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Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Enter the SPY-brary! Win Spot Prizes!

Wellington City Libaries are looking for detectives to join our SPY-brary Reading Adventure!

Picture this. . .
A dark office with a desk in one corner. A haze of smoke fills the air as the figure slumped in the lone office chair swings it around to face the door as it creaks open and some broad walks in-


Two figures on a park bench. Dressed in nondescript suits, each focuses their attention on the newspaper in front of them. One paper rustles, almost as if the hand holding it had let go to subtly slip something to the other figure-


Paintings line the corridor, each hanging on the wall in its own patch of light. One patch of shadow in a corner of the hallway seems deeper than the others. A gentle thud, and one of the lights blinks out. When it flickers on again, barely a second later, one of the paintings is gone…


Do you dare enter Wellington City SPYbraries?

Over the April holidays we have an online challenge just for you! Just like the Summer Reading Adventure, Wellington City SPYbraries is run through Beanstack, and you don’t even have to set foot in a library in order to take part! Wellington City SPYbraries is open now for you to pre-register – just head over to our WCL Beanstack site and sign in (or create your account with the link provided at the blogs end).

We are exclusively looking for Spies, detectives, and any puzzle solvers between the ages of 12-19 years to take on this holiday adventure!

You can take part in this challenge in three different ways, depending on how far you’re willing to delve into the gritty underworld of spies and deception:

  • Log your reading — tell us how many books you’ve read and you’ll earn virtual badges!
  • Write, draw or film book reviews — get creative and tell us what you thought about the books you’ve read, and you’ll go in the draw to win fabulous spot prizes as you do.
  • Complete assignments – Pick and choose which assignments to complete, develop your spy skills, and work towards earning the title of Spy Supreme.

No PI works for free, so we’ve put together some rewards for you as you work through the challenge. Earn a reward just for registering, win Spot Prizes for particularly impressive reviews or assignment submissions, and there’ll be a reward for our most diligent spy-students who manage to complete the whole challenge! There’s a world of intrigue waiting for you! Don’t miss this thrilling opportunity to become a young detective and crack the case. Are you ready to accept the challenge? 

Sign Up Now through this link: To join the SPY-brary Reading Adventure, click me!
Happy reading, detectives!


The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… The Fantastic Four

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character or series. This post is all about Marvel’s First Family, The Fantastic Four!

Who are the Fantastic Four?

During a space expedition, four astronauts – scientist Reed Richards, pilot Ben Grimm, student Sue Storm and her kid brother Johnny – were bombarded by cosmic rays. After returning to Earth, the team discovered they had gained superpowers: Reed could stretch his body to incredible lengths, Ben became a super-strong rocky being, Sue was now able to turn invisible and create force fields, and Johnny could ignite his body into flame and fly.  

Dubbing themselves Mr. Fantastic, The Thing, the Invisible Woman, and the Human Torch (respectively), the quartet now explore the cosmos and fight incredible villains together as the Fantastic Four. 

Fantastic Four : Origins

We have the first ten issues of the original Fantastic Four series on our eLibrary, which covers their origin and their first meetings with villains such as the Skrulls and Doctor Doom. The team’s origin and early history has also been retold in the Grand Design graphic novel, the Marvels miniseries, and the History of the Marvel Universe.

Marvel Masterworks: The Fantastic Four Volume 1 (only on Libby)

Fantastic Four : grand design / Scioli, Tom

Marvels / Busiek, Kurt

History of the Marvel Universe / Waid, Mark

Waid and Wieringo run

The definitive Fantastic Four run of the 2000s was by writer Mark Waid and artist Mike Wieringo. This run is regarded as the ideal Fantastic Four series, as it balances family sitcom shenanigans with super-science adventures. Stories collected here include one of Doctor Doom’s greatest revenge plots, Human Torch becoming the herald to Galactus the Devourer of Worlds, and the team travelling to Heaven itself to resurrect The Thing.

Fantastic Four by Waid & Wieringo

Waid would later return to the Four to write the Antithesis miniseries.

