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Great Graphix for 2014—Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful continued

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

It may be a bit early to think of this year's Comic Con coming up in April however Camilla d'Errico's 2nd volume of Tanpopo is just hitting the stacks sooo... I thought it might be appropriate to highlight some great new and old additions to the fabulous Teen Graphix collection we have. Tanpopo is a 3 volume story of a girl raised by a machine-driven mind prison, who frees herself and goes on a journey of emotional and intellectual self discovery guided by a "boy" who is either a devil or trickster character or both. D'Erricco uses text from Goethe's "Faust"(and it is a Faustian journey that Tanpopo embarks on!!), Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" and Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio by Liaozhai Zhiyi.

Goethe started writing Faust when he was 19 and finished it a week before his death - how's that for the work of your life? Camilla uses the text and re-contextualizes it to create her own poetic story, complete with her sparse but beautiful comic illustrations all rendered with a fine point acrylic brush. Hailing from Vancouver d'Erricco has also published a YA graphic novel called Burn and several books of her art. One of which I just happened to get hand autographed with a drawing of her own when I met her at last year's Comic Con. (I'm sure she'll do the same for you if you go this year, nudge, nudge), she is, generous like that, and cool; hence me being so excited about her latest release. Did I mention that she snowboards and makes her art into designs for cell phone skins, laptops, snowboards, dresses, leggings, chairs, wallets, make-up cases and toys for the likes of Haysbor, Disney, Tokyopop, Neil Gaiman and the ilk. Her HelmetHeads paintings have a sweet pop sensibility to them. She's even published a book about how to emulate the same in your own comics. This could perhaps... hint, hint... be used as an inspiration to submit a comic of your own to our TeensCreate page, just sayin'....

Speaking of literary pop sensibilities; did you know that Frank L. Baum actually wrote not just 1 but 11 OZ novels? And not all starting in Kansas... Eric Shanower and artist Skottie Young have turned them into a series of great graphic novels for your eyes to enjoy. I think perhaps in an alternate universe D'Erricco's Tanpopo and Skottie Young's Dorothy and Ozma could all be sisters. The wonders of OZ never cease ;p

To conclude our brief but delectable journey, a great version of Faust has just been republished and acquired here at CPL. The illustrations by Harry Clarke hail from the Art Nouveau era (think Aubrey Beardsley) creating a visual feast that rivals the Steampunky details of d'Errico's HelmetHeads. So if you like Tanpopo you just might enjoy. Happy Reading!

 

Steampunk H.G. Wells, Wollstonecraft and Poe? Yes please!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Not had enough of things that creep in the dark post-Halloween? Ready to start designing next year's costume? Zdenko Basic's New Steampunk Series puts the ghostliness into the steam. It includes Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds, and Edgar Allen Poe's The Raven, amongst others.

Each book features a SHORT insightful introduction which gives some interesting tidbits about each author's life as well as some historical context. Lushly illustrated with which creep their mood from mechanical to ghostly to gory, there's plenty here to fuel the steam engine of your imagination. Especially if you are a Steampunk fan. And if you've never heard of Steampunk before but like horror and gore this might just turn your crank enough to start dreaming of making Next year's Halloween costume involve gears, lace and, rivets.

I'm sure you can imagine and design your own steampunk characters or dress up your favourite YA Hero/Heroine. What would a Steampunk Katniss or Harry wear???

Soooooo... design a costume and photograph yourself or draw your favourite YA character Steampunk style and submit these to our TeensCreate page! These books may help: Steampunk Fashion & How To Draw Steampunk. For further inspiration check out CPL's great and growing Steampunk Collection. Then continue the adventure by reading Kady Cross's Steampunk Chronicle's trilogy starting with The Girl in The Steel Corset, (which includes many descriptions of awesome Steampunk outfits...) and finish with Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey. May your engines be well oiled!

The Fresh Prince of B612

by Tomas - 0 Comment(s)

The Little PrinceThe new little prince

Recently I found out about a new version of The Little Prince, the classic story by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry.The Little Prince: The New Adventures is a graphic novel series which, it is prominently stressed in the promotions, is approved by the Estate of Saint-Exupéry and is in the spirit of the original. A new cartoon has also been produced, currently playing at Calaway Park in their new Cinemagic 3D feature. Both have been developed with the noble goal of bringing this classic character into the 21st Century.

I have to admit, I don't know how I feel about this. No, actually, I DO know that how I feel -strongly- is that this is all kinds of wrong. I've already had part of my childhood ruined by the Star Wars prequels (help me J.J. Abrams, you're my only hope!), and Michael Bay's take on Transformers, so admittedly I'm a little sensitive on the topic... I thought if there was one unassailable territory of my childhood it would be guarded by The Little Prince.

