There's a party going on in Palisade and everyone's invited.

If you love fantasy graphic novels aimed surely at adults then Rat Queens will not let you down. Everything about this graphic novel is well done, from the (slightly crazy) storyline to the superb artwork. The story follows one of a few gangs of adventurers who call themselves the Rat Queens (one of the other gangs is eloquently called the four Daves and consists of four men named, unsurprisingly Dave). In the first volume the Rat Queens and the other gangs of adventurers are sent on missions that turn out to be much deadlier than they might have imagined.
The graphic novels balance humor, story and action in a wonderfully entertaining way. The series has gotten much attention for its content, especially as several of the Rat Queens fall into the LGBT spectrum.

So if you're looking for action, adventure and some scenes that will have you laughing far too loudly in a public place then check out Rat Queens!

It's Hard to be evil on a part time wage.

It sure is hard being the devil and a lord of a vast demon host when you only get part time hours at the local McRonald's restaurant. But Sadao Mao (as the Devil now call himself) is doing just that. Originally from another world called Ente Isla the Devil and his arch nemesis the Hero Emelia are thrust through a magic portal into our world. Left without their magic they are stuck and the Devil and his demon companion have to live in a tiny apartment and work part time jobs just to pay the bills.
This Manga based on a Light Novel and Anime of the same name is fantastic. It will keep you guessing as to what the real motivations behind the demon lord of Ente Isla truly is. The series has everything, action, adventure (and possible a little love) so if you're looking for a light hearted look at the Devil and his companions you can't go wrong with The Devil is a Part-Timer and the library is getting volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3!

Crossover Graphic Novels January Edition

Another year another wonderful selection of graphic novels that are great for young and old alike. This month brings some awesome graphic novels from some supremely talented artists and authors!

First up is Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola and Emily Carroll. This book takes the slavic folktale character Baba Yaga and reimagines a world in which she might live, and indeed do well enough to need an assistant. Whoever chose Emily Carroll to do the artwork for this book deserves to be applauded for their forward thinking. The artwork is a wonderful mix of simple and complex. Everything “ordinary” is drawn simply and really gives a sense of the “normalness” of them while Baba Yaga and other such extraordinary things are clearly drawn as different from the normal. The story itself really benefits from this style of art. As for the content of the story, it is more than just another reimagining of a folktale that are so popular at the moment. It truly strives to use the folktale as a frame for the story and not the other way around.
So if you like the weird, the extraordinary and people outthinking the “bad guys” then this book is for you!

The second graphic novel(s) in this month's crossover blog is the wonderful “Chronicle of Claudette” series which include the volumes Giants Beware and Dragons Beware. The first volume follows young Claudette as she goes in search of a local giant to slay and make her mark on the world. The Second follows as she attempts to get the famous sword Breaker that her father lost when trying to slay a dragon. The dragon took the sword along with her father's legs and one arm! The artwork is cute at times, but don’t let that distract you. The story is engrossing and will keep you reading.
So if you like giants and dragons, and awesome young protagonists who do what no one thinks they can, then this graphic novel is for you!

Lastly (and I’ll hope you’ll forgive me for this) I’m not going to point out a new series, but rather highlight that we will be getting volumes 2 and 3 of Lumberjanes!!! So if you’ve read the first volume Beware the Kitten Holy and loved it half as much as I did you should request to be added to the hold list for the new volumes because they are awesome, and if you haven't read the first volume you should go read it as soon as possible! It won lots of awards last year and for good reasons!

Artist Focus: Gene Yang

There are artists who you never knew you loved, you read works that they have worked on and don't even realize that all of them have something in common. Gene Yang is one of those artists for a lot of people.
He's worked on comicalization of the vastly popular animated series Avatar the last Airbender.
He's won multiple awards for American Born Chinese.
He wrote a wonderful and contrasting series set during the Boxer Revolution in Boxer and Saints.
He won an Eisner (along with Derek Kim Kirk) for his work on The Eternal Smile.
He brought a much needed resurrection of the first Asian-American hero the Green Turtle in The Shadow Hero.

These are not all of the books he's worked on just 5 of the most popular of his works!

