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Post-Batman Blues

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock you must know by now the third and final chapter of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series, Dark Knight Rises, opened this month to massive audiences worldwide. And I mean massive audiences, like more than a half billion dollars in revenue massive. Now if you’re anything like yours truly this movie could not come fast enough. At midnight on July 20th I lined up with my fellow Batman fanatics to see the two hour and forty-five minute conclusion and suffice to say I was not disappointed.

That being said, I couldn’t help but want more (maybe I’m just greedy). So how on earth do I shake off these post-Batman blues? I mean there are the obvious answers like re-watching Batman Begins and Dark Knight for the nine millionth time. Perhaps I could go back to the Batman of my childhood and check out Tim Burton’s version of Batman and Batman Returns (in my world Batman Forever and Batman and Robin never happened). What to do? What to do?

Thankfully I found the answer where I find most of my answers in life, in a comic book. In an attempt to go further down the rabbit hole I decided to read about the physical and intellectual powerhouse known simply as Bane. Specifically, I began the series called Knightfall, which is Bane’s most notorious storyline in the Batman universe, and also earned him the title of “the man who broke the bat.” This series is an absolute must-read for those who are interested in learning more about the villainous character who stars in Dark Knight Rises.

Another must-read for anyone who enjoys the grittier side of Batman is Batman: Year One by Frank Miller (author of 300 and Sin City). In this incarnation of Batman, Miller tells the story of how a young Bruce Wayne returns to Gotham City and attempts to find a way to restore justice and fight corruption by becoming a masked vigilante. This origin story also illustrates how Bruce Wayne’s relationship with a young Lieutenant Gordon was formed. Whether you are a lifelong Batman fan or still relatively new to the Batman universe this series will not disappoint.

Finally, if anyone has ever wondered what would have happened if Batman and Catwoman had a child then it’s worthwhile to check out the Birds of Prey series. This series features the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, Helena Kyle. In this series Helena Kyle, also known as Huntress, follows in her father’s footsteps and battles Gotham’s criminal element with the help of the other members of the Birds of Prey (including Oracle - formerly known as Batgirl). While this particular series may not appeal to everyone, it will certainly entertain anyone who would like to see some more women in Gotham get in on the action.

Hopefully this will help fight off those post-Batman blues, but hey, if more DC action is still needed there is plenty of time to brush up on Superman lore before the release of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel in Summer 2013…

Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful... New Fairytale Comics!

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

I am happy to report that we have some great new fantasy graphic novels in! The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen being notable among them. Yolen weaves a story around just enough stereotypes to turn them around and come out with a satisfactory egalitarian ending -- a great read. Yolen is one of the most prolific writers of our time, boasting 300+ books to her name (with CPL carrying 40+ of her YA and Adult titles). A great storyteller with a penchant for fantasy and extremely relatable characters, she ranges from writing children's books, to poetry (adult poetry among them), to novels. She has also partnered with many great artists throughout her career, such as Come to the Fairies' Ball illustrated by Gary Lippincott. Sacred Places illustrated by David Shannon is also a notable highlight among her illustrious ilk. In The Last Dragon artist Rebecca Guay fits right in there by creating a visual feast for the eyes with hints of Art Nouveau and the Pre-Raphealites. I like pretty comic books, it's true. Guay has also illustrated Black Pearls A Faerie Strand, a YA novel by Louise Hawes.

Pay the Piper is a modern rock n' roll twist on the Pied Piper -- Modern, urban fantasy at it's best. Another great Pied Piper re-telling that just hit the stacks is The Brixen Witch by Stacey DeKeyser

At the back of the graphic novel The Last Unicorn there is a spread of art by 5 different artists depicting the characters from the story. I'm assuming the artists auditioned to illustrate the final comic. The art was amazing, as were the artists they picked, and it made me wonder how the novel would have been different if illustrated by each artist. A picture is worth a thousand words and this concept - of seeing other artistic possibilities for the same book intrigued me. Then, along comes Spera by Josh Tierney! One graphic novel, one story, illustrated by five different artists, each depicting their own chapter! The most surprising thing about this really is how smoothly the story actually flows from artist to artist, yet each lends a particular flavour, slanting and enhancing the scenes at hand. And for those of you who just can get enough, there's a Volume 2 on order!

