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A Few of my Favorite Webcomics

By now, I hope you are all familiar with the graphic novel/manga section of your library (and the wonderful subject heading of graphic novels.)  If you’re not, and feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of comics and graphic novels out there, these lists are a good place to start.  But that’s not really what I want to talk about today.  I’d like to talk about the weird and wonderful world of webcomics (WaWWoW) (that’s not a real initialism).

illustration by flickr user opensourceway

When I first stumbled on webcomics RSS feeds were just being invented, so I had to go back to my favorites every day and check to see if they’d been updated.  Since anyone can make and post a webcomic online for not very much money (or free if you don’t use much bandwith and free blogging software), the number of comics was huge and the quality hit or miss. The best way that I found to find new webcomics was to look at the links on the pages of my favorite author/artists.  At a certain point this became recursive, since they all linked to each other.  I still read some of these comics today – they’re still going strong and have gone through who knows how many plotlines and name changes and drawing styles.  That’s one of the great things about webcomics – you can see an artist’s style evolve and become better and better.

Webcomics from the old days of the new millennium!

1. Bad Machinery (formerly Bobbins, then Scary-Go-Round)

The current cast is a group of (British) kids solving mysteries and it’s so good.  John Allison (the writer & artist) is also the reason that I learned about Kate Beaton, history comics funny lady extraordinaire, so he obviously has good taste.

by John Allison

 

2. Questionable Content

This comic is like if Friends were set in hipster post-college Massachusetts and everyone was more awkward.

by Jeph Jacques

 

3. The Adventures of Dr. McNinja

Exactly what it sounds like. You can also get it collected on paper from your library

by Christopher Hastings

 

4. Dinosaur Comics :

Clip-art style dinosaurs being absurd.

by Ryan North

by Ryan North

Of course, nowadays,

it’s easier to find an even vaster variety of comics online.  Comic big-name Warren Ellis serialized his science-fiction story Freakangels, about a group of teenagers whose strange telekinetic powers destroy the UK, for free, online, and published it so it could be bought by people and library systems like our own.

Now there are sites devoted to groups of serialized comics, like Study Group, with indie/underground style artists, Activate Comix, founded by Dean Haspiel, Saturday Morning Webtoons, aimed at younger readers, and ShiftyLook, with more superhero-themed offerings.

yes, it is rad.

Comics veterans like Sam Hurt have uploaded their archives online, while artists of the digital age like Derek Kirk Kim, Hope Larson, Bryan Lee O’MalleyKrystal DiFronzo, Peter Quatch, and Amelia Onorato have a blog or tumblr as a matter of course.

Amelia Onorato

 

Peter Quatch

 

Derek Kirk Kim

 

Comics blogs like the Comics Alliance will link to webcomics of note, like Rigby the Barbarian by Lee Leslie (“Rigby is just another disgruntled archaeology student when she finds a magical sword that provides her with a one way ticket to medieval fantasy camp, and the responsibility of delivering her new neighbors from the clutches of the wizard known only as The Fate-Maker”)

By Lee Leslie

 

Family Man by Dylan Meconin (“Hundreds of miles away, a small University is stranded in the woods along the Bohemian border.  It boasts some impressive assets, including a library fit to stun the neediest scholar.  But amongst the thousands of volumes purporting to provide light and understanding, there are quite a few lingering shadows. Nowhere is it darker than between the University’s benevolent dictator of a Rector and its remarkable and elusive Librarian…except for perhaps in the woods outside, where human nature is forfeit to a much more brutal contract than any philosopher-king could devise.”),

by Dylan Meconin

 

As the Crow Flies by Melanie Gillman (“a story about Charlie — a queer 13 year old girl who finds herself stranded in a dangerous place: an all-white Christian youth backpacking camp.”)

by Melanie Gillman

 

and Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel (“Step back then, to 1887, and board the steamboat Lorelei for mystery, intrigue and romance on the Hudson in the Gilded Age.”) – a serialization ahead of publication in the vein of Doug TenNapel’s Ratfist and Faith Erin Hicks’ Friends With Boys

by Mark Siegel

 

And if that’s not enough, you can find links of award winning webcomics like Boulet’s Darkness –a funny, originally French story about a manga-level broodingly-attractive man that won the 24-hour comics award. (More info about 24 Hour Comics Day is here.)

by Boulet

 

Or in the Outstanding Online Comic category of the Ignatz Awards which will be decided at the Small Press Expo in Maryland.

Jillian Tamaki’s excellent Supermutant Magic Academy was nominated!

I’ll be attending this year to find new and old favorites, because I can’t get enough. Neither can you? Then start clicking on the links and read on!(All the images will go to the webcomics cited).  There are so many that I’m sure I missed a ton – what’s your favorite?

– Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

We need your opinion! Be a graphic novel reviewer.

Every year, the Young Adult Services Association, a national association of Young Adult Librarians/Library Staff/Library Advocates, puts out lists of the best media of the year in a bunch of different subjects.  Don’t like long, slow books? Take a look at the Quick Picks list. Prefer movies? We have Fabulous Films for you. Want to read nonfiction? They have it. Into books published for adults?  They’re onto that too.

There is also a list of the best graphic novels published for teens, and that’s where we need your help.  In January, this list is voted on through a committee.  I’ve volunteered to be on it, so all this year I’ve been reading comics and graphic novels to find what I think are the best ones that teens would like.  The rest of the committee and other graphic novel readers have also been nominating titles for the list.  But we need to know what the teen readers really think. After all, we’re making the list for you.

