The X-Men Stories

"X-Men Origins: Wolverine" hit theaters today, expanding on the story of that fan-favorite, pointy-haired, claw-waving, Canadian superhero Wolverine. This continuation of the popular X-Men movie franchise promises to lift the fog that covers the hero's past. If this movie appeals to you, you may also enjoy exploring the in-depth universe of the X-Men available at our library. We have the X-men comics, collected in graphic novel form, as well as the popular X-Men movies. Be forewarned, reading of X-Men can be highly addictive!

Jerzy Drozd Presents: Why Superheroes Communicate to Us

On Saturday, April 25th at 4pm in the Downtown library, Cartoonist Jerzy Drozd, author of The Front: Rebirth and other graphic novels, will deliver a dynamic presentation aimed at adult audiences on the greater significance that superheroes have in our world.

From the author: Superheroes have been an integral part of American culture since the late 1930s. Almost everyone knows what effect Kryptonite has on Superman, why Batman has a disdain for guns, or how Spider-Man learned "with great power comes great responsibility". But are these cultural icons merely a power fantasy for young people, or do they speak to wider human experiences and struggles? And why have they until only recently been a genre exclusive to comic books?

Join cartoonist and teaching artist Jerzy Drozd for an interactive discussion about the role of superheroes in fiction as well as the parallels that can be found when one compares them to characters found in mythology and fables.

The D Word: Comic Collections to Watch Out For.

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My latest preferred form of episodic entertainment has been found in reading our collections of Alison Bechdel's Dykes to Watch Out For, a comics series about a diverse group of lesbian women and their many adventures. It's just good, fun reading, with characters that you really come to care about. But it's also one of the few pieces of current, popular storytelling that I know of which actually focuses on women, LGBTQ people, people of color, and progressive issues. I didn't even realize what I was missing until I started immersing myself into these great stories. We have many of the compilations here at the library.

And of course, I would highly recommend Bechdel's Fun Home: her graphic memoir about her early life and experience of coming out. It's a really special book.

Webcomics

Are you a fan of webcomics? Whether you are a reader or a creator of your own comics, we have books for you.

For the authors and illustrators out there:
Webcomics, by Steven Withrow and John Barber
Webcomics 2.0 : an insider's guide to writing, drawing and promoting your own webcomics, by Steve Horton and Sam Romero
How to make Webcomics, by Brad Guigar

For those of us who aren’t artists but still enjoy our weekly dose of webcomics, here are a few published collections of some of the most successful comics out there.
Penny Arcade, by Jerry Holkins & Mike Krahulik
Megatokyo, story and art by Fred Gallagher
Achewood: The great outdoor fight, by Chris Onstad

Happy Birthday Art Spiegelman!

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"Art Spiegelman... to the comics world is a Michelangelo and a Medici both, an influential artist who is also an impresario and an enabler of others." (The New York Times Magazine). Born February 15, 1948, Art Spiegelman is best known for his Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel Maus, based on his parents' survival of the Holocaust. If you have never read the Maus series, you should definitely add them to your "must read before I die" list. Spiegelman's hauntingly simple black and white drawings depict Jews as mice, Nazis as cats, Poles as pigs. If you think of graphic novels or comics as "fluff", Spiegelman's powerful work will change your mind.

Here at the AADL you can also find In the Shadow of No Towers, Spiegelman's account of life after the September 11th attacks (Spiegelman and his family bore witness to the attacks in their lower Manhattan neighborhood: his teenage daughter had started school directly below the towers days earlier, and they had lived in the area for years). We also have many other Spiegelman works like Breakdowns : Portrait of The Artist as a Young %@&*!, and the offbeat Little Lit : It Was a Dark and Silly Night for children, featuring comics by Lemony Snicket, William Joyce, and Neil Gaiman, to name just a few.

JACK KIRBY'S FOURTH WORLD OMNIBUS, VOL 1

Before there were graphic novels, Jack Kirby envisioned a day when comics would be written to be collected in prestigious hardcover volumes to be treasured as one would Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus is the realization of that vision, albeit too late for him to see it.