Although not new to our collection the following items are more than worth your while.

Castle Waiting is a great comic book that takes elements from fairytales such as 'Sleeping Beauty' and combines them with a good dose of humour and plots about bearded ladies, two-headed girls, pregnancy and hidden libraries... Arthur Rackham makes an appearance as a stork and there are lots of other humorous post-modern references sprinkled throughout. Linda Medley, the author, has been described as Arthur-Rackham-meets-Charles-DeLint-meets-Marvel-comics! I highly recommend her. And there's Castle Waiting II too. Funnily enough the intro is written by... Jane Yolen! Of Medley she says: "Once upon a time, which is how all good fairy tales begin (if you grew up in western culture), a child was born in the rural Salinas area of California. Or Califunny as those of us who live 3000 miles away like to call it. Which, if one were writing a fairytale would be prophetic. If one were drawing a comic, it would come with a banner: Here is born Linda Medley. Then an arrow to a group of trees, Rackham trees. A child sits with her back against the heavy bark, in her lap a drawing pad. There is a newspaper, folded to the comics page by her side, a copy of Grimm Tales... So I feel as if Linda Medley is an old friend who has written Castle Waiting just for me - a feminist fairy tale with attitude, heart, imagination, laughter, love and truth. Er, Truth." I heartily agree!

The Goblin Companion by Brian Froud has long been a standing favourite of mine. Although Froud is famous for his fairies I particularly enjoyed seeing how he would draw a goblin wife, what kind of tools each fool possesses, and in general the rough juiciness of his pencil drawings particularly suits a more ornery subject... such as goblins. Check it out!

Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful cont... Genius = Kids Books for Adults

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Okay, in addition to Alex's latest blog Poke a Little Fun, in my time here I have noticed that there are many stellar picture books out there that are almost more suitable for an adult audience, in both their stunning content and maturity. The true genius of these books lies in the fact that they manage to span the ages and appeal to all ages. TRUE genius at heart. Here are 4 offerings in that vein.

Three Ladies Beside The Sea by Rhoda Levine illustrated by Edward Gorey who is famous for his darker art and pictures books for adults is a fun tale of 3 sisters with rhyme and metaphor that younger readers may miss and older ones appreciate. Also not to be missed is his humourous, The Epileptic Bicycle.

Elliott, written and illustrated by Tobin Sprout features bleak and beautiful surrealistic paintings accompanying a cute story about finding your calling... when your old life is over. Sprout is also a musician (best know as a former member of the indie rock band Guided by Voices) in addition to being an an artist and writer!

Where in the World by Marie-Francine Hebert and illustrated by Janice Nadeau, is a heart-string pulling tale of what a young girl decides to do and to take with her when her life is all of a sudden usurped by war. Originally written in French, this book's illustrations won the Governor General’s Award for French language picture books. The dedication aptly reads, "For all of you, little or tall, who are working hard to add more soul into the great jar of life."

In the Heart of the Bottle written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers reminds me of the heart imagery in Christina's Perri's video Jar of Hearts ... but as a children's book. A poignant story of how your heart can get into and out of ... a bottle.

Enjoy!

Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful cont...Art Graphix

by Adrienne - 2 Comment(s)

Okay so it's been quite awhile since I have written a blog in the Bleak, Bizarre and Beautiful vein. In the interim I am happy to report that we at CPL have chalked up a considerably new awesome stock of graphic novels in! Herein are reviews of some of the best graphic novels that have crossed my path over the past few months. They are what I consider to be original in format, art and story;

Here be the latest: ART GRAPHIX!!!

Chopsticks: [A Novel] in pictures & news clips is a mystery that leaves you with plenty of questions. This beautiful new art book/ graphic novel written by Jessica Anthony (who also wrote The Convalescent), photographed and designed by Rodrigo Corral.