Fantastic 4 : antithesis / Waid, Mark

Johnathan Hickman run

Johnathan Hickman is one of Marvel’s most prolific writers, whose runs on Avengers and X-Men have updated and reinvigorated the teams for the 2010s and beyond, but he got his start writing Fantastic Four. Here, Reed meets the multiversal Council of Reeds and is compelled to ‘solve everything’ in his world, establishing the Four’s spinoff super-science team, the Future Foundation, to aid them.

Fantastic Four [1] / Hickman, Jonathan (also on Libby)

Fantastic Four [2] / Hickman, Jonathan (also on Libby)

Fantastic Four. Vol. 3, Unified field theory / Hickman, Jonathan

Fantastic Four. Vol. 4, Three / Hickman, Jonathan

Future Foundation. Vol two, The Supremor seed / Hickman, Jonathan

Future Foundation. Vol. three, All hope lies in doom / Hickman, Jonathan

Fantastic Four. Vol. 6, Foundation / Hickman, Jonathan

The Future Foundation would return in a new series, starring members of another Marvel family superhero quartet, the Power Pack.

Future Foundation / Whitley, Jeremy

Read More

Submissions are Live for Tūhono 2024!

The 1st of April has finally arrived, and so we have officially opened submissions for Tūhono 2024, our annual poetry journal for children and teens! This year’s theme is “Tūmanako | Hope”check out our last blog post for the full details. We are so excited to read your entries this year — just make sure you get them in before the 12th of May! Use the button below to submit your entry.

Submit your poem for Tūhono 2024!

Here’s a wee reminder of the guidelines this year:

  • We want you to write a poem on the theme of “Tūmanako | Hope.” The kupu Māori ‘tūmanako has a wide range of meanings, including the act of hoping or wishing for something to happen, as well as hope as an object — something that you greatly desire, yearn for, or wish to be so. When you are writing your poem, you might like to think about some of the following questions, but as always with Tūhono, there is no one way we expect you to respond to this theme:
    • Act of hoping — how does hope make you feel? What does hope help you to achieve? What does hope mean to you? When you are hoping for something to happen, what thoughts and feelings come into your mind? How does the act of hoping make your body feel?
    • Hope as an object — Do you hope for something tangible, like a new thing to own? What does that thing look like, smell like, taste like, sound like, or feel like? Do you hope for something intangible, like world peace? What does that look like, smell like, taste like, sound like, or feel like? When you have gained (or not) the thing that you have hoped for, what do you think that will feel like?
  • Length: Your poem should not be longer than one A4 page typed, with size 12 font and 1.5 line spacing. Only one poem per person will be accepted.
  • Language: Your poem may be written in English or te reo Māori.
  • Format: Your poem should be submitted as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file.

Fiction to read for Transgender Day of Visibility

Today, the 31st of March, is Transgender Day of Visibility.

This is a day of pride and celebration, of representation and reminding people that trans people exist, are here, are visible, and for us as a library to say YOU HAVE OUR SUPPORT.


When I asked my esteemed colleague, Chief Editor of this here Teen Blog and the One Who Watches Over All Of Our YA Programming if he had any message to pass on to our trans communities for Transgender Day of Visibility, he had this to say:

We love celebrating with our vibrant communities or something like that but not exactly that because that sounds awful and boring.

It came from the heart.

So vibrant community, brave young people, you lot who know who you are, those of you who are proudly visible, and those of you who are not quite ready to be visible, have a wonderful Transgender Day of Visibility. Be staunch in your identity, and know that your library thinks you’re cool

And, because we’re a library, I’m ending this post with a list of books with very visible trans characters. Well, not exactly visible because they’re characters in books so you can’t actually see them, just the words that describe them. But I guess there are pictures of some of them on the book covers? And you can see those.

Too much rambling!

Have some books. These ones all have trans characters. There are trans superheroes, Pride and Prejudice but trans, fake dating, cheerleaders, Victorian ghosts, and kung-fu. Or you can have a look through our recently updated LGBTQIA+ booklist if you wanna read about other queer people.