If you are looking for a new graphic novel to read then you should check out one of Gene Yang's many amazing works.

All is not as it seems in Quanlom-

The Divine by Boaz Lavie is hard to pin down in terms of genre, is it a political thriller, a fantasy, sci-fi, war commentary? What's not hard to pin down about it is how well made it is. The story is captivating and will draw you on page after page as you try to uncover the secrets of Quanlom.
Mark, the protagonist of this story, is out of the military, newlywed and working for a civilian demolitions company when a government organization offers him a too-good-to-be-true contract for 2 weeks work "lava bending" to bring rich mineral resources to the impoverished area. The only downside is that there is a war going on in Quanlom. A war between what appear to be gods and an actual dragon, with some extra "magic" thrown in for good measure.

To not talk about the art in The Divine would be to do a massive disservice to the Hanuka brothers. The art is breathtakingly detailed, and will draw you into the page better than the story (which would have managed on its own). It's easy to find yourself staring at a single page for minutes as you take in all of the vast amount of information that is being displayed, masterfully, through image. It's not very often that a comic comes along where the art surpasses the story to such a degree that it could be displayed separately from the story and still be just as meaningful.

So if you are looking for a genre defying graphic novel that is most definitely not aimed for young readers then The Divine is the graphic novel for you!

2015 Thumbs Up award from the Michigan Library Association winner

Every year the Michigan Library Association gives out the Thumbs Up award that recognizes books that offer an outstanding contribution to young adult literature. This years winner is Through the Woods by Emily Carroll.
The book has 5 graphic stories in it each one a complete "fairy tale" type story. The artwork is just phenomenal and the stories gave me chills. Th stories included in the book are Our neighbor's house - A lady's hands are cold - His face all red --My friend Janna - The nesting place and each one creates a great feeling of the "weird" that really works great in tandem with the artwork.

So if you are interested in a great series of short weird graphic stories then give the 2015 Thumbs Up award winning Through the Woods a read!

NPR's Best Books of 2015

NPR recently released its Best Books of 2015 list, an in depth yearly endeavor where critics and NPR staff choose their favorite books of the year and compile them into a genre-spanning list of several hundred titles. I love that, along with the expected books on the list that are getting accolades from numerous publications and organizations, NPR’s list always contains more obscure titles that many readers likely missed over the course of the year.

You can view all of the titles from the list that we have available in our catalog here.

So what’s on this list of nearly 300 books? Here’s a preview:

In Speak, by Louisa Hall, a young Puritan woman travels to America with her unwanted husband, while in other time and place Alan Turing writes letters to his best friend’s mother and a Jewish refugee tries to reconnect with his distant wife. Elsewhere in time and space, a lonely young girl speaks with an intelligent software program and a formerly celebrated Silicon Valley entrepreneur is imprisoned for making illegal lifelike dolls. How does Hall tie all these characters together? As they all try somehow to communicate across gaps, Hall connects their stories, creating an amazing book that is a blend of historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy.

V is for Vegetables offers more than 140 simple recipes for cooking vegetables in unique and unexpected ways at home. Author and chef Michael Anthony has cleverly divided the chapters of the book by vegetable, so if you ever find yourself staring at kohlrabi or tomatillos in the grocery store, curious about how one cooks such things, this is the book for you! And even expert cooks will be refreshed by Anthony’s new ideas for ways to use common vegetables like broccoli, tomatoes, carrots and squash.

The Battle of Versailles tells of a little-known event that took place at the Palace of Versailles: as a fundraiser for the restoration of the palace, the world’s elite gathered in the grand theater there for a “fashion competition” of sorts: five American designers (including Oscar de la Renta and Anne Klein) faced off against five French designers considered to be the best designers in the world—Yves Saint Laurent, Hubert de Givenchy and others. The American clothes were expected to be a laughingstock but instead, the garments and the energy of the models who wore them wowed the crowd. By the end of the evening, American fashion in the world had transformed from a footnote to an enormous influence, not only on style itself but also on the way race, gender, sexuality and economics were treated in fashion in the years to come.

Crossover Graphic Novels- December edition special TV/Movie tie-in edition!