Page by Paige is a fun quick read of Paige Turner's adventures in her sketchbook after her family moves to New York. The images and text detail her journey towards becoming an artist. Inventive and profound whilst remaining light, Paige and her friends stir things up a bit as unconventional graffiti-ists "The Agents of Whimsy". Each Chapter is headed up with a new "rule"; rules that will help any aspiring artist to fill up the Page (or just adjust to a new school...)!

How would you use a camera to communicate your view of yourself and the world around you? How do you think your friends would? Please Read (if at all possible) The Girl Project by Kate Engelbrecht is a compilation of photographs and survey submissions that gives snapshot glimpses into the lives of REAL teenage girls... as Not seen on TV. The author of this book speaks to girls, "3 years ago I became fascinated by popular depictions of you. I didn't recognize you. Bratty. Slutty. Spoiled. Vapid. Mean - even vicious.... I didn't see myself in you or even relate to you. After all, I didn't know any teenage girls anymore, and like so many adults, I understood you only through the media...I started the girl project as a way to explore my questions and confusion.. This project has become less about my curiosity of you and more to do with making sure your lives get shared. Your lives are in fact deeply meaningful... I hope you see yourself somewhere in these pages and feel reassured that, in this world, you are not alone."

Cathy's Book by Stewart/Weisman/Brigg is an epistolary (book written in diary format) complete with doodles. pictures and notes inserted. This is one of those books that I picked up to read for five minutes and didn't put down until someone else walked in to the room and I realized what time it was... A fast paced action adventure with an ArtGrrl twist plus plenty of mystery and philosophy on the side. It also features a website and ph# you can call to enhance the story! MY favourite quote from the book reads, "Without us, the world is just things, Cathy. It's our seeing that fills them with meaning. To pay attention is a painter's sacred duty. That's what real prayer is, real meditation: to hold your attention to the world like a match, until it catches with the fire of meaning."

Last but not least Timbuktu based on the novel written by Paul Aster - adapted and illustrated by Julia Goschke - with beautiful paintings and sparse text. Told from Mr. Bones' point of view after his homeless former master passes a way and Mr. Bones tries to adjust to his new life (incidentally, Mr. Bones is a dog). Poignant and real, it brings a different perspective on the freedom of homelessness and a dog's loyalty as he learns, "..that memory was a place, a real place that one could visit, and that to spend a few moments among the dead was not necessarily bad for you, that it could in fact be a source of great comfort and happiness."

Happy Reading!

Beauty Becomes the Beast - What kind of Animal are you?

by Adrienne - 1 Comment(s)

"Deeper meaning resides in the fairytales told to me in my childhood than in any truth that is taught in life." -- Johann von Schiller

Fairytales are of the old world, right? Witches, beasts and warlocks, goblins and leprechauns galore! Princesses in glass slippers, super skinny fairies, evil old ladies... Sometimes I do ask myself what any right-minded 20th century woman would be doing worshipping the ground that these tails (or tales ;0)) walk on... And it's true that some fairy tales DO seem to promote domestic violence, Barbie-esque physiques and a general "Rescue Me!" syndrome. Take Beauty and the Beast, or Rapunzel as prime examples. Others, like Little Red Riding Hood, are all about the "Listen to your mother - don't think for yourself" mentality... Not that listening to your mother is bad... However folk and fairy tales are truly alive - they are ever changing and evolving - just like language: Did you know that slang and swear words are actually the words that keep our language alive? It's true! Just check with any anthropologist of linguistics. Ever try swearing in Latin (the epistemological DEAD language?)?... didn't think so. Fairytales are the same way -- they're constantly being twisted and changed to reflect modern tastes and inclinations. Nowadays there's a whole trend of re-vamped fairytales - AKA Twisted Tales - the library is basically EXPLODING with them! Check out these books if you're interested in these neo-classics:

What if you could be the Beastly Bride? The Beast rather than the Beauty? What kind of animal would you be? The Beastly Bride - tales of the animal people edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling is an anthology of twisted tales involving various were-beasts, she-cats (The Puma's Daughter by Tanith Lee), elephant-brides (Jane Yolen's poem is not for the weak of heart), and enchanted individuals that reverse roles, choose to stay as animals rather than marry because they like their snake-like natures (Rosina by Nan Fry), outwit each other, find true love (The Selkie speak by Delia Sherman) and surprise and inspire us.

