Graphic novels, comic books a powerful genre for all ages
Director of Library Resources and guest writer
Are you old enough to remember waking up early on Saturday mornings to catch animated “Super Friends,” starring Batman, Robin, Aquaman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Wonder Twins? The franchise, based on the Justice League of America by DC Comics, ran from 1973 to 1985. I read many of the comic books and watched all 109 episodes, and that was before binge-watching was invented.
Every one of my childhood friends aspired to be a superhero. Comic books then were the apps of today, addictive and difficult to put down. Forty years later, I am nostalgic for these superheroes, not because of their superpowers, but because of their resolve to fight for justice and for their powerful reasoning skills.
Last year, when the topic of highlighting comic books and graphic novels at Grand County Library District was brought up, we jumped at the opportunity to carve out separate areas for these fun, diverse, often thoughtful, and attention-grabbing reads. We also worked with Mister V, Grand County’s own comic book creator, to celebrate Free Comic Book Day, usually the first Saturday of May. The attendance was packed.
Since I purchase books for our libraries, and my main goal is to get people reading, I like to talk to patrons of all ages to find out what genres and titles pique their interest. Having grown up with DC Comics, I have taken to asking why younger generations may prefer Marvel comics or an altogether different sub-genre of graphic novels.
Madison Archer, a voracious teen reader, had this to say: “When I hear the phrase ‘graphic novel’ I don’t think of things like ‘The Avengers’ or ‘Batman’; I think of ‘Attack on Titan’ and ‘A Silent Voice,’ which are Japanese graphic novels, also known as manga.
“During the chaos of the world, and as someone who has anxiety, I often need an escape, and manga allows me to dive into other worlds to help me forget about how crazy ours is. When chores around the house are done and my boyfriend isn’t around to play games with me, I read manga to kill the time. Any length. Any genre.
“Manga in and of itself is stereotyped as a bad thing due to some of the more mature genres, but it’s not all like that. The more you look into it, you’ll find something that interests you, be it the art style or concept — there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
“One of my personal favorites is ‘Parasyte’ by Hitoshi Iwaaki. It’s an interesting concept where parasites look for hosts, infesting and taking over bodies to wreak havoc on the world.”
I’ll take Madison’s word on the genius of manga.
To view graphic novel and comic book titles available to GCLD patrons, visit http://www.gcld.org, click on “Catalog,” and use the “Genre” filter. Unfortunately, Free Comic Book Day is postponed this year, but GCLD has some superpowers to share. You can now check out books and movies from our Granby Library drive-thru window. Learn more at http://www.gcld.org.
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