Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Short Booknotes on Graphic Novels 6

Yet again, another set of recently read graphic novels.

Miller, Frank and David Mazzucchelli. Daredevil: Born Again. New York: Marvel Comics, 1990. ISBN: 0871352974

I have said before that I cannot get enough of Frank Miller's work. In this story, he tells of how Daredevil falls from grace when the Kingpin discovers his secret identity. The Kingpin does not want to kill the hero, but he chooses to ruin his life. We watch as Matt Murdoch loses his job, his residence, his friends. However, Matt is a fighter, and he never gives up. This is what the Kingpin was not counting on.

Anderson, Kevin J. The X-Files, Vol. 2. Checker Book Publishing, 2005. ISBN: 1933160039

This is the second compilation of the comic series. Again, I think fans of the series will enjoy this one, and new readers will like it as well. The cases in this collection are more on the paranormal side, less conspiracy so to speak.

Bendis, Brian Michael. Ultimate X-Men Vol. 7: Blockbuster. New York: Marvel Comics, 2004. ISBN: 0785112197

On his own, Wolverine is hunted down by rogue agents of Weapon X. He finds himself relying on help from Daredevil and Spider-Man. A good story, though the other two guest characters do not figure in it as strongly as it is hinted.

Vaughan, Brian K. Ultimate X-Men Vol. 9: The Tempest. New York: Marvel Comics, 2004. ISBN: 0785114041

After the death of one of the X-Men, they must now confront a serial killer going after young mutants. This killer is Mr. Sinister, but he is very different from the character known in the "classic" comics.

Moench, Doug. Batman: Hong Kong. New York: DC Comics, 2004. ISBN: 1401201016

A young man witnesses a murder online. When he is the next victim, Batman discovers a connection to Hong Kong. He travels to Hong Kong to solve the crime, only to find himself out of his element in a different culture. However, he finds help in a new local hero: the Night Dragon, who has a connection to the case as well.

Loeb, Jeff. Batman: Hush, Vol. 1. New York: DC Comics, 2004. ISBN: 1401200605

This is part of a two volume compilation, and I will be reading the second part soon. In this volume, Batman battles Killer Croc and Poison Ivy. However, not all is as it seems. Catwoman becomes involved as well, and for a while, Poison Ivy manages to get Superman under her spell. Yet, through it all, Batman has the feeling that someone else, someone who is not yet revealed, is pulling the strings. A solid story that stands well in the first part, but readers will want to seek out the second volume.


brian said...

what do u think about libraries providing graphic novels or comic books for patrons?

Angel, librarian and educator said...

Hey Brian, nice to see you again. I am totally cool with libraries providing graphic novels as part of their collections. Where do you think I get a lot of the ones I read and post about? Actually, on a serious note, I think this is an area where the public libraries are a bit ahead. In academia, it seems to be "we can't possibly add that (insert your negative adjectival phrase here) to our collections" as if the collections were some cathedral that would be desecrated. However, I see it in terms of two things.

One, we can view graphic novels as artifacts of popular culture. Popular culture being a worthy academic inquiry endeavor, we should provide materials to support it, including graphic novels.

Two, I think an academic library should be able to meet the needs of its community. Not just the academic, for the assignment, needs, but the recreational reading needs as well. To that end, graphic novels are a popular genre with students, and it would thus help meet their recreational use as well.

Having said all that, I don't think we should buy in academia every single thing that comes out. Some selectivity is in order. For instance, manga may not be as easy to add, not because of the content or quality (I think they can be very good), but because of their serial nature where they keep going on and on (some titles do), making it hard for a library to collect. However, a manga sampling may be a nice thing to have, plus again, they are popular culture items.

How about you, what do you think?

And if any other readers are out there, feel free to comment as well if so moved. If you do not wish to go public, the e-mail link is active. Best, and keep on blogging.

Pat said...

Hello Angel,

Thanks for posting the Batman Hong Kong graphic novel. I have just begun my quest for for Chinese, Japanese and Koreans in graphic novels and plan to see how they are represented.


Angel, librarian and educator said...

Pat: You are welcome. _Hong Kong_ was interesting in that it had the feel of many Asian-themed films we see, where family honor and traditions seem to be very important. Batman needed to learn how to navigate these. On another note, I just finished another title that may fit on the vein you seek, and I will post on it soon. In the meantime, best and keep on blogging.

Pat said...

Hello Angel,

Thank you for your thoughts and comparison to Asian-themed films. Actually the film industry has improved a little over the past 20 years, however, the video gaming industry has not. I am interested in the representation in graphic novels, considering how interested students are in reading these.

I look forward to any other titles you find that include images of Chinese, Koreans and Japanese.

Thank you,