2015 Ignatz Award Winners Announced

The Small Press Expo (SPX) announced the winners of the 2015 Ignatz Awards for excellence in independent comics, and women artists swept all categories! Winners receive a brick, a nod to Ignatz's weapon of choice in the classic comic strip Krazy Kat by George Herriman.

Also worth a read are the nominees.

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.

Zombies and Samurais....sort of

Rot and Ruin: Warrior Smart is a collection of the first five comics of the series Rot and Ruin, based on the novel of the same name by Jonathan Maberry. The story is a post-apocalyptic zombie thriller, and deals with the survivors of the zombie outbreak that happened prior to the start of the series.

The comics follow Benny Imura, a 15 year old boy, as well as his girlfriend Nix, his friend Chong, and a semi-feral girl named Lilah. One night, Benny and Nix see a jet fly overhead, something unseen since the outbreak started. So Benny and his friends decide to set out and find this jet, thinking that whoever built it must be working on putting the world back together. Having been trained by Benny's brother Tom in the ways of the samurai and sword fighting, the group prepares themselves to set foot outside their walled city and into the land of rot and ruin. While zombies are the first thing they encounter, the walking dead may not be the most terrifying thing beyond the city walls. On the run, the group comes across a farmstead village, protected from the zombies. Everything seems peaceful, and the people are happy and value hard work and children above all else. But not everything is as nice as it seems.

If you like Rot and Ruin, be sure to check out the novel series here, or any other of Jonathan Maberry's books.

Who Needs a Prince When You Have a Cannon?

Princeless: The Pirate Princess is the next omnibus installment in the popular Princeless series written by Jeremy Whitley. While this is the third volume in the series, you don't have to read volumes 1 and 2 to enjoy it! Princess Adrienne, who decided she was tired of waiting in a tower for a prince and that it was time she saved herself, is off on a quest to rescue her other imprisoned sisters. But along the way she gets distracted by the eccentric activities of a girl named Raven, who has a very Mulan-like feeling to her. Though not of royalty, Raven is the daughter of the Pirate King, making her as good a princess as any other! Raven's brothers tricked their father into sending Raven away, insisting she wasn't fit to be the heir to their father's title. Well, Raven isn't taking that lying down. Follow Raven and Adrienne as they fight off thugs, ride a dragon, blow some stuff up, and commandeer a pirate ship! If you're looking for strong girls in a kids-friendly comic, this is it.

If you're interested in reading Adrienne's story from the beginning, be sure to check out volumes 1 and 2, both available at the library!
Volume 1: Save Yourself
Volume 2: Get Over Yourself

AADL Japanese Manga Collection!!!- That's right you can read them in their original language here at AADL!

Have you ever read a manga in English and thought to yourself, I wish I could read this in the original Japanese? Well you can on a large amount of manga through your local AADL branch! You can search the entire Japanese manga collection or if you want here's some of the more popular manga the library has in Japanese (I'm using the English titles when they are listed)

Bleach is a story about Ichigo Kurosaki who obtains the power of the Soul Reapers. Ichigo then is forced to take on the duties of guarding humans from evil spirits.

Attack on Titan follows Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman and their friend Armin Arlert after the wall that has been protecting their city is breached by giant 60ft tall titans who are the enemies of humans. (Note this manga is pretty graphic in its depictions)

Naruto follows young ninja Naruto Uzumaki who yearns to be the Hokage (the ninja who is leader and strongest of all).

Inu Yasha follows Kagome Higurashi a 15 year old girl from Tokyo who gets transported to the Sengoku period after falling down a well. There she meets Inuyasha a half-demon and accidentally shatters a sacred jewel.

One Piece follows the adventures of Monkey D. Luffy, a man whose body has the properties of rubber, and his crew of pirates.

Fullmetal Alchemist follows two brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric who are trying to find a philosopher's stone to restore their bodies after an alchemical accident.

Fruits Basket follows the story of Tohru Honda, a young orphan, who discovers a family who are possesed by the animals of the chinese zodiac when they are weak, stressed, or embraced by someone of the opposite sex.

Have you wanted to read Proust but were intimidated by Proust? Well here's your chance for a novel introduction to one of his classics.

