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graphic novels

Three Graphic Novel Recommendations (That Aren’t Saga)

I have a confession to make: I used to be one of those people who looked down their nose at graphic novels and comics and openly judged others for reading them. In frustration, I even said once, “It’s not really reading! It’s just a bunch of pictures!” (Yeah, I know. #cringeworthy).

Sorry, everyone, for my past-self being such a huge jerk. You will be happy to know that I have since cooled my jets when it comes to judging how, or what, others read. Reading is such a personal experience, and I am now a firm believer that any amount of reading is important, and it counts, even if it’s just the back of your cereal box in the morning. Read More..

The Bite-Sized Sci-Fi Vignettes of From Now On

We’ve all heard the cautionary advice “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” And sure, there’s a lot of truth to that. On the other hand—being judged is totally what book covers are for. My resistance to this old adage has been validated time and again by impulse check-outs that turn out to be awesome, the most recent example being Malachi Ward’s graphic novel From Now On.

When I dove in, I had no idea what to expect; I just knew things were going to get weird. From Now On does not disappoint, with stories dealing with bizarre alien worlds and the peculiarities of time travel. The thirteen vignettes stand alone as brief glimpses into future worlds, replete with imaginative technology and creatures  like lime green aliens that appear to be half-mole, half-elephant

Despite the strangeness, though, Ward manages to evoke a deeply-human and reflective mood. Flipping through the stories of lonely, hopeful space colonists made me feel like I was reading the sparse, blue-collar oriented short stories of Raymond Carver, or the succinct and wistful comics of Adrian Tomine. The science fiction elements are posed skillfully against the emotions of the characters—Ward offers only minimal world-building to let the heart of each story shine.

“Top Five” follows the daily work of a lone explorer. While carrying out his labor—menial tasks that are never explained to the reader—he thinks about the five best Star Trek episodes that feature time travel. That’s it. Though it  may seem insignificant or uneventful, “Top Five” is actually a well-crafted portrait of regret, desire, and small victories—in other words, life itself. The unearthly backdrop makes it all the more compelling, too, adding a layer of the weird that demonstrates how universal these feelings can be. It’s subtly funny, too.

topfive

Ward’s art style is similarly restrained. Simple  illustration shows the wonder of alien landscapes, being suggestive rather than comprehensive. The result is a collection that showcases incredibly efficient and meaty story telling. Just because you don’t have time to read a doorstopper like Dune doesn’t mean you can’t go on an adventure to the stars. As much as I love the cover of From Now On, I have to admit the immersive and poignant stories within are even better.

-Eli Hoelscher is a Reader’s Services Assistant at Lawrence Public Library

Image scan of “Top Five” via studygroupcomics.com, author Malachi Ward.

Happy Birthday Shakespeare Reading List, Graphic Novel Style!

Happy Birthday Shakespeare! I wonder if the bard ever conceived of something like today’s graphic novel? Hopefully he would approve of the following renditions of his work! If you don’t want a graphic novel, scroll down to the bottom for links to his other works.

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Staff Picks: My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

I never would have picked this up if it hadn’t gotten a lot of buzz for being on three YALSA award lists: Alex Award, Quick Picks for Young Adults, and Great Graphic Novels. I’m very glad I did.

My Friend Dahmer is a terrible, dark story, and is even more horrifying because it is so accessible, even familiar, to those who grew up in a small town with one weird kid in your class. Read More..

Teen Picks: “Watchmen” by Alan Moore

Watchmen by Alan Moore

What is it about ? Watchmen takes place in the late eighties with the recent outlawing of costumed heroes. It all starts when The Comedian (aka Eddie Blake) is thrown from his apartment window the streets by an unknown assailant, Read More..