Terri Windling says, "I never outgrew these "children's" tales; rather, I seemed to grow into them, discovering their hidden depths as I grew older -- for just as nightly dreams reflect the realities of our waking life, the symbols to be found in folklore and myth (the collective dreams of entire cultures) provide useful metaphors for the journeys, struggles and transformations we experience throughout our lives. So deep was my love of folklore and myth that I went on to study the subject during my university years, which is when I learned that historically these tales were intended for adults, not children."

Take another quote from Terri Windling's website: "Long ago the trees thought they were people. Long ago the mountains thought they were people. Long ago the animals thought they were people. Someday they will say, long ago the humans thought they were people..." from a traditional Native American story recounted by Johnny Moses.

If you think that's thought-provoking, try THESE twists on for size:

What if Red Riding Hood took the situation with the wolf into her own hands? (Red Hood's Revenge)

What if the werewolf was female? ... and a Dingo not a wolf?

What if Beauty ran away from her abusive husband WHILE pregnant; married a woman AND started a safe refuge in an abandoned castle? (Castle Waiting)

What if the twelve dancing Princesses weren't married off to a happenstance prince, and one of them never kissed the frog but took him as a pet and when she got older HE kissed her instead? (Wildwood Dancing)

What if the Beast was actually a gentle prince from Persia more interested in language and roses than hunting?

These are all plots taken from current YA novels and they are how folk and fairytales evolve. Historically, in fact, fairytales have always changed with the times to reflect the values and mores' of the current culture they reside in. Red Riding Hood only became a cautionary tale to warn little girls to obey their mothers in the Victorian Era, and was a much less innocent story before that - in the French Revolution it was a cautionary tale for WOMEN (not girls) to warn them about the kind of men they should be wary of... and BEFORE that, as a french folktale passed on by word of mouth, it was actually a tale about how young women might inherit their grandmother's wisdom. Weird eh? Who woulda thunk? But its true- check it out for yourself.

We also have a great series in the juvenile section, The Sisters Grimm. In graphix we have Rapunzel's Revenge (wouldn't you LOVE to turn your hair into a lasso?) and in movies we have Red Riding Hood, by Catherine Hardwicke, the director of Twilight. Plus Alex also wrote a great blog about all that's currently going on with Snow White.

It's fun, try it! Let's see...What if Cinderella decided she didn't want a prince but a life of her own; no prince, no step sisters... what would she do? Or what it Cynder lived in New York in 2012... and was a gay boy? How would THAT story unfold? Do some research using our spiffy new catalogue (it's fun -- I swear! You can save lists of say "Red Riding hood" as a search term, limit it to YA books, save it as a temporary list and then re-name it and email/fb/twitter it to all your friends... imagine the research possibilities!) Then write/re-write your own fairytale -, twist it around, have fun and THEN... submit it to our TEENSCREATE page and get it published. Presto! Just like that! In fact, bring your writing to our Write Now! program on March 24th and you might even win a prize! (and get feedback on it from published authors!) We may not be fairy Godmother's, but here at the Teenzone we do possess our own special blend of magical powers ;p

As the famous Froud's say, "As artists, Brian and I are merely part of a long mythic tradition—giving old faery tales new life and passing them on to the generations to come."
- Wendy Froud

Wanna be a MANGA star?

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Wanna be a Manga star? Well, there is a FREE Manga & Comics Drawing Workshop at Thornhill Library this Thursday February 8th! Register Here! Now!! I know you wanna!

When I was a teen, one of our groups' favorite things to do was hang out at various red-neck diners drawing art and comics for each other all night. Maybe we were all on a kamikaze mission but... sharing all those comics and making zines together was certainly a blast! And sometimes we even sold them at All Ages shows making back our coffee money. DIY! There was always an edge... who could draw the awesomest MANGA? Make the coolest character? Have the weirdest plot? ... or get us in the most trouble?...