Felix ever after / Callender, Kacen
“Felix Love has never been in love, painful irony that it is. He desperately wants to know why it seems so easy for everyone but him to find someone. He is proud of his identity, but fears that he’s one marginalization too many– Black, queer, and transgender. When an anonymous student begins sending him transphobic messages Felix comes up with a plan for revenge. He didn’t count on his catfish scenario landing him in a quasi-love triangle.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Dreadnought / Daniels, April
“Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Before he expired, Dreadnought passed his mantel to her, and those secondhand superpowers transformed Danny’s body into what she’s always thought it should be. Now there’s no hiding that she’s a girl. Between her father’s dangerous obsession with “curing” her girlhood, her best friend suddenly acting like he’s entitled to date her, and her fellow superheroes arguing over her place in the ranks, Danny feels like she’s in over her head. And there’s Dreadnought’s murderer threatening destruction. If Danny can’t sort through the confusion of coming out, master her powers, and stop Utopia in time, humanity faces extinction.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cheer up! : love and pompoms / Frasier, Crystal
“Annie is a smart, antisocial lesbian who’s under pressure to join the cheerleader squad to make friends and round out her college applications. Her former friend BeBe is a people-pleaser, a trans girl who must keep her parents happy with her grades and social life in order to maintain their support of her transition. Through the rigors of squad training and amped up social pressures (not to mention micro-aggressions and other queer youth problems), the two girls rekindle a friendship they thought they’d lost and discover there may be other, sweeter feelings springing up between them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wish upon a satellite / Labelle, Sophie
“When non-binary teen Ciel and their best friend Stephie share an unexpected kiss, the world truly shakes on its axis. In this new book for teens, Sophie Labelle’s beloved characters first introduced in Ciel and Ciel in All Directions are leaving childhood behind and grappling with new questions of identity, loyalty, and how to negotiate dating and relationships in the age of social media.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Ryan and Avery / Levithan, David
“When Ryan and Avery met at a queer prom, they felt an instant connection. This is the story of their first 10 dates: the tender hopes, the skittish fears, the difficulty of introducing someone into your pre-existing life. There is always the possibility of heartbreak– and the chance that maybe, just maybe, you’ve found the right person to love.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lakelore / McLemore, Anna-Marie
“When two non-binary teens are pulled into a magical world under a lake, can they keep their worlds above water intact? Everyone who lives near the lake knows the stories about the world underneath it, an ethereal landscape rumored to be half-air, half-water, but Bastián and Lore are the only ones who’ve been there. When the lines between air and water begin to blur and the world under the lake drifts above the surface Bastián and Lore have to stop it, and to do that, they have to work together. There’s just one problem: Bastián and Lore haven’t spoken in seven years, and working together means trusting each other with the very things they’re trying to hide.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Most ardently : a Pride & prejudice remix / Novoa, Gabe Cole
“Oliver Bennet feels trapped. Not just by the endless corsets, petticoats and skirts he’s forced to wear on a daily basis, but also by society’s expectations. The world—and the vast majority of his family and friends—think Oliver is a girl named Elizabeth. When Oliver becomes acquainted with Darcy, a sulky young man who had been rude to “Elizabeth” at a recent social function, he comes to find that Darcy is actually a sweet, intelligent boy with a warm heart. As Oliver is able to spend more time as his true self, often with Darcy, part of him dares begin to hope that his dream of love and life as a man could be possible.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fierce femmes and notorious liars : a dangerous trans girl’s confabulous memoir / Thom, Kai Cheng
“This is the story of a young Asian trans girl, pathological liar, and kung-fu expert who runs away from her parents’ abusive home in a rainy city called Gloom. Striking off on her own, she finds her true family in a group of larger-than-life trans femmes who make their home in a mysterious pleasure district known only as the Street of Miracles. When one of their number is brutally murdered, our protagonist joins her sisters in fighting back against the transphobes, violent johns, and cops that stalk the Street of Miracles. But when things go terribly wrong, she must find the truth within herself in order to stop the violence and discover what it really means to grow up and find your family.” (Catalogue)