"The Fourth World", as it came to be known, began as a story Kirby meant to tell in the pages of Marvel's The Mighty Thor comic book series. When Ragnarok was to arrive on Asgard, the Norse Gods Thor, Loki, Odin, and Balder were to die. From the ashes of Asgard's destruction would come a new race of people to carry the epic battles of the gods into exciting new directions. Instead of sharing this opus with an increasingly ungrateful Marvel Comics, Kirby took "The New Gods" to DC Comics. Beginning with his run on Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, Kirby introduced us to timeless heroes like aggressive Orion, cheerful Lightray, and inscrutable Metron of New Genesis; and classic villains like Apokolips monarch Darkseid, ruthless enforcer Kalibak, and demented torturer Desaad.

Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus, Volume One collects Kirby's galaxy-spanning tale of the New Gods in the order the stories originally appeared in the pages of Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen, New Gods, The Forever People, and Mister Miracle. The time has come to experience "An Epic For Our Times" as Kirby meant it to be.

Kirby is King.

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These days an average comics artist working on books like The Fantastic Four, Captain America, and X-Men is hard pressed to create 22 pages of story every month. Jack "King" Kirby, on the other hand, was known for keeping a staggering pace of 15 pages per week over the majority of his 40+ year career. He also co-created many of the aforementioned characters and established what became known as "The Marvel Style" in comics. Despite such an impressive work ethic and fertile imagination, Kirby received little in the way of financial compensation beyond the page rate given to the average artist.
Mark Evanier, assistant to Kirby over a significant portion of his career, charts the King's life in comics from his early years with Joe Simon (with whom Kirby co-created Captain America), to his bittersweet years at DC Comics, to his final days as a story consultant for animation companies like Hanna-Barbera. Kirby: King of Comics is a behind-the-scenes story detailing the triumphs of a soaring imagination as well as the heartbreak that comes from working in an industry before it learned to adequately reward its creative talents.

Graphic Novel Bootcamp: Training in the Fundamentals of Comics Storytelling

Closing DoorsClosing Doors

How is a graphic novel different than a comic book? Is it the length of the story, the format in which the story's printed, the genre or subject matter, or is there something more going on? Find out Sunday, September 28, 2008 from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm in the Pittsfield Branch Program Room .

Join cartoonist and teaching artist Mark Rudolph, author of the graphic novel Closing Doors (recently featured in a documentary aired on Detroit Public Television), in an interactive discussion and hands-on workshop that explores the unique affordances granted to a cartoonist when making a graphic novel. Learn some of the fundamental techniques used by professional cartoonists as you create some of your own comics work. Discover some of the idiosyncratic storytelling possibilities facing an author of "long form" comics stories.

Supplies will be provided. All you need to bring is your imagination and the urge to create!

Comic Masters Film Series Playing at the Michigan

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The Comic Masters Film Series playing at the Michigan Theater features select comic works by some of Hollywood’s master comedy directors. The series is starting off with films by Woody Allen, and will eventually feature films by Mel Brooks, Blake Edwards and Hal Ashby. The remaining Allen films are Annie Hall, Manhattan, Stardust Memories, Purple Rose of Cairo, Radio Days, and Zelig. Be sure to check the theater’s website for the full schedule of all films playing by all directors between now and mid-December. (Including Young Frankenstein and Harold & Maude!) What a great way to celebrate some of our greatest directors of comedy.

Super Duper! Kirby Does It Again!

Comics just don't get more fun than this. Join cub reporter Jimmy Olsen and his pal Superman in some utterly irreverent and outright zany adventures as only Jack "King" Kirby could create. When Kirby came to work for DC Comics he was given the opportunity to write and draw any book he wished. Not wanting to put a fellow comics creator out of work, Kirby instead asked to be assigned to the lowest-selling book in the lineup. Kirby's iconic designs and intense action propelled the series to become one of DC's top sellers. Check out the collected Jimmy Olsen by Jack Kirby to find out why. If you enjoy films like Indiana Jones or Remo Williams, there's no way you won't get a kick out of this book.

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