At any rate - Come to this workshop, brush up your comic skillz, and possibly MEET others who are as obsessed with Manga as you are!

Then publish your drawings: SUBMIT them to our TEENSCREATE page! From there it's just a short jump to DC... with maybe a few coffee shops and diners along the way...

In the meantime here are also some cool suggestions to get you started drawing.

Plus one of my favorite titles Steamboy by Katsuhiro Otomo. Who's your favorite Manga character?

***Stars, dust & magic***= Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful continued...

by Adrienne - 4 Comment(s)

With holiday magic in the air, I thought I might get away with writing about some great fantastic (and magical books) without having a bunch of people vomit all over me... However, I also happen to know that a lot of you secretly and not-so-secretly love fantasy. And these are books with a twist.

As a teen, a friend introduced me to The Sandman by Neil Gaiman and although I had always shunned comic books, an instant romance was born. Gaiman is a mysterious magician weaving stories that are bizarre and strange, that usually leave you with more questions than answers. He also picks stunning illustrators to work alongside him. One of my favourites is Charles Vess. Vess' style could be best described as Art Nouveau meets 1930's comic book. Instructions, also by Gaiman, is a fairytale poem that might leave you rather quizzical and Stardust: Being a Romance in the Realm of Faerie, is pure indulgence! Go on fairy lovers, love it up! Of course you can always count on Gaiman to never follow the staight and narrow... There's DVD and Blu-Ray versions too. MirrorMask is a lovely, bizarre story that I reviewed earlier as an audiobook. It explores the intricacies and complications of mother/daughter relationships and I had the priviledged coincidence of listening to this in the car this summer while travelling back from Drumheller with my mother. Here's to unplanned synchronicity! MirrorMask is also a beautiful graphic novel illustrated by Dave McKean and a great video.

I discovered that Charles Vess has also illustrated some YA novels by one of my favourite Canadians (Saskachewanite to be precise), Charles DeLint! They're great! And short. In Seven Wild Sisters ginseng, bees and faeries mix! Featuring an Apple Man, an Old Aunt and Wild Hills, here's a short excerpt: "Most of her time was taken up with the basic tasks of eking out a living from her land and the forest... But you could buy your food instead of having to work so hard growing it.' 'Sure I could. But I've had to have me money to do that and to get the money, well, I'd have to work just as hard at something else, except it wouldn't necessarily be as pleasing to my soul.'... 'You find weeding a garden pleasing?', 'You should try it girl. You might be surprised.' " Medicine Road stars the Dillard twins Laurel and Bess (from Seven Wild Sisters) in a wild adventure in the Native Southwest. Check 'em out! Charles DeLint is also an artist, poet, folklorist & critic as well as playing in various bands -- he has just released a CD The Loon's Lament with his wife MaryAnn Harris and John Wood. It features cover art by Calgary's own Lisa Brawn!

The latest superstar to hit the scene earned his stripes working on animation for Toy Story! William Joyce has come up with the brilliant idea of re-working the characters of St. Nicholas, The Man in the Moon the E. Aster Bunnymund and others into "The Guardians of Childhood"; modern day super heroes inhabiting familiar, yet not-so-familiar folktales. These display some stunning SteamPunk style illustrations with a ton of adventure to boot. Maurice Sendak has said that The Man in the Moon is "a fabulous recapturing of an old, real fairy-tale world. Dark Mysterious. Stunning!" and Joyce's latest release Nicholas St. North and the battle of the Nightmare King has hit the shelves... just in time for the holidays.

And what fantasy suite is complete without a title such as The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle? “We are not always what we seem, and hardly ever what we dream.” The graphic novel adaped from Beagle's 1968 classic is lushly illustrated by Renea DeLiz and coloured by Ray Dillon. The library has just ordered Beagle's new book First Last Unicorn and other Beginnings. This includes letters, an unpublished novella about The Last Unicorn, interviews, correspondence and other snippets giving delightful insight into the creative process of this beloved master of fantasy. Over the holidays watch the DVD and Blu-Ray versions and then check our stacks in the New Year for the new book. Start the year off right!