Always the almost : a novel / Underhill, Edward
“Sixteen-year-old trans boy Miles Jacobson’s New Year resolutions include winning back his ex-boyfriend and winning the Midwest’s biggest classical piano competition, but when a new, proudly queer boy moves to town, Miles reconsiders who he was and who he is now.” (Catalogue)

The spirit bares its teeth / White, Andrew Joseph
“Set in an alternate Victorian England where mediums control the dead, sixteen-year-old autistic transgender boy Silas is diagnosed with Veil sickness — a mysterious disease sending violet-eyed women into madness — and shipped away to Braxton’s Finishing School and Sanitorium. The facility is cold, the instructors merciless, and the students either bloom into eligible wives or disappear. When the ghosts of missing students start begging Silas to help, he decides to reach into Braxton’s innards and expose its guts to the world — if the school doesn’t break him first.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Love and Paranormal Entities: New Teen Books in the Collection

We’ve got lots of fresh, new stories amongst our new books in the collection this month.  From ghost stories and social media, to rebound relationships and dealing with racism, there are a lot of new themes to explore.  Take a look at this selection from our new books below…


Ghost roast / Gibbs, Shawnelle
“Fifteen-year-old Chelsea, daughter of a paranormal specialist, risks her hard-won popularity and more when she is drawn into a paranormal romance after discovering her own ability to communicate with ghosts.” (Catalogue)

In utero / Gooch, Chris
“Twelve years after a disastrous explosion, young Hailey is dropped off by her mum at a holiday camp in a dilapidated shopping mall. Alienated from the other kids, she connects with an eerie older teen named Jen… but soon dark horrors awaken, and the two new friends are caught up in a cataclysmic battle between two terrifying creatures who have been lying dormant all this time.” (Catalogue)

Voyage de gourmet / Tobin, Paul
“Layne Green is a social media sensation of a cook. He’s selected to compete on a reality TV show called Voyage de Gourmet – a globe-trotting foodie adventure. However, his partner is his former best friend, Jiang-Mi Pipper, someone that he really wronged with some of his posts. Can the two find forgiveness, flavor, and themselves on this journey?” (Catalogue)

A condition called love. 1 / Morino, Megumi
“Hotaru is a 16-year-old high school first year who has always been ambivalent about love, preferring instead to have a lively life with her family and friends. So when she sees her schoolmate, Hananoi-kun, sitting in the snow after a messy, public breakup, she thinks nothing of offering to share her umbrella. But when he asks her out in the middle of her classroom the next day, she can’t help but feel that her life is about to change in a big way…” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Artifacts of an ex / Chen, Jennifer
“When Chloe Chang gets dumped via USPS after moving across the county from NYC to LA, she doesn’t throw her box of memories in the garbage. Instead, she starts buying other teenagers’ break-up boxes to create an art exhibit, Heartifacts. On opening night she spots Daniel Kwak illicitly filming his best friend’s reaction to his ex’s box. They spark, but Daniel is dead set on not being another rebound. Five times he’s been the guy who makes the girls he’s dating realize they want to get back with their ex, and he believes Chloe isn’t ready for a new relationship.” (Catalogue)

Twelve bones / Talbot, Rosie
“The thing about death is … it sneaks up on you. Seventeen-year-old seer Charlie and his new boyfriend, Sam, know that the dead can’t hurt the living. It’s ghosts who need protection from dangerous soul catchers – and the boys have promised to keep them safe. But when a powerful force interferes with their defences, and a brutal attack leaves them questioning everything they know, the boys realize there is more at stake than they ever imagined.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Shut up, this is serious / Ixta, Carolina
“Belen Dolores Itzel del Toro wants the normal stuff: to experience love or maybe have a boyfriend or at least just lose her virginity. But nothing is normal in East Oakland. Her father left her family. She’s at risk of not graduating. And Leti, her super-Catholic, nerdy-ass best friend, is pregnant–by the boyfriend she hasn’t told her parents about because he’s Black and her parents are racist.” (Catalogue)

Caught in a bad fauxmance / Rose, Elle Gonzalez
“From debut author Elle Gonzalez Rose comes a fresh, fun contemporary rom-com about an aspiring artist who agrees to fake date one of his family’s longtime enemies, in the hopes of gathering intel strong enough to take down their rivals and keep the family cabin they gambled in a risky bet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


The art of being a brilliant teenager / Cope, Andrew
The Art of Being A Brilliant Teenager teaches you how to become your very best self–and how to figure out who that is, exactly. Stay cool under all the pressures you’re facing, and plot a map for the future that takes you wherever it is you want to go. Become proactive, determined, successful and most importantly: happy! The bottom line is this: it’s easy to be the average version of yourself, but is that really all you want?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For more new items in the collection, go to: What’s new / March 2024 (wcl.govt.nz)

A Pestilence of Plagued Books in Celebration of the Fourth Anniversary of Lockdown! Merry Plaguemas!


Four years ago on this very day, March 26th, in the accursed year of 2020, New Zealand began its lockdown. A tiny little virus, one with the name of a reasonably popular beer, had managed to spread all over the world. Thanks to the swift and decisive action of our government, and our extended unplanned staycations, Aotearoa was one of the first countries able to return to some sense of normalcy.


While to many of us the ‘rona seems a thing of the past, it’s worth remembering that the virus is still around. With our vaccines and proper procedure, it can feel like we’re invincible and everything is over, but COVID still lurks in the shadows and continues to be a danger to our more vulnerable community members. If you’re feeling those cold-like symptoms, it’s still good practice to do a test, just in case. After four years of dodging it, your beloved blogger managed to catch it, while I was planning this very blog. Being ever the model citizen, I too stayed home to make sure I didn’t spread it further. I now write this wearing a mask, lest I spread my post-plague-germs to any others.

So keep an eye on things, make sure you’re updated on your vaccines, and avoid other humans if you’re unwell. If you don’t know what to do, check official government websites, ready to tell you the important health and science facts.

New Zealand’s health is up to YOU!




We managed to get through our plague thanks to our collective willingness to take the important steps to spare the many. Covid 19 is a nasty bugger of an illness and what our lockdown showed, what the following mask mandates, vaccinations, and social distancing showed, was that we as a country care not just for ourselves, but for others. I think that’s really special.

It’s for this reason I think we should celebrate this day, as proof of NZ’s love for one another.

Something something Community something something we are one something something peace and love.


But this is perhaps getting a bit sappy, so let’s talk of how we should celebrate this wonderous (?) day.

I’m a librarian, so my biases are obvious. What better way to flex our superior dealing-with-plague skills than to read about other people’s (real or fictional) experiences? Who knows, it might give us some weird mixed feeling nostalgia of familiar things. If you’re a fan of these types of books, you may have noticed how they hit different now you’ve been plagued.

So why not mask up, lock the outside world out, and experience another plague-related removal from reality, this time voluntarily!

Give the dark my love / Revis, Beth
“Nedra Brysstain left the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy with only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy.  Greggori “Grey” Astor is taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra. She is deeply invested in her studies because a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities and Nedra is determined to find a cure. When she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Station eleven / Mandel, Emily St. John

“One snowy night a famous Hollywood actor slumps over and dies onstage during a production of King Lear. Hours later, the world as we know it begins to dissolve. Moving back and forth in time-from the actor’s early days as a film star to fifteen years in the future, when a theater troupe known as the Traveling Symphony roams the wasteland of what remains-this suspenseful, elegiac, spellbinding novel charts the strange twists of fate that connect five people: the actor, the man who tried to save him, the actor’s first wife, his oldest friend, and a young actress with the Traveling Symphony, caught in the crosshairs of a dangerous self-proclaimed prophet.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Zhara / Jae-Jones, S

“In the Morning Realms magicians are called abomination, and blamed for the plague of monsters that razed the land twenty years before. Jin Zhara already had enough to worry about–appease her stepmother’s cruel whims, looking after her blind younger sister, and keeping her own magical gifts under control-without having to deal with rumors of monsters re-emerging in the marsh. But when a chance encounter brings her into contact with a secret magical liberation organization called the Guardians of Dawn, Zhara realizes there may be more to these rumors than she thought. A mysterious plague is transforming the magicians of Zanhei into monsters, and the Guardians of Dawn believe a demon is responsible. In order to restore harmony and bring peace to the world, Zhara must discover the elemental warrior within, lest the balance between order and chaos is lost forever.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Plague land / Scarrow, Alex
“An unidentified virus wipes out most of the Earth’s population, liquefying their bodies. The virus moves as if it has an agenda– it adapts as it moves quickly across the planet. Leon, his mother, and younger sister Grace, who just moved to London from New York, must run for their lives.” (Catalogue)

This mortal coil / Suvada, Emily

“In a world where people are implanted with technology to recode their DNA, gene-hacking genius Cat must decrypt her late father’s message concealing a vaccine to a horrifying plague” (Catalogue)

Plague of the undead / Cross, Gary

The boy knew his father was going to kill him. Just like he’d killed everyone else tonight. The boy’s mother, his two older sisters and baby brother, the servants. All of them dead.

When Lucius is ten years old his father returns home one evening as a vampire and destroys his entire family. By luck Lucius is spared. Fifteen years later Lucius has joined the elite group of vampire hunters that saved his life that night. Now it’s his turn to lead the hunt.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The merciful Crow / Owen, Margaret
“Fie’s Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin; when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime. But Crown Prince Jasimir faked his death, and Fie’s ready to cut his throat. He offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns. Hawk warrior Tavin, Jas’s bodyguard, magically assumed the prince’s appearance and shadowed his every step, but is beginning to want something to call his own. The trio must form an uneasy alliance to escape Queen Rhusana. — adapted from jacket” (Catalogue)

At the end of everything / Nijkamp, Marieke
“The Hope Juvenile Treatment Center is ironically named: no one has hope for these delinquent teenagers. When the guards don’t show up one day, the teens are shocked to learn a catastrophic pandemic has occurred outside their walls. Their new-found freedom is now a fight for survival– and there is no one watching out for them. As supplies dwindle, the group has to decide whom among them they can trust– and if they even want to survive in a world that has never wanted them.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Bleeding Earth / Ward, Kaitlin

“Between Mother Nature and human nature, disasters are inevitable. Lea was in a cemetery when the earth started bleeding. Within twenty-four hours, the blood made international news as all over the world, blood oozed out of the ground, through the concrete, in the water. Lea wishes she could ignore the blood. She wishes she could spend time with her new girlfriend, Aracely, in public. Lea wants to be a regular teen again, but the blood has made her a prisoner in her own home. Fear for her social life turns into fear for her sanity, and Lea must save herself and her girlfriend however she can.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

All that’s left in the world / Brown, Erik J
“A deadly pathogen has killed off most of the world’s population. When Andrew stumbles upon Jamie’s house, he is injured, starved, and has nothing left to lose. And if this new world has taught the two anything, it is to be scared of what other desperate people will do. So why does it seem so easy for them to trust each other? After danger breaches their shelter, they flee south in search of civilization. But Andrew’s story isn’t adding up– and it could cost them everything. Jamie has a secret, too: he’s feeling something more than friendship for Andrew. To survive the long road ahead they’ll have to shed their secrets, face the consequences of their actions, and find the courage to fight for the future they desire. Together.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Wilder girls / Power, Rory
“It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her. It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The enemy / Higson, Charles

“In the wake of a devastating disease, everyone sixteen and older is either dead or a decomposing, brainless creature with a ravenous appetite for flesh. Teens have barricaded themselves in buildings throughout London and venture outside only when they need to scavenge for food. The group of kids living a Waitrose supermarket is beginning to run out of options. When a mysterious traveler arrives and offers them safe haven at Buckingham Palace, they begin a harrowing journey across London. But their fight is far from over-the threat from within the palace is as real as the one outside it.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Illuminae / Kaufman, Amie

“The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit. But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Elantris / Sanderson, Brandon

“Elantris was the capital of Arelon: gigantic, beautiful, literally radiant, filled with benevolent beings who used their powerful magical abilities for the benefit of all. Ten years ago, without warning, the magic failed. Elantrians became wizened, leper-like, powerless creatures, and Elantris itself dark, filthy, and crumbling. When Princess Sarene of Teod arrives for a marriage of state with Crown Prince Raoden she finds that Raoden has died and she is considered his widow. But Sarene doesn’t suspect the truth about Prince Raoden. Stricken by the same curse that ruined Elantris, Raoden was secretly exiled by his father to the dark city. His struggle to help the wretches trapped there begins a series of events that will bring hope to Arelon, and perhaps reveal the secret of Elantris itself.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Dragon Ball

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character or series. This post is all about the adventures and battles of the greatest martials arts warriors on Earth, Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z!

Goku in the original Dragon Ball anime (GIF via GIPHY)

What is Dragon Ball?

Written and drawn by the late Akira Toriyama (1955-2024), Dragon Ball is one of the most popular and influential manga in the world. First serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump between 1984 and 1995, the story follows the adventures of Son Goku, a heroic monkey-tailed boy who goes an epic quest to collect the seven Dragon Balls, a set of artifacts that when gathered together summon a dragon that can grant wishes.

Beginning as an adventure story inspired by martial arts films and the Chinese epic novel Journey to the West, Dragon Ball initially followed Goku on his quest alongside explorer Bulma, former bandit Yamcha, rival martial artist Krillin, and the aged but powerful martial arts sensei Master Roshi.

Goku and his allies in Dragon Ball Z (GIF via GIPHY)

The series then skips ahead to Goku’s adult years (which the anime would rename Dragon Ball Z), where he learned of his alien heritage as a member of the Saiyan race. Here, Dragon Ball pivots to being a science-fiction action series, based around epic battles between powerful villains, such as the Saiyan prince Vegeta, the alien tyrant Frieza, and the child-like magical being Majin Buu.

(Note: The Dragon Ball manga series is split into Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z to be more familiar to anime viewers; the manga in its original form is considered one continuous series named Dragon Ball. As such, our Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z volumes overlap slightly between these two halves, which I will note below).

Dragon Ball

We have the entirety of the Dragon Ball series in 3-in-1 editions, covering chapters 1 to 194 of the original manga.

The first five volumes of Dragon Ball Z are also in these editions, beginning halfway through the sixth one.

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 1 / Toriyama, Akira

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 2 / Toriyama, Akira

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 3 / Toriyama, Akira

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 4 / Toriyama, Akira

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 6 / Toriyama, Akira (Dragon Ball Z begins here)

Dragonball : 3-in-1 edition. 7 / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z

Dragon Ball Z comprises chapters 195 to 519 of the Dragon Ball manga, beginning with the volume The World’s Greatest Team.

(If you read all of the above Dragonball volumes first, skip to Dragon Ball Z volume 2).

Dragon Ball Z [1] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [2] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [3] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [4] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [5] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [6] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [7] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [8] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Z [9] / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Super

Published 20 years after the end of Dragon Ball Z, Dragon Ball Super picks up six months after the series’ climactic battle with Majin Buu. Here, Goku and his allies take part in the Tournament of Power, a contest between the most powerful warriors of eight universes.

Dragon Ball super. 1, Warriors from Universe 6 / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 2, The winning universe is decided / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 3, Zero mortal project / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 4, Last chance for hope / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 5, The decisive battle! Farewell, trunks / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 6, The super warriors gather / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 7, Universe survival! Tournament of Power begins! / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 8, Sign of son Goku’s awakening / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 9, Battle’s end and aftermath / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 10, Moro’s wish / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 11, Great escape / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 12, Merus’s true identity / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 13, Battles abound / Toriyama, Akira (also on Libby)

Dragon Ball super. 14, Son Goku, galactic patrol officer / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 15, Moro, consumer of worlds / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 16, The universe’s greatest warrior / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon ball super. 17, God of destruction power / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 18, Bardock, father of Goku / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 19, A people’s pride / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball super. 20, All-out bout / Toriyama, Akira

Dragon Ball Super 21 / Toriyama, Akira

Banshees, Furies, and Baba Yaga: A Round-Up of Monstrous Women and Fatal Femmes for International Women’s Day 2024

To celebrate the upcoming International Women’s Day (8th of March – get your camellias ready!), we’re taking a look at some of the most viciously haunting women known to folklore and mythology. From the Mexican ghost story of La Llorona to Jenny Greenteeth, the malevolent water hag of English folklore, these terrifying tales celebrate the darker side of some of the fiercest femme fatales, and remind us to embrace women’s rights and women’s wrongs…



A blood-curdling fixture of Irish mythology, a Banshee (or ‘woman of the fairy mound’) is recognisable by their long hair and typically red or green attire. Believed to be the spirits of women who were either murdered or died during childbirth, they herald the death of a family member with their distinctive shrieks and wailing.


The Furies are chthonic (relating to the underworld) goddesses of vengeance in Ancient Greek mythology, best known for hunting down and punishing those who have violated their code of justice. While artists differ in their depictions, they’re frequently shown with hair made of snakes and the wings of a bat (hot girl summer amirite). When named, the three furies go by Allecto, Tisiphone, and Megaera.

La Llorona

While there are slight variations in the account of La Llorona’s origins, she is most commonly believed to be the vengeful ghost of a woman mourning her children, whom she drowned in a fit of jealous rage after discovering her husband’s adultery. She is said to haunt bodies of water, weeping loudly and searching for the bodies of her children.

Baba Yaga

The iconic chicken-legged-house-inhabiting witch of Slavic folklore, Baba Yaga appears as an elderly woman who is at times a benevolent and helpful force, and at other times perfectly ready to set people on fire and eat their children. Yes queen.


Another hot snake lady of dubious specifics, Lamia is a figure from Ancient Greek mythology who is either A) an ordinary woman who fell victim to Zeus’s infidelity and Hera’s subsequent wrath, or B) the monstrous descendent of Hecate, goddess of witchcraft. Described as being half-snake, half-woman, reports of Lamia’s beauty vary – with some sources describing her as a beautiful human from the waist up, and other sources attributing her with the face of a demon.

Jenny Greenteeth

A water-dwelling monster of English folklore, Jenny Greenteeth derives her name from her green skin and hair, and her razor-sharp teeth. Because she’s one to commit to a theme, she’s best associated with green water such as bogs or stagnant ponds, and green water plants like algae and duckweed. Also she drowns and eats people, but that’s secondary to the fact that she’s embraced her favourite colour.


And now, here are some books so you can settle in with a blanket and mug of tea and read about strong and monstrous women to your heart’s content.

Her radiant curse / Lim, Elizabeth
“Channi was not born a monster. But when her own father offers her in sacrifice to the Demon Witch, she is forever changed. Cursed with a serpent’s face, Channi is the exact opposite of her beautiful sister, Vanna—the only person in the village who looks at Channi and doesn’t see a monster.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Squad / Tokuda-Hall, Maggie
“Becca moves to an upscale Silicon Valley suburb and is surprised when she develops a bond with girls who belong to the popular clique – and even more surprised when she learns their secrets”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Warriors, witches, women : mythology’s fiercest females / Hodges, Kate
“Meet mythology’s fifty fiercest females in this modern retelling of the world’s greatest legends. From feminist fairies to bloodsucking temptresses, half-human harpies and protective Vodou goddesses, these are women who go beyond long-haired, smiling stereotypes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Daughter of smoke & bone / