New Yorker Cartoonist Bruce Eric Kaplan Discusses His New Memoir "I Was A Child"

Wednesday November 11, 2015: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event will be recorded

Bruce Eric Kaplan, the renowned New Yorker cartoonist, visits AADL to discuss his critically praised illustrated memoir I Was a Child. This event, cosponsored by AADL and the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor as part of the 2015 Jewish Book Festival, will include a book signing and books will be for sale.

Bruce Eric Kaplan, also known as BEK, is one of the most celebrated and admired cartoonists in America. I Was a Child is the story of his childhood in suburban New Jersey, detailing the small moments we all experience: going to school, playing with friends, family dinners, watching TV on a hot summer night, and so on. It would seem like a conventional childhood, although Kaplan’s anecdotes are accompanied by his signature drawings of family outings and life at home-road trips, milk crates, hamsters, ashtrays, a toupee, a platypus, and much more. Kaplan’s cartoons, although simple, are never straightforward; they encompass an easy irony and dark humor that often cuts straight to the truth of experience. Brilliantly relatable and genuinely moving, I Was a Child is about our attempts to understand the mysteries that are our parents, our families, and ourselves.

Bruce Eric Kaplan is an American artist whose single-panel cartoons frequently appear in The New Yorker. He also has a whole other life as a television writer and producer, currently for HBO’s Girls.

The Jewish Book Festival runs November 4–15. For more information about the Jewish Community Center of Greater Ann Arbor or the Jewish Book Festival, visit

Comic artist spotlight: Marguerite Debaie

Marguerite Debaie is a Palestinian-American artist who has been writing comics about the Palestinian-American experience and they are great. Her first book, in two volumes, The Hookah Girl and other Stories are humorously poignant observations from someone who has grown up as a Christian Palestinian in the US. These two volumes manage to capture what it was like for Marguerite growing up. The art is beautiful and at times it manages to capture in time a moment of great importance for us to share with the artist. So check out Volume 1 and Volume 2

Her second book A Voyage to Panjikant is a beautiful piece of historical fiction that follows a family from 7th Century Sogdiana (now known as Uzbekistan) who are in the midst of the silk road. This first volume is short, but you can see the time and care that went into making it. The coloring is by far some of the most beautiful work I’ve seen in some time, Debaie really captures the vibrancy of the culture. If you are interested in historical-fiction comics then you need to read A Voyage to Panjikant.

Crossover Graphic Novels November Edition!

We've got a whole bunch of great crossover graphic novels for you this month and these ones are amazing!

First up this month we have Gryphon's Aren't So Great by James Sturm of Adventures in Cartooning fame. This story follows The Knight and his best friend Edward (who is his horse). Like all friendships this one is troubled by a gryphon (what your friendships don't have gryphon troubles? Must just be me). The Knight meets the Gryphon and starts riding him instead of Edward, and talking to Edward about how great Gryphon is. So just what will Edward do when Gryphon turns out to be more perilous than a pet? Read Gryphon's Aren't So Great and find out.

The second crossover graphic novel this month is Fable Comics which has a variety of artists but was edited together by Chris Duffy. These are not your normal every day fables. Nope these ones include ninja grapes (that may or may not be sour), ironic stepping on people, and leopards who really know how to rock! First Second, the published of this collection, really brought their A game to the table. The art is all great and the stories will make you chuckle, if not laugh out so loud that people wonder what's funny.

The third and final crossover is an adaptation of a wildly successful book series Warriors. Follow Ravanpaw, Tigerstar, Sasha, Graystripe, and Scourge amongst others as these graphic novels take you through new stories set in the world of Warriors. The art work in the books captures the feel of the novels, and its interesting to see what someone else imagines your favorite cats to look like! Those of you who are not already fans of the Warriors series (or who think you're too old for them) the stories in the novels are often captivating and any cat lover could enjoy the antics of these wonderful cats!

That's it for this month, but keep your eyes open for other great graphic novels that we blog about in the next month!

Lawbreakers Beware! Judge Dredd is in the Building!

The British comic 2000 AD has had a huge impact on the world of comics and graphic novels with such great comic book geniuses as Alan Moore, Peter Milligan and Neil Gaiman having worked for the comic, but none of the stories to come out of 2000 AD are quite as well known as Judge Dredd, spawning hundreds of issues of comics and 2 major motion pictures as well as a slew of video games.

Now in almost 400-page volumes, you can read the exploits of Judge Dredd in Mega-City One for yourself in "The Complete Judge Dredd Case files". The comics have a dark and gritty feel that now might be commonplace amongst certain genres of graphic novels, but at the time was truly revolutionary!

If you've ever seen the movies or played the games and wanted to know more about Judge Dredd and the world that he lives in, then now is the perfect chance to check out the many volumes that the library offers.

Come Downtown to make your own comic book bubble magnets tonight!

Join us Downtown in the new Secret Lab for a great event for teens and adults! Tonight, Tuesday, October 6, from 7:00-8:00pm, we'll use lots of awesome old comic books to create our own magnets!

Cut out pictures from the comic books, then glue flat glass marbles on them to magnify the image. Attach a magnet to the back and you have cool, useful decorations for metal surfaces in households, dorm rooms, and offices! You can even make a series of magnets based on your favorite comic book character.

All materials will be provided.

Blacksad: Amarillo winner of the Eisner and Harvey awards this year

In this year's comic awards season, Blacksad: Amarillo has taken home two major awards this year!

So, what's all the fuss about?

Blacksad is a anthropomorphic noir detective comic about a cat named John Blacksad. This book was wildly popular in France when it was first published, and it's popularity has led to translation into more than 20 different languages. Amarillo is the 5th installment in the series. The book starts with a fight over poetry and literary merit and just gets better from there.

The artwork is beautiful and captivating; it's easy to get caught up in the imagery as you read. If you love mysteries, graphic novels, and amazing artwork, Blacksad is a must-read.

Shakespeare at his finest, or at least at his shortest!

There is something to be said about Shakespeare, and that something might possibly be that it is not possible to get an understanding of the plot of a Shakespearean play in fewer than 10 seconds. Well, now it is, thanks to Brevity is the Soul of Wit!

Want to know what happens to Henry VI in Henry VI part 2? This book breaks it down!

Need to know what Hamlet does in Hamlet? This book gets you the answer you are seeking!

Want to know what happens Cymbeline? Wait...Shakespeare wrote a play called Cymbeline...? Well, not only do know now know the Bard's lesser-known titles, you can also know the overall arc of the main plot!

The art isn't breath-taking, and the prose isn't overwrought, and short and sweet is a whole new way to appreciate Shakespeare's work! If you are a fan of Shakespeare, you'll laugh at the extremely summarized style. The artist clearly loves the work of Shakespeare and it shines throughout the book. This is a great, and quick read and very much worth the time!

Harvey Award Winners 2015: Celebrating Great Comics and Graphic Novels

Another year, another group of great comics and graphic novels were celebrated at yesterday's Harvey Awards at the Baltimore Comic Convention. Without further ado, here are the Harvey Award winners for 2015:

Saga really cleaned house winning 3 out of the 4 awards that they were nominated for (Best Cover Artist: Fiona Staples, Best Continuing or Limited Series, and Best Artist: Fiona Staples)

Afterlife with Archie won Best Letterer award for Jack Morelli’s work

Teenage mutant ninja turtles : the ultimate visual history won Best Biographical. Historical or Journalistic Presentation.

Blacksad: Amarillo won Best American Edition of Foreign Material

Danny Miki won Best Inker for his work on Batman.

Best New Series went to Southern Bastards

Jim Henson’s Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow won Best Graphic Album Original

Best Writer went to Mark Waid for his work on Daredevil

Lumberjanes took home Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers

Sex Criminals won the Special Award for Humor in Comics

Bunny Drop a great manga for teens and older!

There is nothing normal about the beginnings of Bunny Drop, it starts with a death, Daikichi's grandfather dies and leaves behind a surprise for everyone in the family. He has an illegitimate daughter named Rin, who is only 6 years old. Follow the unlikely family as Daikichi and Rin learn how to live together and create a life together.
This manga is seriously cute, but it's not the cute that makes this manga worth reading (though cute is never a bad thing in a josei manga) it deals with the struggles of raising a child, especially one that is not biologically yours. It also deals with issues such as, abandonment, death, unexpected pregnancy, fame and friendship.

The library has all 9 volumes and so you can read the entire story from start to finish! So check out Bunny Drop!

Crossover Graphic Novels September Edition (this ones for teens and adults!)

Now normally when blogging on crossover graphic novels it's youth graphic novels that can be read by any age, this time I'm shaking things up a little bit and talking about teen graphic novels that are so great that adults should be reading them as well! And to further change things up instead of the normal 3 I'm giving you 4 graphic novels that you should be reading, like right now!

The first is Nimona by Noel Stevenson (that's the same person behind the awesome series Lumberjanes that I blogged about a while ago). I could write an entire blog post on why you should read Nimona , but then I wouldn't get to tell you about the other great graphic novels, so I'm going to give you the quick lowdown on everything you need to know about Nimona. Nimona is a shapeshifting girl who decides that she wants to work for this awesome evil villain Lord Blackheart (don't worry his heart isn't as black as he would have you believe). They take on the forces of "the Institution" the totalitarian regime that is seriously up to no good! If you like fantasy, sci fi, awesome strong female characters or sharks you should be already reading this now!

The second is Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?. Don't worry this story is not really about trying to pick up girls in a dungeon but rather its about a boy who is the only member of the family of a goddess, that's right all of the ancient gods are in this world and have families of adventurers working for them, who is trying to be a hero, the kind that he used to read about as a kid and sometimes that means hard work and almost being eaten by a Minotaur. This is another book that's great if you like fantasy books, or if you like RPG's (role playing games) or if you want to know the answer to the question Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?

The third is This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki. This book has one multiple awards (including an Eisner!!) but if the awards aren't enough to get you to want to read it, and you want to know something like what it's about and why you should read it, I guess I'll oblige! This graphic novel is about two girls on the cusp between adolescence and young adulthood and they find themselves at the same beach for the summer. The artwork alone is breathtaking and worth admiring but paired with the language of the book it's a truly remarkable book. It captures a very particular time in a young woman's life excellently and also brings in so many of the pressures that they go through. If you are a teen and want something to read, you should read this, if you appreciate great art, read this, if you have long since passed from young adulthood into full blown adulthood you should read this, it's not full of so many of the cliches that you find in many "coming of age" stories.

The fourth and final book is SuperMutant Magic Academy is not a traditional graphic novel, instead it is a series of one or two shot comics set in the wonderful world where people with extraordinary abilities go to school. This book is very humorous and almost every page will give you something to be entertained by. The comic originated as a webcomic before being bound into a volume and you really get the feel of that when you read it. It's not the most polished or prettiest graphic novel on the shelf but it's one that will keep you reading.

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