Tolkien and Robin Hood Fans will appreciate Mouse Guard by David Petersen. Mouse life is treacherous and towns must be gaurded. Hence the formation of.. "The Mouse Guard"! Immerse yourself in a leaf-ridden, Ork-like medieval mouse's reverie (nightmare or dream?)! Mouse Guard vol. 01 Fall 1152 was critically acclaimed as best Indy Adventure Book of 2006 by Wizard Magazine and I can see why.

Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard vol. 01 also created by David Petersen. This album brings together 17 different comic artists - aka "mice", as they gather together at June Alley Inn to compete to clear their pub tabs by telling the most creative and fantastic stories (a fun nod to the classic "Canterbury Tales" by Chaucer!)

AND... I'm so excited I can barely contain it!!! Alex may geek out about being a Potter fan but I'm a total Lord of the Rings girl and.. Yes! they released an unexpected trailer for Peter Jackson's upcoming The Hobbit! .... Why can't it be next year already?!?!?!?

en...JOY!

Halloween for Scaredy Cats*- aka Bleak, Bizarre & Beautiful Continued.

by Adrienne - 4 Comment(s)

So it's a well known fact that I DON'T do horror! No books, no movies, no tapes (especially NOT of The Ring..), no campfires ghost stories, no nothing, - etc, etc. add into infinitum. It's not so much what the actual books and movies do themselves to creep me out.. but what my imagination does to itself afterwards... for like 6 months, or a year, or however long it takes to make me sleep NOT at night & behave like jitter bug all day. Call me a wimp. I Don't care. I know there are others out there like me. As they say "You are Not Alone..." . So... If you are looking for someone to recommend you the most gruesome, fearsome, awesomest scares... that would NOT be me. Hence the title "Halloween for Scaredy Cats"

I DO however love weird, strange and slightly scary things, like pet vampires, spider fairies, and Harry Potter. The Wikkeling by Steve Arnston falls into this category. Scary - but not, the illustrations however are cool and strange enough for all. A mix of twisted B/W silhouettes ala Arthur Rackham and detailed pencil/watercolour collages in the vien of Tony Diterlizzi (Spiderwick), illustrator Daniela Jaqlenka Terrazinni does a good job of making the book absolutely intriguing.

Speaking on DiTerlizzi his black line ink drawing in Mary Botham-Howitt's 1829 poem "The Spider and the Fly" are definitely shall we say... juicy.

And Vampires? Well if you like Vampires you might actually hate this book. but if you can twist your head around a Vampire being CUTE, yes as in cuddly, then Hipira - a collaboration of Katsuhiro Otomo & Shinji Kimura (who collaborated on Steamboy) is for you. Funny and visually delightful especially if you like square spirals, square spirals, square spirals, square...

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! * this blog is dedicated to all my fellow scardy cats out there - I know you're there ;)-

Bleak, Bizarre, Beautiful

by Adrienne - 0 Comment(s)

Fall is a Beautiful, Bleak, Bizarre and Bountiful season. Things start falling apart and looking strange, half eaten, fiery and orange. You can smell the death and decay, feel the sting of the wind, and the wind of things slowly but surely changing into the mood for Halloween. Crisp fall leaves fall down making us cold and wanting to snuggle up with a good cozy book. It is a suitable time to explore the bizarre. We have some amazing YA Graphic Novels (aka comic books) that have beautiful art and strange stories. So much so they are more like ART novels. The black ink drawing's in Salem Brownstone could be compared to Aubrey Beardsley's illustrations of Salome by Oscar Wilde. An unusual story involving an unexpected inheritance, a contortionist, the circus and Salem's mission to battle out evil using his amoeba like familiar and a crystal ball to restore the balance of good in the world. The black and white graphic detail is stunning. More like Art Nouveau gone comic book.

