Hey, history buffs! Join us tomorrow, Saturday, February 1st, for an informative discussion regarding the history of graphic novels in America and Japan. The panel discussion will feature associate professor and chair, Eric Berlatsky, of Florida Atlantic University, and myself, Josh Stone, of the Palm Beach County Library System. The event will be held at the Royal Palm Beach Library at 3pm. Professor Berlatsky and I will explore the unique and distinctive histories of both American and Japanese comics, while showing how the two have constantly influenced one another.
Over the weekend it was reported that comic book legend Nick Cardy passed away. Mr. Cardy was a member of the Will Eisner Hall of Fame for his seminal work on such titles as Aquaman, Teen Titans, Bat Lash, and his numerous cover designs. He was the artist for both the first Aquaman and Teen Titans ongoing series, in addition to being the artist to introduce Wonder Girl to the Teen Titans roster. Mr. Cardy’s work helped define the look and feel of many classic DC characters. In 1943, Mr. Cardy was drafted into World War II where he would receive two Purple Heart awards.
I met Mr. Cardy at the 2013 Florid SuperCon, held in Miami. He gave an intimate talk to a small group of fans that felt more like spending time with your grandfather than a typical comic panel. During his panel he talked extensively about his experience in the war, as well as his fondness for his Aquaman and Bat Lash work. His stories were humorous and sincere, as I imagine he was his entire life. He didn’t tell the typical war stories, rather his involved being shipped around by commanders and generals that needed things drawn. During the war, Mr. Cardy always had a sketchbook and pencils with him; whether they were eating, or in the battlefield, he never went anywhere without his sketch pad. At one point during his service, Mr. Cardy was called upon to drive a tank. He quickly discovered that driving a tank, especially turning a tank, is not easy, at all. According to Mr. Cardy, there are now multiple buildings in Germany with chunks missing due to his tank driving skills. Throughout his discussion he was humble and grateful for the attendance, and seemed surprised that there were even a few teenagers in the room. Meeting Nick Cardy was a great honor and a definite highlight of my day at SuperCon. It’s a shame that he will not be there this year, he will truly be missed.
Greetings Boils and Ghouls! Your Friendly Neighborhood Library is celebrating Halloween with a list of spooky graphic novels. This year, why not ditch the movie marathon and check out these titles from the Palm Beach County Library System? Whatever your plans are for this evening, remember to have fun and be safe.
Batman: Long Halloween by Jeph Loeb & Tim Sale
This classic Batman tale focuses on the early days of the Dark Knight as he attempts to stop a serial killer named Holiday. The renowned team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale deliver one of the best Batman stories in history: a must read for any Batman fan.
From Hell by Alan Moore & Eddie Campbell
Comic book icon Alan Moore’s From Hell is a study of Jack the Ripper. The story examines many different aspects of one of history’s most notorious characters, and instantly galvanized the comic industry.
Hellboy by Mike Mignola
The Hellboy series follows the exploits of the eponymous character and his team as they investigate the supernatural. The catch here is that Hellboy and his team are themselves supernatural beings. The books blend folklore, comedy, suspense, and great art to create one of the best series in comics.
Marvel Zombies by Robert Kirkman & Sean Phillips
The Walking Dead’s Robert Kirkman turns the Marvel superheroes into zombies. ‘Nuff Said.
Green Lantern: Blackest Night by Geoff Johns & Ivan Reis
This multi-volume series focuses on the Green Lantern Corps’ battle with the Black Corps, a group of undead superheroes and villains.
30 Days of Night by Steve Niles & Ben Templesmith
In the sleepy town of Barrow, Alaska, the sun sets for 30 consecutive days. A group of vampires discover this and descend on the town in a frenzy. 30 Days of Night is one of the most innovative horror stories in recent memory, and the amazing artwork only adds to the horror.
Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman & Various Artists
This is where it all started: Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead was a runaway hit from the moment it was released, and is now one of the most recognizable franchises in America. Kirkman is without a doubt this generation’s George A. Romero; if you’re a horror fan, you owe it to yourself to read these books.
Sandman by Neil Gaiman & Various Artists
Neil Gaiman’s Sandman series is without equal. The books blend elements of mythology, suspense, and horror to create a comic series unlike any before or after it. A true classic in the medium, and a perfect choice for Halloween.
The Crow by James O’Barr
James O’Barr’s The Crow is the tragic story of a man who is brought back from the dead to seek revenge on the men that killed him and his fiancée. This underground hit has produced several movies, a television show, and numerous comic book sequels, but nothing compares to the original.
I just picked up volume 2 of Batman: The Dark Knight at the library and I have to say that I was impressed. Cycle of Violence is definitely the book for fans of Batman’s villain The Scarecrow. The imagery of the Scarecrow is intense and horrifying [from the first page where we see him sewing his lips together to his murder scene dungeon. D: ] Beside his usual methodical psychosis, we are also shown an empathetic side of The Scarecrow. Although it does seem to come out of nowheresville, it is nice to see a dynamic characterization of our favorite villains in the New 52 universe. David Finch’s storytelling flows wonderfully throughout the book/issues. Overall, the art is average “comic booky” art, but Hurwitz does a fabulous job bringing the characters to life, especially with his grotesque depiction of The Scarecrow.
After a series of child kidnappings, Batman tracks The Scarecrow to his secret base where he succumbs to The Scarecrow’s fear toxin. How does Batman escape his own mind? Will he save Gotham from The Scarecrows new super toxin?
Grab a copy of book 2 and find out!
*Volume 2 includes issue 10-15 and the #0 issue, which tells of young Bruce's beginnings as a detective and how he tracked down his parents' murderer.