrick “Eel” Obrien from his days of crime to his transformation into Plastic Man and then see what happens when his former identity is framed for murder. Baker’s wonderfully energetic style and sense of humor translate beautifully to this character. Be on the lookout for surprise characters from Plastic Man’s past and members of the Justice League acting a bit out of character.

Maison Ikkoku

Rumiko Takahashi might just be the wealthiest woman in Japan—if you have read the Maison Ikkoku series then you know why. Her characters are well developed, interesting, and well loved all over the world.

Yusaku Godai, a starving student, moves into a boarding house run by the beautiful, young, and widowed Kyoko Otonashi. Young Godai quickly falls in love only to find that he has many rivals for her affection (including a dog named after her late husband).

After you’ve read the book, don’t forget to check out the anime version.

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.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Groening!

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Matt Groening, cartoonist and creator of The Simpsons, turns 53 today.

He began drawing and self-publishing the comic strip Life in Hell in 1977. This got the attention of Producer James L. Brooks, and led to the creation of the television series The Simpsons, which debuted as shorts on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987. Futurama began airing in 1999 (and was co-created by Groening and David X. Cohen).

The Simpsons Movie is due out this July.

Moomin!

Join Moomin, the beautiful Snorkmaiden, and their friends as they send bad language (with legs) to Aunt Jane, encounter exploding pancakes, and introduce pirates to gardening. Tove Jansson has created a rare treasure that speaks to all generations and all ages. Moomin sums up Jansson's philosophy best when he tells his friend Sniff:

"I only want to live in peace, plant potatoes, and dream!"

Jansson first introduced the Moomins (Scandinavian troll-creatures that resemble white hippopotami) in books that she wrote and illustrated, beginning in 1945 with the book The Moomins and the Great Flood. More Moomintroll books followed, including Comet in Moominland, Finn Family Moomintroll, and Moominpappa's memoirs. These were so popular that she was approached by the London Evening News to do a daily comic strip featuring the Moomin characters. Drawn and Quarterly has released (for the first time in North America) a collection of these strips. This first volume includes four adventures: Brigands, Family Life, Moomin on the Riviera and Moomin's Desert Island.

1001 Nights of Snowfall

For those of you already familiar with Bill Willingham’s Fables, you probably don’t need my recommendation to check out this anthology. For those of you not familiar with the Vertigo/ DC Comics series, 1001 Nights of Snowfall is a great introduction to the characters that make up Fabletown.

Snow White is sent as an envoy to solicit the help of King Shahryar, an Arabian Sultan, against the Adversary, enemy to all of Fablekind. She soon finds herself entrapped by the Sultan and must fill the nights with stories to beguile him and save her own life. Backstories of some familiar characters are told, which Willingham approaches with more detail than was given in the original tales. Find out what happened to the witch after Hansel and Gretel pushed her into the oven; the unexpected twist in the tale of Snow White after she marries her prince (she’s more independent than Disney portrayed); and why the Big Bad Wolf is so big, bad, and bitter. This book is also a splendid showcase for the talents of the many artists who contributed.

Please remember, though this book does retell the tales of beloved fairy tale characters, this book is not intended for children.

Time's 2006 Book of the Year

This year, a comic book holds the number one place on Time Magazine’s 10 Best Books of the year—Alison Bechdel’s memoir in comics form, Fun Home.
Bechdel beautifully tells the story of her life, and her father’s life. After her father’s death (believed to be suicide), Bechdel retraces her formative years by contemplating the similarities and distance between two people living in the same house.

Grisly Grimm

If you are tired of the “Disneyfied” versions of your favorite fairy tales, but short on time, then Jonathan Vankin’s condensed versions are for you. Based on the original tales of the brothers Grimm, they have been converted to comic form by fifty-two artists for the book The Big Book of Grimm (released by Paradox Press, an imprint of DC Comics). You will find some familiar names among them—Keith Giffen (of Ambush Bug and Justice League fame), Sergio Argones (creater of Groo the Wanderer and marginals for MAD Magazine since 1963), Joe Staton (numerous DC titles including Justice Society of America, Green Lantern, and Scooby Doo), and James Kochalka (American Elf). My personal favorite was Kochalka’s “Dog and Sparrow”, which was as cute as it was gruesome.

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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