For Bizarre/Strange Steampunk is the New Black with Tim Burton's new Alice in Wonderland movie being exemplary of this style. We have a new cool graphic novel inspired by the movie, the dvd, blu-ray, 2 movie book (s), and the CD. Avril Lavigne who composed the title track Alice on this album: Almost Alice is playing in Calgary at the Saddledome tonight! (October 11th). Rounding this out are 3 YA Graphic Novels that are definetly NOT childish: Alice in Wonderland (based on the new film), Wonderland (a fun re-imagining) and Hatter M, vol.1: The Looking Glass Wars (a little bit like Mad Hatter Karate!).

Alice is considered to be the first book that was written not as a moral tale for children but with the specific enjoyment of it's audience in mind. Technically classified as Non-sense Literature and having never lost it's grip on our imaginations, these books do much more than entertain. When our lives are turned upside down,

when we fall through the rabbit hole, when we enter the matrix: they are tales of survival in strange and bizarre circumstances. They stretch our minds and imaginations, enabling us to conjure solutions to the strange sudden bizarre and REAL events of our lives - like your grandfather dying, suddenly growing pubic hair (how weird was that!), moving to a new house, having sex for the first time, finding out you have an unknown sibling, accidentally being pregnant, being kicked out of your house, etc. etc., etc. At the library we have 11 illustrated versions of Wonderland, two of my favourite being Ralph Steadman's which isalso very Art nouveau/Aubrey Beardsley-ish and Robert Ingpen's 2009 edition illustrated with finely detailed pencil/watercolour illustrations from unusual perspectives. This is my favourite Alice to date.

Paul Stewart's Edge Chronicle's illustrated by Christopher Riddell are also fantastically strang. Riddell's The Emporer of Absurdia definitely falls into Dr. Suess territory both in terms of graphic illustration and imagination. There are even echos of Dali. Fine line work and stunning hat collections!

Shaun Tan has written some great books for down days. These include The Red Tree, The Arrival (a YA graphic novel) and The Lost Thing expanded as Lost & Found and recently made into a short animated film. Watch the Trailer here! The Lost Thing reflects on the doldrums of conformity and things that just don't quite fit in - highlighting the importance and value of the weird and the wonderful. Happy Fall!

..... to be contiued (we have such a beautiful, bleak & bizarre collection you can look forward to more!)

Great Graphix of Ginormous Proportions

by Jilliane Yawney - 0 Comment(s)

Graphix are great…Ok, maybe not quite in the “ginormous” way that I've said, unless it is relatively large book, but it is a cool word that starts with G!

Book CoverMost of us grew up with comic books in one form or another. My earliest memories of comics, like many, included following the adventures of Snoopy, one of the many recognizable characters from Charles Schultz’s Peanuts. And then there was the mischievous Calvin from Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes series (which, by the way, we also just happen to carry in the library.) Calvin and Hobbes is an irresistible mix of a little boy with a big imagination, who faces everything from evil babysitters to dinosaurs, teachers and a mild mannered little girl named Susie Derkins, all the while combating boredom. So if you ever need to combat boredom yourself, Calvin might be just the ticket.

Our Graphix collection gets more sophisticated than a mere collection of comics, however. There are many book series that are now Graphix, including the famous Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys book series, and the Warriors series, based on a popular book series about a group of feral cats. We also have tons of Manga, with series such as Naruto, Dragon Ball Z, and Shaman King, to name but a few. My favorite Graphix happen to be our non-fiction graphix.

Book CoverNon-fiction you ask? Yes, non-fiction. I recently read Alia’s Mission Saving the Books of Iraq by Mark Alan Stamaty (YA Graphix 020.92 BAK). It is inspired by the real life story of Alia Muhammad Baker, a librarian who became the chief librarian of the Central Library in Basra, Iraq. When she heard about the possibility of a war being ravaged on her city, she begged the Iraqi officials to let her relocate some of her books, for fear they would be damaged. While Iraqi officials refused her request, she did it herself – finding places through friends throughout the city to house thousands of books (including a book that was hundreds of years old.) When war did break out, bombs destroyed the library, but not the books, thanks to Alia’s heroic efforts. You can read non-fiction in our graphix collection, including in our teen zones at your local public library!

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