Some picks from our latest Popular culture newsletter:

cover of The world is ever changingcover for Coconut curescover for moments that made the moviescover for Become a fly fishercover for John Varvatoscover for Co-Mixcover for Fossecover for Beatles vs Stones

Subscribe to our newsletters and get our latest titles and best picks straight from your inbox.

I love comics, and am always on the troll for good ones. Yesterday I asked Twitter “Comics peeps – do you have any recommendations of comic/graphic novel memoirs or biogs? Or something sciencey?” and got some great ideas for comics reading – most of which are at the library (phew):

Thanks to @feddabonn @patrickoduffy @megingle and @rekuhs. You rock.

Check out more of our comics posts and do you have any 0ther ace comics you’d like to share?

Dust off your Daleks and polish up your Pokemon – Armageddon is early this year (9 and 10 March 2013). Our household is full of very earnest discussions about what shade of grey is acceptable for which character, and whether international shipping can be relied upon to deliver the necessary in time for the big weekend. The girl-child is attempting two different cosplay costumes, one from the insanely popular Homestuck online comic series, and the other from something that I am not even beginning to understand. There’s body-paint involved, and horns made out of papier-mache, and that’s all I care to know, frankly.

If you or your dear ones want to join the madness this year, fear not – the library has a range of resources to help sort out those pesky costume issues, study up on pop culture and comics, or just embrace your inner fanboy/girl.
Armageddon Expo 2010Armageddon Expo 2012

And if all else fails, and inspiration is still lacking, travel back in time and read our reports from previous years’ Armageddon visits.

It’s no secret that comic memoirs are one of my favest thing: See Draw your life – graphic novel memoirs and this one on Tangles. Fabby Flavorwire has just made my morning by coming up with a tasty list for us graphic novel memoir lovers: 8 Worthy Successors to Alison Bechdel. I’ve read Unterzakhn and  Tangles already, and have Dotter of her father’s eyes at home on my to-read pile.

I’m happy to report we have them right here at Christchurch City Libraries for your delectation:

 Cover Cover  CoverCover

I seem to be on a visual kick at the moment – I have managed to gather a huge pile of graphic novels recently, and am finding some real gems. I don’t know whether it’s an attempt by my poor pre-Christmas brain to cope with the insanity of all the lists in my head, or the fact that there’s so much tinsel everywhere I’ve just given in and succumbed to the visual madness.

Luckily for me, other people seem to be thinking the same way – many of the books I’m reading have been returns from other customers, and I’ve just scooped them straight off the Recent Returns shelf.  Others have been ordered by our clever buying team, and appear on my holds shelf. A few are old favourites, some are titles I just didn’t manage to read when they were first published, and some are brand new.  Here’s a few of the titles I’m loving right now.

  • Joe Hill’s Locke & Key series – consistently great story-telling, lovely artwork, and a steady supply of titles make this one of my consistent favourite graphic novel series
  • Staying within the family, dad Stephen King’s current graphic adaptation of The Stand. I think I’ve had a wee moan before that some of the other adaptations of King’s work have not been so great, but this series is outstanding.
  • Kick Ass 2 – this is one I never got around to reading when it was first published.  Book 1 is fab, as is the movie (although as with most of the titles in this post, needs to be read/watched away from young and delicate minds).  Here’s hoping with book 2.
  • Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always. I’ve always loved Clive Barker, although sometimes he scares me – I’m hoping that this graphic novel will do the same! Also the cover reminded me of one of my favourite movies – Monster House – so that’s got to be a good thing …
  • The Underwater Welder arrived on my holds shelf as highly recommended by someone or something I can’t remember. The title confused me every time I looked at my reserve list – visions of some unholy mixture of Jacques Cousteau and that ’80s music video from Flashdance, but reviews are glowing and the artwork looks promising.
  • Memorial is another one that I must have seen and requested at some point. Again, I don’t know much about it, but it looks pretty, and sounds weird – just my cup of tea.
  • And finally, Tune.  I’m reading this already, and adoring it!  I may even try to squeeze it on to my Best Of list. It’s rude, and clever, and laugh-out-loud funny.  The art is perfect, it’s full of nerdy pop-culture references, and basically what I’m saying here is: find it, read it, and love it!

I found this graphic novel yesterday at Shirley Library quite by accident. It’s called Aotearoa Whispers, The Awakening. I think it’s awesome, so decided to blog it as maybe other people might enjoy it too. The story is set in Christchurch. Be warned there were a couple of illustrations of the Cathedral, the Chalice and the chess set from the square – this gave me a bit of an unexpected whiplash of nostalgia ( a reaction I wasn’t expecting from a graphic novel) and the author Gonzalo Navarro wrote his foreword in the city in February 2011, in the aftermath of the earthquakes.

The Awakening tells the story of of Kahi Moana, a young teenager who has a potentially life-changing exchange with his grandmother after tripping over his own shoelace.

The conversation that ensues with his kuia introduces the reader to Te Rauparaha, touches on aspects of local history (it mentions the naming and history of Cathedral Square), the battles at Kaiapoi Pa, Ōnawe and Akaroa before moving on to share a retelling of the traditional kōrero of Māui and Mahuika from the perspective of the author. Ultimately the conversation with his Nan impacts on his perspective of how he sees the world and views his own identity.

I loved the style of the art work and the fact that I could read the story in Te Reo  (the translation has been provided by Charisma Rangipunga) or English.  The fact that the story was set locally and that the storyline included events and happenings that occurred in our area. It  made me feel like I had an instant connection with the story and the characters.  I also liked the fact that it was sharing story in a graphic novel type format, I haven’t come across many New Zealand stories told in this way.

If you try this one and like it, you might also like to have a look at Ngārimu Te Tohu Toa (Te Reo) which tells the story of Te Moana nui a Kiwa Ngarimu VC or Victory at Point 209 if you want to read the English version.  Both of these were written by Andrew Burdan who has also written Hautipua rererangi (Te Reo) or Born to Fly (English version) which tells the story of NZRAF Flying Officer Porokoru Patapu (John) Pohe of Ngati Rangi,who served 22 missions in his first tour of duty during the Second World War.  I have added both of  these to my for later shelf.

As an aside, If you do read Aotearoa Whispers and it whets your appetite in terms of learning a little more about local history then you might like to check out our website Tī Kōuka Whenua. This resource is a great source of local history and Ngāi Tahu information- and if you’re interested you can read more about the battles mentioned in Aotearoa Whispers, the history of Kaiapoi and the battle at Ōnawe Pa as well.

I have a great view of the stage for this session – for one thing, the audience here is a lot shorter than previous ones; and I’ve also chosen to sit up the front – I am here to see Oliver Jeffers, critically acclaimed award winning author and illustrator of multiple bestselling picture books, and he’s going to be DRAWING. On stage.  Right in front of us.

New Zealand’s own award-winning graphic novel artist and author Dylan Horrocks introduces him. Oliver has chosen to tell us his bio using slides, and once again I have to make Choices – do I Write or do I Watch? Clearly I watch (and you can too, here, although we get to see some extra special bits here at the Festival that he’s added just for us). He talks his way through the slides, and as well as photos of him as a child, and some of his work, we also get to see lots of pictures of things people have sent him, from crocheted penguins, to crazy glasses, and frighteningly, an oversized, realistic model of a human heart. On a pedestal. The room is already full of Warm, and Happy, and by the end of what is, after all, just an introduction, we are all in love.  Everyone, including all the grownups, is wearing an identical goofy grin.

We are still wearing the grins an hour later as we leave. Thanks to an outstanding tagteam live drawing collaboration with Dylan, we now know

  • how to draw a penguin
  • what a Huey does when he wants to stand out from the crowd
  • why you should be wary of sofas
  • what the trailer for his new film looks like
  • where his ideas actually come from
  • whether he can, in fact, draw feet
  • why you should always eat a cheese sandwich just before bedtime (special thanks to Dylan for this tip)
  • whether he can not just make but also AIM a paper plane
  • how to defeat a 20 foot tall giant banana with laser beams for eyes
  • why eyebrows are the only thing you will need in life
  • and finally, how to make an entire audience feel like we’ve been hugged by a giant penguin in a beanie.

A plug for the fabulous world of graphic novels. If you haven’t discovered  Publishers Weekly, then bookmark it or add it to your RSS feeds to catch the latest news, reviews and gossip from the publishing world. Here’s some highlights from this week’s web edition.

And to further whet your appetite, here are some of the new graphic novel titles come to the Christchurch City Libraries collection over the winter months. Hold onto your hats!

Don’t forget about the graphic novel adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (what do you call an adaptation of an adaptation? … a new book perhaps?).

We’ll be adding the first three titles from the Northlanders series from Brian Wood, in anticipation of volume four being released later this year.

So get ready for some graphic novel treats this winter.

Just wanted to plug one of my favourite comics – Calvin and Hobbes.

I’ve always enjoyed the world from both Calvin and Hobbes’ viewpoints. It makes me realise that as a six year old, Calvin certainly has a unique, but entirely cool, perspective on the world.

There’s plenty of copies of the various collections throughout the library network, so go on, borrow one and get your daily dose of laughter. You can also get Calvin & Hobbes cartoons for your Facebook page.

Most importantly you could even try your own version of Calvinball – the only over-arching rule is that you can’t play with the same rules. Essentially you just make it up as you go, which could be a great mantra on how to be happy at work, play, love and life in general.

Just like in Immortal Iron Fist #8 when the 7 celestial cities align after 88 years apart so that their Immortal Weapons can do combat in the ultimate tournament to decide who has the best kung fu, here on Earth once every 365 days comic publishers throughout North America combine their powers in order that we mortals may have Free Comic Book Day!!

On the first Saturday of May each year most of the major North American comic book publishers each produce a comic book to give away free, yes free! So make sure you visit your friendly neighbourhood comic book shop tomorrow May 2nd and they will give you, get this (!), free comics!

With the majority of titles aimed at an all-ages readership there’s some great reads for everybody. Check out the new Owly comic (and the very surreal Korgi story inside) for one of my personal favorites. Flav-of-the-month Wolverine appears in Marvel Comics Avengers give-away (drawn by the always awesome Jim Chueng), snkkt! Not to mention Savage Dragon, The Simpsons, Aliens/Predator, Usagi Yojimbo

For those other 364 days, there’s always a heap of great comics free at your local library. Some of the highlights of recent additions to our catalogue include: Sandman (Absolute editions), Invincible vol.4, Tales of the Batman, Fables vol.11, Welcome to Hoxford, Scott Pilgrim vol.5, Joker, Owly vol.5, All Star Superman vol.2… (yes, i could just keep going)

May your kung fu always be good kung fu.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 690 other followers