The Comic Book Mignola-verse

When I’m asked for comics recommendations, people often bring up “The Big Two”, Marvel Comics or DC, as a starting point. We’re talking Iron Man or Superman. Thor or Batman. Sometimes that’s the right route to take, but other times, a suggestion outside of this much focused-upon segment of the comics medium is the more suitable and interesting course to follow. One suggestion I often make is the work of my personal favorite, artist/writer Mike Mignola (pronounced MIN-YO-LA).

Mignola began his career in the early 1980s, working as an inker and penciller for both Marvel and DC, on comics such as Alpha Flight, Rocket Raccoon, and the Incredible Hulk, eventually finding his idiosyncratic footing with a number of well-regarded Batman mini-series and one-shots, including Batman: Gotham By Gaslight, a retelling of the Jack the Ripper murders.

In 1993, Mignola took a chance with a creator-owned book he didn’t expect to survive more than a few issues. Published in 1994 as Hellboy: The Seed of Destruction by Dark Horse Comics, this character launched an entire story-telling universe that now spans seven unique titles, over two decades, and normalized the publishing of mini-series of stories, rather than the continuous comics “run”.

The great majority of Mignola’s work, often referred to as the “Mignola-verse”, is available in-print, and through Hoopla, at The Seattle Public Library, 157 items in all. If something’s missing, try filling out a purchase suggestion. Still not quite convinced to try comics? Well, as I always say, “Like art and reading? You’ll probably like comics”.

“From the Pages of Hellboy”:

Hellboy: Seed of Destruction

“A half-demon occult detective who may or may not be the Beat of the Apocalypse”. Folklore, fairy-tales, monsters, pulpy action, it’s all there in this series.

 

 

B.P.R.D.: Hollow Earth & Other Stories

“The Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense”, a spin-off following the secret government agency where Hellboy was born, raised, and trained.

 

 

Abe Sapien: The Drowning

This series follows Hellboy’s fellow outcast and BPRD agent, Abraham “Abe” Sapien, a fish man with no memory of his past.

 

 

Lobster Johnson: Iron Prometheus

A supposedly fictional hero of Hellboy, this series is an homage to pulp heroes of the early 20th century. “The Lobster” is a vigilante fighting the mob, robots, and supernatural enemies in 1930s NYC.

 

 

Sir Edward Grey, Witchfinder: In Service of Angels

A supernatural agent of Queen Victoria, known as “The Witchfinder”, Sir Edward Grey investigates and battles both the supernatural enemies of the empire, as well as mystical secret societies who seek to gain their power.

 

Sledgehammer 44

A WWII story whereby a U.S. soldier battles paranormal Nazi foes by means of a mystically powered energy suit (supernatural pulp Iron Man?).

 

 

Frankenstein Underground

Mignola’s riff on Frankenstein, with the monster wandering through supposedly lost underground civilizations, seeking to find redemption.

 

 

See also:

The Amazing Screw-on Head and Other Curious Objects
Baltimore: The Plague Ships
Grim Death and Bill the Electrocuted Criminal
Jenny Finn: Doom Messiah
Joe Golem Occult Detective

~posted by Mychal L.

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Get Beachy

Perhaps your summer plans involve lying on a beach, relaxing and soaking in the sun; or maybe not, and you’ll be beach-dreaming on the bus, making furtive excursions to Alki, Golden Gardens, or Magnuson Park. Either way, here are some beachy reads to get you in the summer mindset.

The Shark Club by Ann Kidd Taylor
Maeve, a renowned shark researcher, returns home to the Gulf Coast of Florida after a research trip and makes three startling discoveries: her twin brother has written a novel based on her failed love life; her estranged former fiancé is now the chef at her grandmother’s hotel; and a shark finning operation is killing sharks in the Gulf. Fortunately, there’s also a charming 6-year-old girl who wants to start a Shark Club with Maeve.

Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead
During the school year, Benji is one of the only black kids at a prep school in Manhattan; in the summer, he and his brother Reggie escape to the East End of Sag Harbor where a community of African-American professionals have built a world of their own. At 15, it’s a summer full of rites of passage for Benji: getting a first job, pursuing girls, car ownership, getting adults to buy beer.

 

The Vacationers by Emma Straub
Jim and Franny, celebrating their 35 wedding anniversary, take their extended family on a two week vacation to sun-soaked Mallorca. There’s their daughter Sylvia, celebrating her high school graduation; their son Bobby and his girlfriend Carmen; Franny’s best friend Charles and his husband Lawrence. And then, of course, there are all the secrets and baggage they each bring along. All the stress and comedy of someone else’s family vacation.

The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
Dumped by her husband of 48 years, Betty Weissmann is forced out of her elegant New York apartment. She borrows a relative’s shabby Westport beach cottage and is joined in exile by her two adult daughters: Miranda, a literary agent dodging a series of scandals; and Annie, a library director who feels responsible for looking after the practicalities. Mischief, hints of romance, and self-discovery abound.


~ posted by Andrea G.

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#BookBingoNW2017: Collection of Essays or Short Stories.

Maybe you already love reading essays or short stories. Perfect: this Summer Book Bingo square is a freebie. But let’s assume this square gives you some pause. Maybe the term “essay” reminds you of those horrible things you were supposed to write in school, or “short stories” calls to mind unappetizing literary dissections in Language Arts class.  No worries; we’ve got you covered!

The good news is, no matter what sort of reader you are or what you’re in the mood to read, there are essays and short stories that should work for you. And so, without further ado, here are some good jumping off places for you. Continue reading

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10 new books librarians are loving

Each month librarians across the U.S. nominate new books they love for the Library Reads Top 10. Here are the ten titles for August 2017 — nine novels, one memoir — for you to get on your hold list now. Also, these titles work for your Summer Book Bingo “recommended by a librarian” square!

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#BookBingoNW2017: Read a book by a SAL speaker

Just a few of the fantastic authors who have been featured as Seattle Arts & Lectures speakers …

Perhaps that fourth row middle square – to read a book by “A SAL speaker (past or upcoming)” — gave you pause this year. It’s a delightful challenge because you have dozens and DOZENS of incredible authors to choose from.

SAL stands for Seattle Arts & Lectures, our partner in the adult summer reading program Book Bingo that we’ve all been loving these past three summers. The back of the Book Bingo card gives you a tease of the authors coming to SAL for the 2017-2018 season: Colson Whitehead, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Jesmyn Ward, Tyehimba Jess; you can see the full list here. We’ve included a selection of the authors coming this season in this booklist in our catalog, too: #BookBingoNW2017 – Read a book by a Sal author. Continue reading

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ACT’s ALEX & ARIS: Beyond the Theatre

ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) presents the world premiere of ALEX & ARIS by Moby Pomerance from July 14 to August 6, 2017. ALEX & ARIS is the story of a young prince (who would go on to become Alexander the Great) and his time as a pupil of the great philosopher Aristotle. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books and films to enhance your experience of the show: ACT Theatre’s ALEX & ARIS: Beyond the Theatre.

Fiction can be an exciting way to visit the ancient past. Annabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean offers another exploration of the relationship between Aristotle and Alexander the Great. The first book in Mary Renault Alexander the Great trilogy, Fire from Heaven examines Alexander’s early life before he ascends to the throne. Set as his army is stalled, just before his final great victory, The Virtues of War by Steven Pressfield focuses on Alexander’s military acumen.

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#BookBingoNW2017: Young adult

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Need a book for that Young Adult square but aren’t quite sure where to start? Young adult fiction has come a long way since Sweet Valley High, with captivating, well-written titles that cross and blend just about every genre out there.  There is, of course, an abundance of teen romance but there is also excellent historical fiction and realistic fiction that shows just what it means to be a teen in 2017.  With thousands of titles published for young adults each year it can be a challenge to find books that will resonate with adult readers.  Here are some of our favorites: Continue reading

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