Check It Out Category: Graphic Novels

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!

Staff Resolution Feature: Adding Style Variety to My Book Diet

Winter Reading image

One feature of this year’s Adult Winter Reading is that you decide your own reading resolutions. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, we’ll cheer you on! To help inspire and spark ideas, we’ll be sharing resolutions here every week, so keep checking back to see what other resolute readers are striving to achieve!

Who: Linda from IT Services

What is your reading resolution?

My Reading Resolution for the Winter Reading Program is to read five different genres or styles of books. There have been so many great mystery/thriller/psychological novels recently that I have been reading a lot of those, so I decided I wanted to return to reading a wider variety of books.

What are you thinking of reading to complete your resolution?

So far I have read a diary format novel, a graphic novel, and an alternative history novel. Next I plan to read a non-fiction study of animal behavior.

Have you completed a resolution yet? How did it go?

I enjoyed Daytripper by Fábio Moon & Gabriel Bá even though I seldom read graphic novels. I found it to be a moving, thought-provoking story.  And the graphic design and choice of color palettes in the various sections strongly evoked the emotions being portrayed.


Now it’s your turn!
Share your reading resolutions on the MPPL Facebook page, on Twitter, or in person at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services Desk.

Staff Resolution Feature: Trying Graphic Novels for the First Time

Winter Reading image

One feature of this year’s Adult Winter Reading is that you decide your own reading resolutions. Whether your goals are modest or ambitious, we’ll cheer you on! To help inspire and spark ideas, we’ll be sharing resolutions here every week, so keep checking back to see what other resolute readers are striving to achieve!

Picture of AnneWho: Anne from Research Services

What is one of your reading resolutions?

My resolution was pretty simple–to read a genre other than mystery or general historical fiction. I’ve read graphic novels before but thought I’d try another one. The Exile by Diana Gabaldon caught my eye. The illustrations were dazzling and detailed and the story swept me into a Scotland centuries in the past. It was a good experience; I will keep trying different graphic novels just to have a more cinematic reading experience.

Why did you choose that?

I thought I was getting in a rut in my reading experience. I see so many books in my work at the Library and I find I do not read as widely as I’d like. I thought I’d change that a little this year.

What are you thinking of reading to complete your other resolutions?

I may try reading a science fiction or fantasy novel. To balance that I’ll read a non-fiction book, perhaps a biography. There is so much to choose at MPPL!


Now it’s your turn!
Share your reading resolutions on the MPPL Facebook page, on Twitter, or in person at the Fiction/AV/Teen Services Desk.

Graphic Novel: Grandville Noël by Bryan Talbot

Grandville Noel book coverUnicorn cult leader pursued by Victorian badger detective and Pinkerton cowboy is hardly the recipe for a traditional holiday story, and that surprise is what makes Grandville Noël  irresistible. Creator Bryan Talbot plays with expectations in a Christmas installment of the steampunk Wind in the Willows-like Grandville series that can be thoroughly entertaining even to newcomers.

Interplay of sepia and color, along with an elegance of line, illuminates in bold detail both action scenes and quieter moments. You’ll be riveted by Scotland Yard Inspector LeBrock’s efforts to rescue a vulnerable young woman who has been dazzled by promises of acceptance and love, proving that the fantasy-allegory-mystery-thriller hybrid speaks to themes of the season after all.

Graphic Novel: Daytripper by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá

Daytripper book cover“It’s a story about death.”
“Death?”
“It’s really about life…but death has a big part in it.”

Brás de Oliva Domingos makes his living writing obituaries. From the facts of death and the moments of life, he recreates stories. Sifting through the existences of others makes a man contemplate his own. What moments had greatest impact? Were they beginnings? Endings? Which choices led to one or the other? Rarely are those answers simple, and Daytripper is an ethereal, meditative exploration of possibilities.

Authors Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá gracefully lead readers back and forth within Brás’ life, illustrating key experiences and variations on his death. Though moments are heart-wrenching, the sum total is strangely uplifting, and what remains even after multiple scenarios is a sense of wonder at the meaning one life may hold.

Staff Pick: The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen

Joe from Research Services suggests The Adventures of Unemployed Man by Erich Origen

The Adventures of Unemployed Man book coverFollow the amazing adventures of Unemployed Man, formerly known as The Ultimatum until good intentions and a stand against The Man got him The Boot. Shrewd, witty commentary on the state of the economy and the roots of our nation’s fiscal woes inform the action in this cleverly written, beautifully illustrated graphic novel. The parody is ripped straight from today’s headlines—supervillains like Cobra (he’ll cover your insurance after being laid off, only $200 a month!) and Kollectus (he comes after outstanding debts and takes everything) show up alongside heroes such as perpetual grad student Master of Degrees, fix-it-with-tape Ducto, pain-shrinking therapist Good Grief, and Wonder Mother (she built her invisible jet from pieces of the glass ceiling), all presented in a dead-on tribute to many classic comic book styles.

The parody is not limited to the characters, however; the book itself is organized as a parody of a comic book, right down to the inclusion of phony ads for products and a wickedly funny section titled Fantastic Facts. This would be a good book for fans of graphic novels or superheroes with a twist, or anyone looking for an interesting presentation of basic socioeconomics in an easy to follow format.

Interested in more books about economics? Try…

The Big Squeeze book coverThe Big Squeeze: Tough Times for the American Worker, by Steven Greenhouse

A bleak picture of the current environment for the American worker,with an  emphasis on the role corporations play.

 

 

 

The Pursuit of Other Interests book coverThe Pursuit of Other Interests by Jim Kokoris

A Chicago ad exec suddenly loses his job, and with the help of assorted colorful new friends gains a new perspective on his life through a series of unfamiliar challenges.

 

 

 

Interested in the superhero elements? Try…

Superheroes book cover

 

Superheroes, edited by John Varley

A collection of superhero-themed stories with an ironic, antihero twist.

 

 

 

Inside Straight book cover

Inside Straight, edited by George R.R. Martin

From the classic Wild Cards series, this mosaic novel sometimes humorously, sometimes matter-of-factly presents a universe where extranormal abilities are an accepted fact, with characters competing to win a new reality show, American Hero.

New Book Spotlight: Tin Stars by Jeff Lemire

Descender_Tin StarsA boy named Tim wakes from a ten-year sleep on a moon mining colony. He is a companion android designed to entertain and protect an assigned human child, but he finds himself alone and under attack. Tin Stars, the first collected volume of the Descender series by Jeff Lemire, begins with shocking galactic catastrophe, but it’s when we meet the earnest young Tim-21 that it truly launches.

A grown-up story of both wonder and action, real fears of technology-run-amok are balanced with complex character and heart. In addition to a plot that excites the mind, the gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Dustin Nguyen evoke a nuanced future both beautiful and terrible. The end result is a fully-realized shared vision, one that transports, provokes, and captivates.

 

Graphic Novels: Bestselling Fiction Series Characters

It wasn’t that long ago that bookish people overlooked graphic novels, assuming the format wasn’t for them. How times have changed! Not only have many readers discovered new appreciation for the partnering of story and art, but some of your favorite series characters have had adventures in this format – ones that weren’t available in traditional non-illustrated print. Take a look at what you may have missed:

Exile book cover

The Exile by Diana Gabaldon, Outlander series
Retells in graphic novel format the first Outlander novel from Jamie Fraser’s point of view, revealing events never seen in the original story.

Troublemaker book cover

Troublemaker by Janet Evanovich, Alexandra Barnaby series
A man has gone missing, and to find him Barnaby and Hooker will have to go deep into the underbelly of Miami and south Florida, surviving Petro Voodoo, explosions, gift-wrapped body parts, a deadly swamp chase, and Hooker’s mom.

Welcome to the Jungle book cover

Welcome to the Jungle by Jim Butcher, Dresden Files series
Harry Dresden, the only professional wizard listed in the Chicago phone book, takes on supernatural villains out to turn the world upside down in an original graphic novel adventure

Richard Castles Deadly Storm book cover

Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm, Derrick Storm series
Presents an “adaptation” of the fictional first novel of Richard Castle, the main character of the popular crime television series Castle, that follows Derrick Storm’s transition from a private detective to a C.I.A. agent.

Graphic Novel: Serenity by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews

Serenity Book CoverWant to take a break from reality and join in on the space adventures of the Serenity crew? A prequel to the movie Serenity and set after the TV series Firefly, Those Left Behind by Joss Whedon and Brett Matthews features all of the beloved characters, humor, and action fans previously fell in love with. This short episode ties up loose ends from Firefly, bringing the story to life with its realistic portraits.

Can’t wait to read it? Check it out instantly on Hoopla with your Library card along with other Dark Horse Comic titles!

 

Don’t forget:  for each science fiction book read during November 2015, adults are eligible to enter a drawing for a gift card to AMC Theatres or to Barnes & Noble. Read more about Try Sci-Fi!

Staff Pick: Here by Richard McGuire

Cover of HereJohn of Fiction/AV/Teen Services suggests Here by Richard McGuire

Richard McGuire’s inventive graphic novel Here is set in a single location for its entire duration: the corner of a room in a house.  However, each double-page image depicts this fixed space at a different moment throughout time, ranging the complete span of human history and beyond.   Grand changes play out over the years, juxtaposed against mundane still moments in the lives the home’s various inhabitants.  Events echo throughout time, such as when a window into the décor of 2014 is used to resonate with a scene from 1775.   Styles change, children grow older, and lives unfold in unexpectedly affecting fragments.  Here demonstrates that both the beautiful and ordinary qualities of life alike can remain strangely similar in any era.

For more formally complex graphic novels, try…

Cover of Ice HavenA series of stylistically diverse chapters mimicking comic strips collectively offer a multifaceted portrayal of a small Midwestern town in Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes.

Cover of An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True StoriesMcGuire’s original 1989 short story version of “Here” is featured in An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories Volume 1 edited by Ivan Brunetti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Building Stories Building Stories by Chris Ware follows the dissatisfactions of a young woman and her neighbors across fourteen distinct printed comics.

Cover of BodyworldDash Shaw’s Bodyworld tells its futuristic tale of drug-induced telepathy as a vertical scroll of expressionistic imagery, illustrating a full range of sensory experiences.

Cover of Asterios Polyp Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli concerns a story of architecture and design, mirrored in its own elegantly crafted visual construction.