This month we're going to take a look at some of the great comics that have TV or movie tie-ins. Sometimes watching a show or a movie just isn't enough and you want more. Thankfully we live in a wonderful time where comic book companies have realizes this and provide us with sometimes hundreds of issues of our favorite movies and shows in comic form. So without further ado here are some great graphic novels that are wonderful for kids and adults alike!

With Star Wars Episode VII:The Force Awakens just a mere 10 days from release now is a great time to catch up on the Star Wars universes wonderful comics. From comics that are humourous (such as the Star Wars Jedi Academy series), to the continuation of the Star Wars Clone Wars Adventures, and even Manga style Empire Strikes Back. So while you count down the days until The Force Awakens why not read some excellent graphic novels.

The longest running animation in US history is The Simpsons and it's no surprise that they have been making Simpsons comics for quite a while now (Bart even has his own series of comics if you can't get enough of his antics!). What is surprising is that the comics feel like the show and if you're familiar with the characters than it is entirely possible that you will read the comics in their voices! The comics keep the feel of the show without duplicating the actual episodes, so if you have seen all the episodes and still want more (or even if you haven't seen them all) then The Simpsons Comic is for you!!!

Teen Titans is a great show for fans of the DC comic world and their latest series "Teen Titans Go" is wonderful as well, but now in a move that turns your favorite comic book turned TV stars back into a comic you can read the first volume of the newly release Teen Titans Go comic. The artwork is identical to the cartoon and so if you need more Teen Titans in your life then Teen Titans Go Voume 1: Party Part! is just the comic for you!

Gruesome folk(ish) tales in comic form.

The Saint's Eyes and other stories by C.Frakes is a collection of stories that all share one thing in common, they are all weird in the original sense of the word. They have something out of the ordinary, something slightly mystical and sometimes gruesome to them. My favorite of the stories is a woman talking about her life and the curse that she's been placed under. At first you don't notice anything strange but as the panels progress you get a better understanding of just who the woman was.

The artwork is simple, but it works with the style of stories that are being told. The simple lines and lack of shading in the comics give it a whimsical feel that plays well with the stories and creates something that is great.

If you enjoy short stories told in comic form and folk tales then The Saint's Eyes and other stories is definitely for you!

Fantastic Fantasy Graphic Novels!

There's a lot of great fantasy graphic novels being published and the library has a lot of great trades, but sometimes you want more than just "great" you want to read a fantasy graphic novel that is, well fantastic. So here's some of the most fantastic fantasy trades that the library has for you to check out.

Telos follows Young Jarek and his companions, an anthropomorphic Tiger named Koj, a swashbuckling pirate named Serra, an anthropomorphic fox thief named Rikki, Rikki's companion Hawke an Elf and .a Genie that is bound to protect only Jarek. Read as the companions try to discover the mystery behind Jarek's origin. The artwork in this is very vibrant with lots of bold color choices. The character development in the story is wonderful and you really get a feel for the fantastic world that these companions live in.

Pretty Deadly is a hard comic to describe, it's a western, fable, fantasy, adventure, mystery, art piece. It starts off with a butterfly and a bunny talking about the day they met, the day that bunny was afraid and the day that a young woman, Sissy, shot him. Fantasy westerns are not that common and so when one comes along that is lyrical, in the sense that it focuses on symbols rather than plot to develop the story, and beautifully illustrated. You can tell that each page, each panel is carefully drawn with great attention to the small parts that make a greater whole more solid. If you are at all intrigued by the idea of a western fantasy narrated by a bunny and a butterfly then this is most definitely the graphic novel for you.

The Mouse Guard are a group of mice who protect their lands in a world where almost everything else is their enemy. The story has an epic feel and often deals with subjects such as fate, destiny and what it is to be a hero. The artwork in this is deeply moving and unlike many other fantasies with animals as the protagonist the mice are not overtly anthropomorphized but instead still look and feel like mice, even if they walk on two legs. This is not the first time I've recommended this series and it won't be the last it is a fantastic graphic novel series and worth every minute it takes to read them!

Here's three of the most fantastic fantasy graphic novels that we have at the library. Keep watch for more fantastic fantasy blogs for even more fantastic fantasy!

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