Category Archives: Graphic Novels

Neat Teen Graphic Novels – new!

Brain Camp
Fantastic Four – Flesh and Stone 
Joe and Azat
The Marvelous Land of OZ
The Return of King Doug
Salem Brownstone
Wonder Woman – Love and Murder
Yummy  –  The Last Days of a Southside Shorty
Zeus  –  King of the Gods

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Age of Bronze: Book One “A Thousand Ships” Eric Shanower

A Thousand ShipsEric Shanower’s Age of Bronze is a retelling of the epic Trojan War in the comic book format.  While there have been many modern retellings of the Trojan War, Age of Bronze is by far the most comprehensive, thorough, and ambitious.  Shanower does not just utilize Homer as his source, but incorporates episodes of the war as told by the Greek playwrights Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides; the Roman writers Virgil and Ovid; and even William Shakespeare, among others.  If you follow the who’s, what’s and where’s of the Trojan War as set out by these writers (especially the Greek playwrights), you’ll notice they are often in conflict with one and other.  Shanower, with great deftness, reconciles these accounts and their timelines and makes them flow with ease.

A Thousand Ships is a collection of the first nine single-issue comics, presented as one volume.  In this volume the young shepherd Paris is revealed to be a lost Trojan prince, Achilles unusual upbringing is depicted, and the rivalry between the Mycenae king Agamemnon and the Trojan king Priam is explained.  This rivalry comes to a head when the beautiful Helen, wife of Meneleus, king of Sparta and brother of Agamemnon, runs off with the handsome and charming Paris.  This event gives Agamemnon the impetus to go to war with Troy, thus Helen is described as “the face that launched a thousand ships.”

If Age of bronze were a movie, it would probably be R-rated.  There are some definitely some adult themes and situations, so parents be forewarned.  Shanower explains, “Well, I like to say, the Trojan War began with sex and it ended in violence, so if you have any squeamishness about either of those things, this is probably not the series for you.”  Further, “I’m trying to show human nature, why people did all these horrible things, what they were motivated to do, and, in the horrible situations they’re put in, how they deal with the decisions they’ve made. And how just fate carries them along, and how they react to that.”  (Achilles at the Gates! , 2004) If you are either not troubled by such depictions or can look past them, this is an excellent series; well written and expertly drawn.  Highly recommended.

Link to the quoted interview: http://www.archaeology.org/online/interviews/shanower.html

New graphic novels (comics!) for adults

We are purchasing more graphic novels for adults.  Look for the bright green GN sticker at the top of the spine in the fiction and nonfiction sections.  Here are few to look for soon.

  • As the World Burns; 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial by Derrick Jensen & Stephanie McMillan
    A review on the back of the book reads “…not a book for doomsday pacifists or nihilists.  Jensen and McMillan, like their characters-animal, vegetable, and mineral- are warriors for LIFE.  -Counterpunch”
  • A.D. New Orleans; After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld
    This is an excellent example where a graphic novel is the best format for delivery.  Just flipping through the pages, it is obvious that the drawings in this book tell the story of the horror of Hurricane Katrina in a way that words and even photographs do not.
  • The Photographer; Into War-Torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders by Guibert, Lefevre, & Lemercier
    A mix of black and white photographs and simple color drawings tell the harrowing experiences of a Doctors Without Borders mission to Afghanistan.

~Jenny

Some of My Favorite Graphic Novels

I was introduced to graphic novels (book length “comic books”) while enrolled in a Young Adult Literature class at library school.  I thought they would be all about superheroes and not of interest to me.  I discovered two things.  One, graphic novels are not all about superheroes.  Two, the superheroes are far more interesting that I thought.

Ever since this class in graduate school I have been a BIG fan of graphic novels.  I read them often, and exchanged tips about good series with other GN fans.

Here is a list of some of my favorites:
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
This series tells a story in the very near future when something (disease?) kills off all the men (except one) on earth within minutes.  (Imagine half of the worlds population dying at once.)  Panic and the breakdown of society occur.  The one man left is it great danger.
Fables by Brian K. Vaughan
All characters of fables (Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, the Big Bad Wolf, Old King Cole, etc.) have left their Fable land because it was taken over by “monsters”.  The Fables now live in our world and deal with murder, theft, and being found out by the Mundies (regular mundane humans).
Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
This Pulitzer Prize winning book tells the story of a Jewish man’s life during World War II.  The Jews are drawn as mice, the Germans are cats, and the Americans are drawn as dogs.
Cancer Vixen by Marisa Acocella Marchetto
The author of this memoir writes of her struggle with breast cancer with strength, wit, and cartoons. Plus, there is Italian food, love, jealousy, and a wedding.
Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud
In a comic book format, McCloud details the history of using images to tell a story up to the current interest in graphic novels.  He also explains visual tricks and styles used by comic creators.
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The true story of a young girl growing up in Iran.  Her parents send her to America to escape the political unrest in the 1970s.  Amazing graphics and stories.
King of Thorn by Yuji Iwahara
Read this manga (Japanese comic) from right to left while finding out what happens to the individuals unfrozen from cryogenics into a frightening world of disease and monsters.
Pedro and Me by Judd Winick
I cried while reading this book about a man suffering from AIDS.
The Nail by DC Comics
This is a story of what might have happened if Superman never existed in the world of The Justice League of America.

Enjoy this list and let me know about some of your favorite graphic novels.

~Jenny

Two books in one night

I spent last night reading a few new graphic novels from the library.  They were both slightly amusing, quick reads.

At a crossroads : between a rock and my parents’ place by Kate T. Williamson is a short memoir about the author’s return to live at home after college.  Her intention was to stay for 3 months, but ended up staying for almost 2 years.  It’s vaguely reminiscent of a time in my own life.

Bigfoot : I not dead by Graham Roumieu is a funny, odd report directly from the podiatrically challenged, furry beast himself.  It includes Bigfoot’s hopes  for a female companion, his addiction to garbage, and what he thinks about the other forest creatures.

~Jenny