Check It Out Category: Graphic Novels

Staff Pick: Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

Picture of EvanMarko and Alana were soldiers on opposing sides of an ages-long intergalactic war, but Brian K. Vaughan’s epic sci-fi comic Saga opens with the birth of their daughter. With incredible artwork and hilarious wit, this tale of building a family unfolds in a harsh and multilayered universe with a cast of colorful, endearing characters (including the large green Lying Cat, snarling “Lying” at any untruth). A counsel for readers: it is a graphic story, both that it is in comic form as well as its depictions of violence and sexuality.

List: Our Staff’s Favorite Graphic Novels

Whether you are an avid reader of graphic novels or want to try one out for the first time, look no further than this post for a list of 15 of our library staff’s very favorite titles! This eclectic mix offers fiction and nonfiction, science fiction, steampunk, humor and the avant-garde. It is sure to provide more than a few gems for your reading pleasure.

For those of you just starting out with graphic novels, here are four good places to start:

Both Denise T. and Carol M. suggest Persepolis, the graphic autobiography by Marjane Satrapi depicting her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution. Carol says, “I remember watching the Iranian Revolution in 1979, but Marjane Satrapi’s story gave me the perspective of someone about my own age who lived through it. The graphic novel format was an inspired way to show how society changed after the Islamic Republic came to power.”

 

 

 

Donna S. recommends the conclusion of U.S. representative John Lewis’s true story of his personal experience of the civil rights movement. Donna says, “I found March Book Three an interesting reminder of the early civil rights movement in America. This is a National Book Award winner.”

 

 

 

 

Donna C. recommends the YA title, Thoreau at Walden by John Porcellino, which uses Thoreau’s own writings to tell the story of his time experimenting with living an unconventional life in the woods. Donna says, “This is a lovely and very accessible way to approach both the writing of Thoreau and the graphic novel medium, for teens and adults alike.”

 

 

 

 

Anne S. recommends The Gettysburg Address by Jonathan Hennessey. “Hennessey uses text and pictures to illustrate the complexities and beauty in the Gettysburg Address while also giving a clear and concise overview of the driving forces which helped to develop the United States during its first 150 years. P.S. It’s also a great graphic novel for the person who ‘does not read’ graphic novels!”

 

 

 

If you’re looking for something further off the beaten path, try one of these staff suggestions:

Cathleen B. recommends Descender, Book 1, by Jeff Lemire, the sci-fi story of a robot boy whose life is in jeopardy in a universe where androids are forbidden. Cathleen says, “This series start is inventive and suspenseful and sad and sweet, but the gorgeous watercolor art is what truly won my heart.”

 

 

 

 

The Sandman by Neil Gaiman is a metaphysical tale of mythology and history, following the mistaken capture and imprisonment of Dream, who controls the dream world. Janine S. recommends this, saying, “It’s smart, emotional, and relevant with some of the greatest and most interesting characters I’ve encountered in all of my reading.”

 

 

 

 

Kelda G. suggests Stitches by David Small. “A best-selling and highly regarded children’s book illustrator comes forward with this unflinching graphic memoir. Remarkable and intensely dramatic, Stitches tells the story of a fourteen-year-old boy who awakes one day from a supposedly harmless operation to discover that he has been transformed into a virtual mute―a vocal cord removed, his throat slashed and stitched together like a bloody boot. From horror to hope, Small proceeds to graphically portray an almost unbelievable descent into adolescent hell and the difficult road to physical, emotional, and artistic recovery.”

 

 

 

Joe C. recommends yet another science fiction story, Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughn. This is a story about a world in which only two males exist, Yorrick Brown and his pet monkey. Joe says, “It is a brilliant and clever alternate history premise: what would happen if all the men died?”

 

 

 

Mary S. suggests Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Anderson. “A very funny portrayal of the everyday occurrences that plague us.”

 

 

 

 

 

Chelsea L. says, “My more recent favorite graphic novel is The Flintstones by Mark Russell. It is remodeled for the 21st century, hysterically funny, and grown-up version of the quirky Flintstones and their town of Bedrock.”

 

 

 

 

Anthony A. suggests Blankets by Craig Thompson. “At once powerful and tender, this beautifully rendered autobiographical coming-of-age epic graphic novel grapples with the intense emotional transformation of a young man experiencing first love, disillusionment, spiritual awakening, and the growing realization and acceptance of all the things that are beyond his control.”

