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Graphic Novelty²

Month

November 2015

From Comics to Small Screen

Comics actually have a long history of being turned into TV shows. Among the first TV shows based on comics were animated shorts of Superman, and live-action serials featuring Captain America and Batman, all made in the 1940’s (not to mention the more well-known Batman show of the ’60s!). The first show featuring a superheroine was, of course, the Wonder Woman series of the mid ’70s. The 1990’s were a big time for animated comic book shows: among the big ones were the Batman and Superman animated series, X-Men, and Spider-Man.

Unfortunately, there were a few flops along the way. Birds of Prey (2002-03) was a series about Huntress, Oracle, and Black Canary that was cancelled after 13 episodes. Among the planned-but-never-produced were a ’90s reboot of Wonder Woman, a show based on Dick Grayson before he became the first Robin, and a Blue Beetle show. However, Smallville (2001-11), the 1960’s Batman show, and the animated Justice League (2001-06), among others, still continue to be popular with viewers. Today, shows such as Agents of Shield, Daredevil, Arrow, Flash, and Supergirl are on the air and are highly successful.

We have collected multiple DVD sets to supplement our graphic novel collection. Check out these DVDs and their graphic novel counterparts today!

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Marvel: 1602

Gaiman, Neil. Marvel: 1602. Marvel, 2003.

This graphic novel was marvelous (get the play on words?)! The story was a perfect way to freshen up the franchise and reboot some of the hero’s storylines. The story takes place in 1602, and is an alternate world in which Europe and colonial America’s history is jumbled and out of order due to a rift in the timeline, with America’s first child of European descent, Virginia Dare surviving and traveling overseas to London with her bodyguard Rojhaz. Court intrigue during Queen Elizabeth I reign abounds, there are several betrayals, with many of the mutants needing to travel far to escape persecution for being “witchbreed”. Eventually America becomes a sanctuary for these people with magical abilities, and an answer and a solution as to why they are in 1602 is made clear.

While I am very familiar with the X-Men line-up, I was less so with characters like Dare Devil (he was my favorite in this book) and the Fantastic Four. I loved trying to figure out who was who in the Marvel universe- most were easy enough to figure out, but I have to admit it took me a long while to figure out who Rojhaz was. There had been a clue early on, that I didn’t understand at the time, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out who he was and how he so prominently fit into the storyline, as he is the key to this warped timeline. Virginia Dare has some unique shape shifter abilities, with a connection to the (barely mentioned) dinosaurs that still live on in the North American continent.

The illustrations are supposed to evoke historical drawings of that era, so some of the drawings use the technique of “scratchboard”, in which a layer of ink is scratched through to reveal the underlying material. This intruders in time storyline, with all the ramifications of how the future could be altered, was superb. Kudos to the whole team that wrote and illustrated this book!

-Nancy

Batgirl of Burnside

Stewart, Cameron. Batgirl, Vol. 1: The Batgirl of Burnside. DC Comics, 2015. Grades 7+.

This comic is a part of the New 52, the big reboot DC started a couple years ago. Barbara Gordon, college student, moves into a new apartment in the hip college district of Burnside during her senior year. When her laptop is stolen and a fire burns down her friend Dinah’s warehouse, where she kept all her Batgirl gear, Barbara seizes on this chance to reinvent Batgirl. The new Batgirl’s adventures take place not only on the streets and rooftops of Burnside, but on social media as hundreds of Barbara’s peers follow and like her every move and picture. But what happens when Batgirl’s adoring fan base turns against her?

In contrast to a lot of the darker superhero stories of today, this one is a breath of fresh air. It recalls the Barbara of the Batman animated series of the ’90s. Here we get a chance to see Barbara during her college years, balancing her schoolwork, social life, and vigilante life, while still being her smart, snarky, and kick-butt self. The art is clean, cute, and dynamic. If you like your graphic novels light-hearted, this is the one for you! Check out our copy today!

Kathleen

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