Free Comic Book Day 2011!

Okay, not an official post this week, just a reminder to take yourself, your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews… heck, anybody you know, really, to your local comic shop this weekend for Free Comic Book Day!

The major shops in the area – New England Comics and Newbury Comics – will feature all the free goodies FCBD always offers (like free comics, of course), but also in store signings, appearances by people in costume, and all-around comic related goodness.

It’s always a lot of fun, and who can say no to free comics?!  Get out there and enjoy the day!


New England Comic-Con

In a slightly non-library related posting, I wanted to make sure everyone was aware of the Wizard World Comic Convention coming to the Hynes Convention Center next weekend, October 15-17!  The last time a WW Con was held at the Hynes was four or five years ago, and I was worried they’d never be back (I had a blast at the last one and swore I’d never miss one again, whereupon they promptly cancelled all future visits!).  So check out the link below and take yourself and/or your kids to a great weekend of comic fun with guest stars, free giveaways by the likes of DC and Marvel, and lots of great deals on comics from some of the biggest comic stores in the region.  Have fun!

A new way to keep up with Graphic Novels!

The library has long offered book lists on just about every topic you can imagine, and I’ve finally gotten around to making one for the Graphic Novel collection.  The service we use is called Bookletters, and you can sign up to receive this monthly email of new titles by going to our website at and clicking on the Bookletters icon.  The icon, by the way, looks amazingly just like this:

It’s on the lower left side of the main page, and once there you can choose from any of 2 dozen lists that will be emailed to you about once a month.

The one I’m touting today is The Graphic Novel Universe, and it will basically feature at least 10 titles we’ve recently added to our collection.  Sometimes it could be a random sampling, sometimes it could be a feature on a specific collection I think you should know about.  Either way, it’s a simple list I hope you’ll enjoy.  And while you’re there, sign up for a few more!  It’s an easy way to keep up with everything new in the book world, and you’ll most certainly encounter some great books you wouldn’t have heard of, otherwise.  Happy reading!

Ultimate Iron Man – truly innovative!

 I’ve extolled the virtues of Marvel Comics “Ultimate” line before, but I walked past the graphic novel section today and took another look at Ultimate Iron Man v. 1.  Where all of the Ultimate titles recreate their characters in a way, I’m not sure any did so as dramatically as Ultimate Iron Man.

iron manIn the traditional universe, Tony Stark didn’t become Iron Man – and didn’t even dream of becoming Iron Man – well into his adult years.  He originally builds his iron suit in an attempt to survive and escape a kidnapping, but the Ultimate concept and science fiction writer Orson Scott Card transform his origin story into the story of his very birth.

This is another one of those moments when I want to tell you everything but can’t bear to ruin the story for you.  So just trust me that Ultimate Iron Man is a work of truly innovative storytelling, even giving a startling twist on Tony Stark’s infamous problems with alcohol.  I think this is a tremendously entertaining story for all readers, but a fascinating tale for those who know a little about the classic  version of Tony Stark.  Read, think, and be merry!

**Lastly, a short note about my request last week for a few comments on whether I should keep the blog going.  This blog was viewed 38 times since that post, but I’ve only received 2 comments.  While both comments were very supportive, I was hoping for a few more responses.  So I’ll keep writing for now, but I’ll be watching my statistics pretty closely.  Either way, read, read, read!

Just wondering…

For those of you who read this blog every week, thanks for sticking with it.  For those of you who may have stumbled upon it for the first time, I hope you take the time to read some of the previous entries as this week’s is only about the blog, itself.

There are currently 789 titles in our Graphic Novel collection, and new titles are coming in every week.  I’ve been reading one graphic novel / collection a day ever since January 1st, so I can personally vouch for how many great books we have in our collection!  But today I’m curious about how you use or don’t use this blog. 

I write two blogs for the library, one for music and one for graphic novels, and I get statistics on how many people view both sites.  The music blog is doing fine, but the graphic novel blog only gets a handful of hits a week.  If no one is reading it, or finding anything worthwhile in it when they do read it, I’m not sure it’s worth the time to keep it going.

SO, I would greatly appreciate it if anyone who enjoys this blog would enter a comment for this entry – however brief – and let me know if you’d like it to continue.  If you’d like it to continue but perhaps have a different focus, let me know that, too.  I love writing about the things I love, so I truly enjoy creating this blog each week, but it’s only worth it if someone other than myself is enjoying it.  So please, take a moment and let me know.  Thank you.

The powerful and the innocent

One of the most popular forms of storytelling in comics is what’s known as the mini-series.  Instead of an ongoing, month after month continuing story, a writer and artist get to tell an entire tale in, typically, four to six issues.  They still have maxi-series, too, like the wonderful 12-parter Trials of Shazam from Judd Winick, or even the big “event” type series like Secret Invasion or Final Crisis that may only run for seven issues, but have so many countless spin-offs and tie-ins that you wind up with a box full of related comics once the seventh “official” installment has come around.  The beauty and simplicity of a well-written mini-series means that the reader is granted a compelling and exciting story with no sense of being rushed or crammed into four issues, and not filled with exclusionary details that only the long-standing fan will understand.  A perfect example of this is the thrilling and emotional tale of Superman/Shazam: First Thunder by Judd Winick with art by Joshua Middleton.

supermanThere’s not much I need to tell you other than that it’s a story about the first time these two heroes meet, and the friendship and understanding they form.  Judd Winick has gone from fledgling cartoonist to MTV’s Real World participant to one of the most highly respected writers in the medium, today.  He has a true knack for nailing the emotional heart of any story, and this is no exception.  There’s no way I can describe this book to you and do it justice, other than to say it exemplifies everything good about comics.  There are heroes and villains; innocents in danger; magic, mystery, and the core of any good story, a sense of friendship and teamwork that transcends the problems at hand to reveal the humanity of our heroes.  No matter how powerful we think we are, there are so many things beyond our control.  When we need help or advice, there has to be someone we can turn to who will understand.  This is the heart of First Thunder, and I can’t recommend it more highly.

Introduction from the Batcave

Okay, I’ve always wanted to talk about graphic novels and comic collections but I’ve never had an outlet.  But with a simple blog, I can talk about and make you aware of some of the amazing titles we have here at Hingham Public Library.

With an intention on having a new post available every Friday, I’ll focus on a different series, author, artist, or whatever seems to be new and exciting.  We currently have over 650 titles in our Graphic Novel department, and I think every one of them is worth reading.  So let’s begin!

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