Graphic Novel Fever
Librarians love graphic novels! Gabi, a library assistant and collector of graphic novels, tells us about her first comic and graphic novel loves and asks the library staff tough questions like, "Who is your favorite superhero?"
One of my earliest memories of my brother is him explaining to me the importance of the Batman suit. Not just any Batman suit, HIS Batman suit, which was a perfect replica of the one from the 1989 Tim Burton film. It looked something like this, for those of you who are unfamiliar:
Under no circumstances was I allowed to touch the Batman suit. As a little sister, it was okay for me to know about Batman and read the comics, but I was not worthy of the suit. My listening skills as a six year old were questionable.
My brother introduced me to the world of superheroes and I never looked back. In high school I also discovered manga, which opened a whole new host of stories, some rooted in history or mythology just like the American comic I'd grown up with. If you think that I outgrew this love for comics when I hit college, you'd be wrong. By then I'd found graphic novels and also worked for a while in an actual comic shop. It was also in collge that I found my second and third favorite comic characters, Captain America and the Lone Ranger. (No one ever overtaking Batman, of course.)
In the past, comics and graphic novels have generally been frowned upon as brain candy. Sometimes that's true, but there are also a lot of historical, biographical, and literary graphic novels. There's also sometimes confusion about the difference between comics and graphic novels, so let's clear that up.
Comics are single issues of any given series. There can also be single issues stand-alone titles. These are the ones you used to pick up for ten cents in the grocery store; now single issues can run between $1.25 to $5 a piece. The term "comics" is also applied to the strips that run in newspapers, and there are now online comic strips as well.
Graphic novels are a compilation of single issue comics (usually between four and eight issues) or a novel specifically created for that format. The graphic novel isn't just a novel with pictures, it's a literary format all its own.
The graphic novel world is constantly expanding and includes a lot more than just Batman, Superman, and the X-Men.
Did you love Buffy the Vampire Slayer? The series officially carries on with season 8 in graphic novel format, and the first volume of season 9 debuts this summer.
"One of the moments of my life when I felt as if I was in loss (and mourning) was when Buffy the Vampire Slayer was ending on television. I was so grateful that they continued it in graphic form as this gave me the ability to continue on with what had been a friendship for 7 years. Additionally, they were able to continue to push societal boundaries in the graphic format that they had begun in small amounts on the show.
Buffy encompasses all that I need as a powerful female role model in my life. In times of struggle, I still rely on the series to empower me to prevail."- Rachel D., Adult Services Senior Librarian
Buffy isn't the only television show to find new life or have additional stories added to its cannon.
Can't get enough of your favorite characters from "regular" books?
Start with something familiar and then try something new!
There's something for everyone, no matter how grown up you are. In fact, a lot of the adult services members have grown up reading graphic novels and comics and still have their favorites!
"I always loved Batman. He's an every man's hero. He doesn't have a super power, unless being super smart is a superpower. Throw in the awesome gadgets and sweet car and who wouldn't want to be Batman? I think even the Joker might have a crush on the Batman. Just saying."- Amy G., Adult Services Assistant
"It all started laying on the floor with my father, giggling over the Sunday comics from the newspaper. That soon progressed to saving up to buy issues of Top Dog (http://www.comicvine.com/top-dog/49-3516/). It wasn't long before The Amazing Spiderman quickly became my thing to save up for and the reason for my eager offers of assistance with the grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon. That was the only way to get near the comic book rack. Love endures.
Love endures. You can still find me spread out on the floor giggling over the Sunday comics with my two kids."- Adam L., Adult Services Librarian
"Adventures of TinTin and Archie Comics!"- Anna M., Adult Services Assistant
"When I was a kid, I was really into reading X-Men. There are far too many characters I liked to get into much detail, but I remember really liking Wolverine, Rogue, Gambit, and Magneto. I think I always hated Cyclops. I watched Batman a lot, but didn't actually read it. And I always felt Superman had too many powers with just the one (really obscure) weakness (yes, even as a kid I thought the number of fragments of Krypton that somehow landed on Earth was statistically unlikely)."- Jake G., Adult Services Librarian
"When I was 11 or 12, I couldn't get enough of the Archie comics... Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead and Ethel. I wanted to be them. They were all in high school at the time and I dreamed of the day I'd be in high school and could wear cool clothes, and go on dates with cute boys. I remember being so addicted to those comics that I took them with me on family vacation that summer. Big mistake! We drove across Western Canada to the Rocky Mountains, camping all the way. As we wove our way through the mountains, my parents were horrified to see my brother and I reading comics in the back seat of the car, totally oblivious to the amazing scenery we were passing by. "You've seen one mountain, you've seen them all" was my philosophy! That didn't go over too well and my beloved comics were thrown out at the next campsite. I've outgrown my love of the Archie comics, but now have a great appreciate for the wonders of nature!"- Lorrie P., Adult Services Assistant
"My favorite superhero is most definitely Batman. I was raised on the cartoon television show and Tim Burton Batman movies. I love that Batman is a real guy who fights for justice because it's the right thing to do. And because he has the money to make awesome gadgets, vehicles and costumes. Speaking of costumes, his is by far the best of all the superheroes.
My favorite graphic novel, though, is The Walking Dead. The artwork is amazing and the storyline is full of twists and turns and emotional suckerpunches. And it's full of zombies! What's not to love about it?"- Britney C., Adult Services Assistant
So whether you choose to wear the symbol of the bat, hold a shield with a star on it, or take a stand in the zombie apocalypse, you're in good company. Check out most of the graphic novels above and many others here at the library, and find out what your graphic self is all about.
Plus, all graphic novels count as books towards the summer reading, too. Come get those prize mugs before July 31st, people!