In the new adventures, the Prince and his plucky sidekick, Fox (really?) go from planet to planet, stopping the base villian Snake and his gang of Gloomies (REALLY!?!?) as they hatch all sorts of dastardly plots. I take issue mainly with the complexity of the characters being reduced to simplistic attributes of either 'good' or 'evil'. Snake being cast as a villian fundamentally changes one of the most complicated and pivotal scenes of the original book, and I'm distressed that anyone who reads it after the new adventures will miss out on debating the motivations and the outcomes of the snake's actions.

But maybe I'm just not thinking about this in the right light... After all, it is introducing the character to a new audience, one that then may come across the original. As Moe has written in another blog, classic stories are regularly revisited and brought up to date for new audiences, sometimes quite well. Putting aside the original source material for a moment, the stories of the new series are actually not that bad, although a bit repetitive, and the artwork is delightful.

So what do you think? Should I just calm down and be more open to this attempt at taking this story into an exciting new direction, or do you think this is a poorly considered capitalization on the original story? Let me know about other revisions of classic stories that have or haven't worked for you.

The Little Princenew little prince 2

Finding My Way Eyre

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

I admit that when I first saw Jane it was the cover that initially caught my attention, and that this was the first "Jane Eyre" book I ever read. Not that my friends had not been recommending the book ever since, oh - Grade 9! They did, I just... never got around to it. So when this beautiful moody cover caught my eye, I decided to make a go of it. This retelling by April Lindner, is set in NY with an art school dropout who becomes a nanny and falls for... a famous rock star. I was not disappointed. The book is great! Emma the BookAngel has even made a soundtrack for the book! Hot on its heels, I was putting holds on Catherine, Lindner's remake of Wuthering Heights. Also set in modern NY, this time with the daughter of the owner of a very famous night club as ‘Catherine’!

Then, it just so happened that the graphic novel remake of Jane Eyre landed in my lap. So I read that next, super curious to compare Jane to its original without delay. From my experiences with Manga Shakespeare I knew that reading the graphic novel is a great way to introduce oneself to a classic right away. No fuss, no problem, no big time commitment and no trouble understanding what's going on. I highly recommend it for all your Shakespeare assignments - plus any other classics you are asked to read for English class. Not because the originals aren't great, but rather because they ARE. It's great to have something on hand that can clarify what is going on, allowing you to focus on appreciating the book rather than struggling through it.

So finally yes, I actually read Jane Eyre after all these years. First off, for all the fashionistas out there I want to mention that the version that I read was a Couture edition by Penguin Classics - with cover and images designed by fashion designer Ruben Toledo = perfectly moody graphics!

Classics are classics for a reason and are generally good ground for expounding upon; they become a post-modernist's delightful playground (think Mash-Ups). I admit however that some classics are so stuffy that it's almost impossible to penetrate through their dense or obscure language and receive their enlightening rays of nectar and fruits of insight. Jane Eyre is, refreshingly, not, especially if read with a poetic eye and a philosopher's heart. There were words I was unfamiliar with but I found this antipathetically refreshing - welcome nectar to a vocabulary that has been thirsting for expansion. One learns to write by reading. One gleans semi-archaic vocabulary by reading semi-archaic tomes. (ha,ha).

Jane Eyre is moody and romantic. It arouses a passion of spirit, a storminess of temperament which, like the novel itself, is quite satisfying in its quietude. Jane herself is like that calm before the storm... Mr. Rochester the storm... Jane again, like the rain that pours down quenching your thirst with the ether of sweet negative electricity that bathes the air after lightning.

Jane Eyre contains phrases such as, "Her soul sat on her lips and language flowed", and thoughts such as "Then, my sole relief was to walk along the corridor of the third storey, backwards, and forwards, safe in the silence and solitude of the spot, and allow my mind's eye to dwell on whatever bright visions rose before it... to open my inward ear to a tale that never ended - a tale my imagination created, and narrated continuously; quickened with all of incident, life, fire, feeling, that I desired and had not in my actual existence." Jane is a formidable character. At the end of the book I found myself wishing I had read it when I was in Grade 9! Through tumultuous and harrowing experiences she has such a sense of her own self worth, and is so grounded; it would have been welcome food back then. I'll warn you though, that the book is a bit preachy in the last few pages. That said, the rest of the books is so fabulous that's it's worth that little bit at the end. I encourage you to read and enjoy!

Other Eyre remakes to check out include Jane Airhead, A Breath of Eyre, and Wish you Were Eyre. For more advanced adult books, check out Mrs. Rochester, Death of a Schoolgirl, Jane Slayre, and Adele : Jane Eyre's hidden story - a highly interesting remake of Jane Eyre told from Mr. Rochester's ward's perspective.

If you want to find out more about the life of the author (Charlotte Bronte), I recommend the following books as well: Becoming Jane Eyre, Jane Eyre: Portrait of a Life, & Governess: The lives and Times of The Real Jane Eyres. There are also a bunch of renditions of Jane Eyre on DVD to check out. (I've heard the 1986 version is great.) Comments and feedback on your favourite are welcome!