If you want to let the committee know what you think of the nominated titles, you can do so by

1. finding a nominated title by looking at the list

2. getting it from your library (or asking me if I have a reading copy you can borrow)

3. reading it

4. using this online form to tell me what you thought of it.

Then I can take your opinions with me to help us decide what really are the Great Graphic Novels of this year.

Have a title that’s not nominated yet, but you think it should be?  You can nominate it using this form – but it has to have been published after September 2011.

Happy reading,

-Tessa, CLP – East Liberty

Teen Intern Manga Review: A Certain Scientific Railgun

Today CLP East Liberty‘s own Teen Youth Intern, Savion, will review a recently published volume of manga. It was sent to me for review by the publisher, Seven Seas, and I wanted to see if had any appeal for the teen collection. Here’s what he has to say:

This manga called A Certain Scientific Railgun by Kazuma Kamachi and illustrated by Motoi Fuyukawa is nothing short of awesome. The main character’s name is Mikoto Misaka. She is almost the most powerful mutant in town.

I liked this book because, the topic entertained me, and the idea of a middle school girl having the power of a railgun just seems exquisite–she basically uses electricity to fight but the voltage level is very high*. Everyone does not have powers, only the mutants–other locals are just humans. The kids who do have powers are special.

In school Mikoto and her friends learn how to control their powers and become more powerful. Every mutant has a power level that goes from 0 to 5, 5 is the most powerful level. Mikoto is a level 5 and she has the power of a railgun.

I like this book because it has a lot of action in it, like when the main character Mikoto fights other mutants. I like her use of her powers of the railgun. Another thing I like about this book is the characters’ personalities. They feel like real people but just inside of a book. I like the art style in the book. It is manga of course. This book flows a lot like anime and I happen to really like anime. I like how this book goes more on the teen side then the younger audience.

I don’t have many dislikes of this book. But it could have a better variety of powers to distinguish throughout all of the characters. I don’t like how Mikoto only uses her powers to fight. She could also use them to hack into computers and lots of other cool fun things that have to do with electricity.

I highly recommend this title for the library.

-Savion, CLP – East Liberty

*NOTE – I had to look this up while I was reading the book, so I thought I’d pass on the information: a railgun is a gun that does not use gunpowder. Instead, its power comes from an electrified magnetic field. (Click here for more detailed information.)  That’s why Mikoto’s nickname is “the Railgun”.  Check out this video to see how much destruction a railgun can create:

The library doesn’t have this book (yet?) but if you’re looking for similar action-style manga we do have these options:

Like reading about so-called “mutants”? We have a ton of X-Men comics…


 

 

 




Prefer to stick with manga?

Code:Breaker / Akimine Kamijyo: Teenage assassins with superpowers!

 

 

 

 

Rurouni Kenshin / story and art by Nobuhiro Watsuki:

Kenshin is a wandering former assassin during the Meiji period in Japan. Some of the characters have superhuman skills.

 

 

 

 

 

The Prince of Tennis / story & art by Takeshi Konomi.

What if you could defy physics? Would you use your skills to play tennis?

Six Degrees of Michael Cera

Lately I’m noticing that Michael Cera is connected in a lot of ways to exciting developments in movies that are connected to exciting books (not coincidentally for teens).  And the people that he’s connected to are also exciting.  And the best part is that all of these developments have some kind of creative and funny internet offshoots.  Which is to say: more than a totally fake  twitter account or Facebook Group for fans or an  imdb page

photo by Flickr user wvs

photo by Flickr user wvs

Let us count the ways.  It’s more like brainstorming than the Six Degrees game, but that wouldn’t have made a catchy blog title, now would it?:

1. Michael Cera starred in Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist   nickandnorah

2. Which is a great book by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, two authors of excellent, excellent YA books (just click their names to see what the library system has).   They are also bloggers on their own websites, makers of playlists for their books, etc..

3. Michael Cera co-starred in this movie with Kat Dennings, who you may also know from the movies The House Bunny and Charlie Bartlett.  She also has a really funny blog that includes original illustrations.  Here is an excerpt:

“When it rains, it pours, spider-wise. And I’m so glad because I was worried that I might start enjoying my life, you know? Anyway, tonight during a Netflix Instant screening of an embarrassingly 90s teen romcom I stumbled blindly into my bathroom mirror to inspect my facial situation when what should appear in my shower but a GIGANTIC ARACHNID. And it was just far enough away in the corner that it was going to have to be one of those get-on-all-fours terminations that I always find especially hideous. Therefore, I calmly and gracefully weighed my murdering options.”

4.  Michael Cera is also starring in a movie adaptation of the Scott Pilgrim comics.  The website for the movie adaptation has funny video blogs of the production.

scottpilgrim

5. Scott Pilgrim is a really funny comic about a boy who graduated high school but never got around to growing up, but suddenly meets this girl he really likes and has to fight her evil ex-boyfriends and also maybe come to terms with the fact that his band isn’t that good.  It also has a website, and its author/illustrator-Bryan Lee O’Malley–has other comics available for reading on his webpage and a great flickr page, especially informative for aspiring comics writers.

 

salamanderdream6.  Bryan Lee O’Malley’s wife, Hope Larson, also writes and draws wonderful comics.  You can read some of them here on her website.

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