Recommendations from My Precarious Piles of Printed Pictures and Prose

I moved in the middle of this pandemic, and have nearly twenty open boxes and unsorted piles of comics and graphic novels sitting around. Revisiting the books I already own (whether I’ve gotten around to reading them all, or not) while unpacking has been incredibly fun, and is the basis of the following comics recommendations.

ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean

From the creator of the visceral and absurd Head Lopper, ApocalyptiGirl is similarly distinct in its art presentation and story pacing. The story follows Aria and her cat, Jelly Beans, as they search through a seemingly abandoned city for a mysterious artifact. Unsurprisingly, this plan is interrupted by unsavory locals and others with designs on the artifact. This story really excels in it’s mix of frenetic action and ponderous moments, letting us ruminate over the many mysteries of the world, then pulling us back into the narrative without ever fully revealing what’s going on.

DIE vol. 1 Fantasy Heartbreaker by Kieron Gillen, Stephanie Hans, and Clayton Cowles

DIE is a wonderfully bleak combo of moody aesthetics and a fantasy storytelling melange. Described by writer Kieron Gillen as “Goth Jumanji”, DIE follows a group of now middle-aged “friends” who are once again pulled into the dangerous role playing game that they’d previously survived as teens. If you’re looking for a mix of Jumanji, the Bronte siblings, table-top role playing games, or Timeline, you should read this comic. Continue reading “Recommendations from My Precarious Piles of Printed Pictures and Prose”

Oh, doggone it!

Dogs can completely change the way we feel—for the better. They are funny, loving, and intelligent. Canine companions live in an estimated 63 million U.S. homes, so it’s no wonder stories, movies, and videos featuring dogs have always been big hits. Let’s not forget our own local legend, the public-transit-riding dog, Eclipse, who rides the bus throughout Seattle (except during quarantine, of course). Today, we are going to look at three dog-related titles that highlight the amazing lives of dogs and those who live with, rely on, and love them.

The Art of Racing in the Rain book cover imageThe Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

This is one of those stories, told through the eyes (and voice) of a dog, that simply works. Enzo is a dog who sees the world for what it is and would love to speak his mind directly to those around him, but cannot. However, we are lucky enough to get an inside look at his joys and frustrations surrounding the life of his human family. Publisher’s Weekly notes: “Stein’s tale of family, loss, redemption, and fast cars—recounted entirely from the perspective of a retriever-terrier mix named Enzo—ups the ante on the recent trend of high-concept anthropomorphism in popular fictions.” Continue reading “Oh, doggone it!”

Hoopla Comics: Tips and Recommendations

Many people are now familiar with Hoopla for music and videos, but it is also an excellent place to download comic books and graphic novels!

The Seattle Public Library doesn’t carry individual issues of comics, but you can find many of them in Hoopla. If there is a hot new title you want to keep up with, Hoopla can be great for that. However, checking out one issue at a time will eat up your 15 monthly checkouts really quick!

To get the most of your 15 monthly checkouts, here a few tips:

  • Don’t check all 15 out at once…there is a good chance you won’t get through them all, and we have a daily system limit, so share the wealth!
  • Look for comics that are Volumes, not Issues. Volumes collect multiple issues, so you will get more bang for your proverbial buck.
  • Right now, during the pandemic, Hoopla is offering Bonus Borrows, great titles that don’t count towards your 15 item limit

Don’t know where to start? Here are a few of my personal favorites:

Rock Steady: Brilliant Advice From My Bipolar Life  by Ellen Forney
Ellen Forney is something of a local legend in Seattle comic circles. You may recognize her work from The Stranger, where she had a long running strip called “I Was Seven in ’75”, has done many covers, and for a while illustrated the personal ads! Rock Steady is a great book for anyone dealing with mental illness or just trying to hold it together during these challenging times. Continue reading “Hoopla Comics: Tips and Recommendations”

Local Graphic Novels to Gear Up for Short Run

Graphic novels are doing particularly well in the Pacific Northwest, with Short Run Comix & Arts Festival coming up I like to prepare for the small press and independent level of creators by focusing on local creators. From mainstream on down to independent, Seattle has every genre being created right here. Here are a few favorites!

Ms. Marvel

G. Willow Wilson is a local creator, known for her writing in the novel The Bird King and Alif the Unseen, she also helped marvel comics welcome the first Muslim superhero in their history – Ms. Marvel! Kamila Kanh suddenly gets super powers and now is trying to juggle being a superhero with normal teenage concerns like school and friendships. Hiding her identity and finding what kind of superhero she needs to be, Kamila’s story is an excellent refresh of the classic superhero narrative.

Going to another well known title, Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi is a local creator who captivates readers of all ages with this fantastical tale of siblings who find a portal to another world in their basement. Dealing with loss and discovery the story doesn’t feel old with Kazu’s unique flair for writing and will leave you wanting the next book as soon as you finish the first. Continue reading “Local Graphic Novels to Gear Up for Short Run”

Graphic Medicine

Ever read a comic story with a character that has arthritis? How about someone who lives with anxiety and depression? PTSD? Food poisoning? If so, then you’re already familiar with Graphic Medicine!

Graphic Medicine is a genre of comics (with a website!) that examines the intersection of the comics medium with the discourses of healthcare, providing an accessible and impactful method of communicating and sharing illness narratives. These comics cover the spectrum, from published graphic novels (El Deafo), crowd-funded anthologies (Corpus), self-published web-comics (Kate or Die!) and zines ((No) Pain: A Guide to Injury Prevention for Cartoonists), with Graphic Medicine sometimes the focus of the work, other times simply present in a particular character or storyline. Continue reading “Graphic Medicine”