In Search of Lost Time is arguably one of Proust's greatest novels. Split into 7 volumes it encompasses themes such as memory and the nature of art. The first volume of this great work is Swann's Way and if you want to jump right into the novel go ahead, but if you, like me, have been intimidated by Proust's work then perhaps the new graphic novel of In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way is the way to go.

The artwork is beautiful and at times breathtaking, especially the artists great grasp of the importance of background in graphic novels. It is not a perfect adaptation but it is one worth your time. If you have ever wanted to tackle a work by Proust then here is a perfect chance. If you've never heard of Proust, here's your chance to get to know his works in a manageable manner.

If after reading this you want to read some of Proust's other work check these out

Create Your Own Illustrated Book with Ruth McNally Barshaw

Wednesday April 6, 2016: 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

This event is intended for grade 4 - adult

Join Ruth McNally Barshaw, author of the popular Ellie McDoodle Diaries, for a hands-on workshop on how to make your own Ellie McDoodle or Diary of a Wimpy Kid-style illustrated book!

Copies of Ruth's books will be for sale courtesy of Literati Bookstore.

Comic-Drawing with Ruth McNally Barshaw

Thursday February 18, 2016: 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

This event is intended for grades K-5

Learn the art of story creation, draw characters, and brainstorm settings, story problems, friends and enemies with Ruth McNally Barshaw, author of the popular Ellie McDoodle Diaries book series!

Books will be for sale courtesy of Literati Bookstore

Comics are Magic!

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (often abbreviated FiM) has taken the world by storm since it started on TV in 2010. If you're a fan of FiM, then you'll want to check up on all your pony friends in the My Little Pony comics! Keep up with Rarity, Applejack, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Twilight Sparkle as they have even more adventures in the magical land of Equestria.

Check out our newest issues, volume 6 and volume 7. In volume 6, Applejack, Fluttershy, and Rarity are headed to Manehatten to watch The Great and Powerful Trixie's magic show. But when Trixie is accused of stealing a diamond, it's up to the Ponyville Ponies, with the help of Babs Seed, to figure out if Trixie is being framed. Meanwhile, Angel, Winona, Tank, Owlicious, Opal, and Gummy are trying save Ponyville while Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, and the rest of the town's ponies have fallen under the hypnotic song of a kelpie! And finally, Discord decides to take Fluttershy and the Cutie Mark Crusaders on a trip through time (which is, of course, full of Doctor Who references) and show them some exotic animals, including the mysterious butterdragon.

In volume 7, the Mane Six are headed to Canter Creek to investigate the disappearance of Applejack's great granduncle Chili Pepper. Turns out a group of bull outlaws, the Cattle Rustlers, have been terrorizing the town and are trying to get Chili Pepper's ranch! The ponies have to come up with a plan to get rid of the bulls, all while Twilight refuses to use her magic against them. Then, leave the west behind and head back to Ponyville, where the Everfree Forest is taking over! Looks like there are more bull problems as Twilight and her friends clash with another bull who is trying to clear out the forest and build a theme park. Unfortunately, King Aspen, leader of the deer in the Everfree Forest, doesn't think the ponies can help and has decided to expand the forest right into Ponyville and Canterlot! Princess Twilight will have to stop the bull, protect Ponyville, and help the deer and ponies become friends again, before the forest takes over everything!

Whichever pony you prefer, be sure to read the rest of the library's My Little Pony comics.

To Kill or Not to Kill, That is the Question!

Whether you love it or you hate it, everyone knows about William Shakespeare and his plays: Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, the list goes on.

Regardless of your feelings towards the great bard, this comic is definitely worth a look! Kill Shakespeare starts out in the play Hamlet, where the Prince of Denmark has just accidentally killed the nobleman Polonius and is sent away to England. In the original play, we don't really know what happens to Hamlet during this time and he eventually returns to Denmark. Well now is your chance to see what happened in between! At least according to Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery. Hamlet is lost at sea, and rescued by King Richard III (the name of another Shakespeare play), who tells him of a great destiny in which he is called the Shadow King, a title Hamlet has recently been called in his visions by three crones (from Shakespeare's Macbeth!)

But what is the destiny of the Shadow King? Why, to kill a man who is said to be a god or a wizard. A man who holds a powerful quill and has accumulated a great following of people in King Richard's kingdom. A man named William Shakespeare.

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