 

 

Imagine Wanting Only This by Kristen Radtke is the suggestion of Jenny M. “While there were moments where I could see myself so vividly in Radtke’s memoir and it felt strange to see pieces of me on someone else’s page, this was also an impressionable exercise in peeking into seeing how someone else comprehends and makes sense of life.”

 

 

Mary D. suggests Grandville by Bryan Talbot, saying, “Grandville is a steampunk, Victorian noir, suspenseful graphic novel full of anthropomorphic characters and beautifully drawn artwork.”

 

 

 

 

 

Claire B.’s favorite is Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown. Claire says, “I thought this book was beautifully illustrated and a thorough, fascinating explanation of what happened in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.”

 

 

 

 

David Mazzuchelli’s Asterios Polyp follows a middle-aged teacher and architect who relocates from New York City to Midwestern small town. John M. recommends it “because of the elegant way form mirrors theme throughout.”

Graphic Novel : Eisner Award Winners 2017

Picture of Summer Reading House headerThere are 4 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

The 2017 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards were announced at the recent Comic-Con International in San Diego.  Try some of these outstanding graphic novels among this year’s winners:

Best Graphic Album (New)
Wonder Woman: The True Amazon
by Jill ThompsonA Princess Diana unlike any we’ve seen before. As a child, she is spoiled and free to exert her will without restraint — until her selfishness leads to tragic results. Before she can become a hero, she will first have to find redemption.
Best Graphic Album (Reprint)
Demon
by Jason ShigaNo matter how hard he tries, Jimmy Yee cannot die. A noose around his neck, a razor across his wrist, and even a bullet to his head all yield the same results: he awakes from each suicide attempt, miraculously unharmed, in his shabby room at the Sunbeam Motel. Has he gone mad? Or has he truly died and found himself in hell? Jimmy is willing to tear the world down around him to get at the truth.

 

Best Limited Series
The Vision
by Tom King, Gabriel WaltaThe Vision wants to be human, and what’s more human than family? So he heads back to the laboratory where Ultron created him and molded him into a weapon. There, he builds them. They look like him. They have his powers. What could possibly go wrong?
Best Continuing Series, Best Writer, Best Penciller/Inker, Best Cover Artist
Saga
by Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona StaplesWhen two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.
Best U.S. Edition of International Material
The World of Edena
by MoebiusStel and Atan are interstellar repairmen searching for a lost space station and its crew. Their journey takes them to the mythical paradise planet Edena where they unwittingly and unwillingly join a multidimensional battle between good and evil.

 

Best U.S. Edition of International Material (Asia), Best Writer/Artist, Best Publication Design
The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye
by Sonny LiewMeet Charlie Chan Hock Chye. Now in his early 70s as he looks back on his career, Chan has spent a lifetime making comics in his native Singapore since he was a boy of 16, in 1954. The artist doubles here as both the narrator and the subject matter, as his life story parallels the changes in Singapore over five decades since the war.
Best Reality-Based Work
March (Book 3)
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate PowellWelcome to the stunning conclusion of the award-winning and best-selling MARCH trilogy. Congressman John Lewis, an American icon and one of the key figures of the civil rights movement, joins co-writer Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell to bring the lessons of history to vivid life for a new generation, urgently relevant for today’s world.
Best Publication for Teens
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl
by Ryan North and Erica HendersonOn a trip to Canada to visit her mom, Doreen teams up with Ant-Man when the Taskmaster strikes, but it turns out to be Mew, Nancy’s cat, who saves the day.

 

 

 

Best Humor Publication
Jughead
by Chip Zdarsky, Erica HendersonRiverdale High prides itself on providing a quality education. But to Jughead Jones, what matters most is meal time–and Riverdale delivers solid midday chow. But when that sacred time is tampered with by a hot-headed new principal, Jughead swears vengeance! Can the burger-loving beanpole curry enough favor (see what we did there?) to rollback the cuisine catastrophe?
Best Anthology
Love Is Love
edited by Sarah Gaydos and Jamie S. RichThe comic book industry comes together to support the survivors and honor those killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016. Writers and artists from across the globe have created exclusive new material expressing their sorrow, compassion, frustration, and hope, all inspired by the tragic events.
Best Digital Comic
Bandette
by Paul Tobin, Colleen CooverBandette, greatest thief in all the lands, uncovers the greatest of all mysteries! A clue to the location of the legendary House of the Green Mask! But the sinister Voice is after the same treasure, and sent a deadly assassin after the same secrets! Worse, he’s stolen the dearest thing to Bandette’s heart. Now, she’s after revenge!

 

 

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
These books may be counted as a graphic novel, or a book from a genre you haven’t tried before.

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a book highlighted on the MPPL website, or a book translated from another language (The Art of Charlie Chane Hock Chye, and The World of Edena.)

Staff Pick: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew

Picture of Summer Reading House headerThere are 8 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Picture of JohnSonny Liew’s intricately invented graphic history traces the career of fictional comic artist Chan Hock Chye, with the sociopolitical history of Singapore cleverly mirroring the evolution of the comics medium as depicted via a dazzling series of pastiches. Spanning eight decades, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye finds bittersweet parallels between artistic ambition and political idealism.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book may be counted as a graphic novel, one everyone is talking about (it won the Eisner award), a book with a person of color as author, or a book under 150 pages.

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a book with a person of color as author or as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Graphic Novel: Spotlight on Pioneers

Picture of Summer Reading House headerThere are 19 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Summer gives us a chance to branch out in new directions or more fully immerse ourselves in areas of interest. Here are three Adult graphic novels that will introduce you to some forward thinkers who were pioneers in their respective fields.

Jim Ottaviani’s Dignifying Science, explores the lives of six women whose mark on science is indelible. Included in this book are Hedy Lamarr, an actress and inventor who was a force behind the concept of the modern-day Bluetooth system, Lise Meitner, a physicist who was among a small team of scientists who discovered nuclear fission, and the Nobel Prize-winning cytogeneticist Barbara McClintock.

 

 

 

 

Henry David Thoreau was a philosopher, writer, naturalist and an early promoter of the idea of civil disobedience. In his beautifully-drawn accompaniment to Thoreau’s writings, John Porcellino’s Thoreau at Walden brings to life this solemn and thoughtful resister.

 

 

 

 

The graphic biography of Margaret Sanger, Woman Rebel by Peter Bagge, reveals the compelling background behind her activism, rooted in the difficult and painful times of her childhood growing up at the turn of the 20th century. This was a time in U.S. history which offered few opportunities to women in almost any area of their lives, and Margaret saw firsthand the deep suffering this caused her mother and eventually, herself. Armed with the passionate belief that women should be able to make their own choices regarding their lives, Margaret became one of the earliest and fiercest voices for women’s rights.

 

 

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
These books may be counted as nonfiction graphic novels, or a book from a genre you haven’t tried before.

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

 

Graphic Novel: The Professor’s Daughter by Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert

50 Days of Summer Reading BannerThere are 31 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Professors Daughter book cover

Few couples are as star-crossed as a 19th-century gentlewoman and a mummified Pharoah, but their story is one of the most charming romps you’ll find. From their opening stroll in a London park to an unwitting murder and a daring prison break, the tale of Lillian and Imhotep IV is one filled with drama and adventure. The Professor’s Daughter, created by French masters Joann Sfar and Emmanuel Guibert, also tantalizes with beautifully rendered art panels made up of delicate illustrations, period sepia tones, and fine watercolor washes. Readers new to graphic novels as well as those with more studied appreciation will be tickled by this delightful, fast-paced confection.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book may count as a graphic novel or as a book under 150 pages.

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a book translated from another language or as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Staff Pick: Roughneck by Jeff Lemire

50 Days of Summer Reading BannerThere are 43 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Cathleen's Pick - RoughneckThe embattled, soulful Roughneck by Jeff Lemire is a winter noir story that is both gritty and beautiful. Expert brushwork teases out different flavors of night sky, and the landscapes reflect the characters’ shifting degrees of serenity, menace, bleakness, and volatility. A harsh tale of family dynamic and of recovery, and one that has lived under my skin for months.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This could count as a book with a small town setting or as a graphic novel.

For the Master Class Designers…
This could count as a sad book or as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Graphic Novel: Scenes From an Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine

Scenes from an Upending Marriage book coverAptly titled Scenes from an Impending Marriage, writer and artist Adrian Tomine episodically illustrates snippets of his prenuptial experience. The black and white sketches pack a punch as he shares in the ridiculous, D. J. Buttercream, and heartening moments, volunteering to get out of the “black hole of nuptial narcissism,” that went along with planning his wedding with his now wife.

A notable element of the short strips is while Tomine doesn’t put his relationship  front and center, their dynamic is vividly portrayed making it easy to invest oneself in sharing the joys and tribulations that come with wedding planning, whether you’ve done it or not.

Meet Your Next Graphic Novel via Free Comic Book Day

Each year we eagerly look forward to Free Comic Book Day, and it’s here at last! Not only is it a day to explore and support neighborhood comics shops (Comix Revolution generously donates those we offer at the Library), but it is a golden opportunity to discover new stories and artists. Find something you like in one of the giveaways? Find a match among our graphic novel offerings! 

Wonder Woman Year One book coverWonder Woman
Vol. 2 Year One
Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott
Mouse Guard Legends of the Guard book coverMouse Guard
Legends of the Guard
David Petersen, Jeremy Bastian
Archie Vote Lodge book cover

Archie, Vol. 2
Vote Lodge
Mark Waid, Veronica Fish

Spill Zone book coverSpill Zone
Scott Westerfeld, Alex Puvilland

Rick and Morty book coverRick and Morty, Vol. 1
Zac Gorman, CJ Cannon

Incal book coverThe Incal: Classic Collection
Alejandro Jodorowski, Moebius

 

Jerusalem book coverJerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City
Guy Delisle, Lucy Firoud

Attack on Titan 4 book coverAttack on Titan 4
Hajime Isayama

Best American Comics 2014 book cover

 

Getting Down with The Get Down

Get Down poster image“You hear that? That is life. And destiny. That is the get down.”

Part two of Netflix series The Get Down recently dropped, and though it isn’t yet available through the Library, we know some of you are already primed to lose yourselves in the music, the style, the art, and the drama of the Bronx in the late 1970s.

The fascinating world of early hip hop is one born of frustrations, passions, and even activism. To experience more of this electric era, try one of these:

Hip Hop Family Tree vol 1 cover

 

Hip Hop Family Tree 1: 1970s – 1981 by Ed Piskor

The early days of hip hop have become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this epic true story than in an explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history presented in graphic format? Piskor’s exuberant cartooning takes you from the parks and rec rooms of the South Bronx to the night clubs, recording studios, and radio stations where the scene started to boom. The Hip Hop Family Tree is an exciting and essential cultural chronicle for hip hop fans, pop-culture addicts, and anyone who wants to know how it went down back in the day.

Wild Style DVD cover

 

Wild Style, directed, produced, and written by Charlie Ahearn

A perfect point of contrast to a series that recreates the emergence of hip hop is one that was created during the era in question! Wild Style is a 1983 docudrama that celebrates the colorful lives of teens who live in the South Bronx (sound familiar?). There they are seen break dancing, creating graffiti art, and listening to raucous rap. One focus is on the figure of Zoro, who likes to spray-paint subway cars, another reference point from The Get Down in the character of Dizzee, played by Jaden Smith.

Adventures of Grandmaster Flash book cover

 

The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash: My Life, My Beats by Grandmaster Flash with David Ritz

In the 1970s Grandmaster Flash pioneered the art of break-beat DJing–the process of remixing and thereby creating a new piece of music by playing vinyl records and turntables as musical instruments. In this powerful memoir, Flash recounts how music from the streets, much like rock ‘n’ roll a generation before, became the sound of an era, as well as his own rise to stardom, descent into addiction, and ultimate redemption.

 

Get Down soundtrack cover

The Get Down: Original Soundtrack from the Netflix Original Series

Whether you’ve seen the series and can’t let it go or you want to experience it vicariously, the series soundtrack will satisfy your yen. Featuring both original songs and era classics, the line up includes artists such as Miguel, Christina Aguilera, Michael Kiwanuka, Janelle Monae, and Donna Summer, as well as the talented cast. Consider this your hot summer soundtrack!