Blankets, a Perfect Choice for Libraries

Blankets_coverThe West Boca Branch Library will be hosting a Graphic Novel Memoir Book Discussion on July 29th, at 10:30am.  We will be discussing several different graphic memoirs, including Craig Thompson’s classic, Blankets.  Blankets was originally published in 2003, by Top Shelf Productions.  It was an instant classic, taking the comic world by storm.  The memoir focuses on Thompson’s adolescence and being raised in an Evangelical Christian household.  A majority of the story revolves around his first love, and how that relationship was shaped by his religious beliefs, and also Continue reading


Graphic Novel Memoirs and the Importance of Diversity

Graphic Novels had an increased role at this year’s ALA Conference in San Francisco.  The article below talks about one of the most important topics in the comic book/graphic novel industry right now: diversity.  More and more graphic novels are being created featuring diverse characters, but perhaps even more importantly, being created by more diverse authors and illustrators.  Libraries have a great opportunity to promote diverse comics, and many are already doing so.  Here at the West Boca Branch Library, part of the Palm Beach County Library System, we are hosting our first graphic novel book discussion centered on the memoir genre.  Some of the titles we will be covering include Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel; Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, and Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me, by Ellen Forney.

For more information on our book discussion, including time, titles, and location, please see the flyer below.

If you would like to participate in our book discussion, but can’t make it to the library, please feel free to leave comments on this or other related posts.  Also, please take a minute to read this article to see all of the hard work and passion for graphic novels from librarians across the country.

ALA 2015: Graphic Novels Mark Diversity, Push Boundaries

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How to Read Graphic Novels


If you’re new to graphic novels, or just want to know a little bit more about the medium, please join us at the West Boca Branch Library on Wednesday, June 24th at 11am.  I will be giving a presentation on the history of American comic books that will focus heavily on the literary value of comics and graphic novels.  Additionally, we will discuss how comics can transcend the traditional reading experience by offering a more intimate and detailed reading experience.  The program is suitable for all ages.

For directions to the West Boca Branch Library, please see the map below.

Spider-Man’s Greatest Adventures

As The Amazing Spider-Man 2 swings into theaters this weekend, I thought I would take this opportunity to suggest some classic adventures featuring everyone’s favorite neighborhood wall crawler.  The following titles, and many more, can be found in the Palm Beach County Library System.

Ultimate Spider-Man; Ultimate Collection, Vol. 1

In the early 2000s, Marvel Comics released a series of comics under the Ultimate banner.  These titles were meant to reintroduce and reimagine many classic characters.  Arguably the best of the bunch was Ultimate Spider-Man.  The series puts Peter Parker back in high school, and in modern times.  The origin may be the same, but Brian Michael Bendis does an amazing job taking well-known characters and making them fresh and exciting.  This collection compiles the first 13 issues of the series.


The Amazing Spider-Man: Coming Home

J. Michael Straczynski, of Babylon 5 fame, constructs one of the most daring and innovative Spidey tales of all time.  In this volume, Peter meets a mysterious, and mystic, stranger named Ezekiel who reveals that perhaps Spider-Man isn’t as unique as he has always thought.  This beautifully written and illustrated book sheds new light on Spider-Man’s past, and was an instant classic upon publication.


Spider-Man: Death of the Stacys

These collected stories, originally published in the early 70s, showcase what made Spider-Man—and Marvel—so groundbreaking.  The events of Death of the Stacys have shaped and impacted Spider-Man’s universe to this day.  A must read for any Spidey fan, new or old.


Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt

Another classic Spider-Man tale, Kraven’s Last Hunt features one of Spidey’s most dangerous foes: Kraven the Hunter.  Kraven has hunted and killed every type of dangerous animal there is, except for Spider-Man.  In one of Spider-Man’s darkest tales, Kraven is determined to kill and replace the web-slinger.


Spider-Man: Birth of Venom

The mid to late 80s saw a huge development for Spider-Man as he was introduced to the black symbiote suit, and eventually one of his greatest threats: Venom.  This collection tells the origins of Spider-Man’s Black Suit, as well as the instantly and insanely popular Venom.  Over the years, Venom’s origins have been altered, but this is still a must read for Spidey fans.


Ultimate Spider-Man: Death of Spider-Man

Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley reunite to tell one of the most shocking and daring Spider-Man tales ever.  Set in the Ultimate Marvel Universe, the story deals with the death of Peter Parker, how the city mourns, and the eventual arrival of a new Spider-Man.  This story breaks ground in many ways, and is a staple on many top ten lists.


Spider-Man: Blue (Available through InterLibrary Loan)

The renowned and award winning duo of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale craft a heart-felt and retrospective story unlike any other.  Spider-Man: Blue revolves around Peter Parker recounting the early days of his relationship with Gwen Stacy.  Loeb and Sale explore one of the elements that make Spider-Man such a unique character: his heart.  This beautifully illustrated love story captures all of the appeal of Spider-Man, and is personally one of my favorite graphic novels.

Graphic Novels: Then & Now

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.graphic novels

Comic Book Icon Nick Cardy Passes Away

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.

Please read the full obituary posted by the Comics Alliance, and be sure to check out his work on the Teen Titans, available at the Palm Beach County Library System.

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Spooky Graphic Novels for Halloween

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.





fromhellFrom 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.





hellboyHellboy 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.






gl blackest nightGreen 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 night30 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 deadWalking 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.





sandmanSandman 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 crowThe 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.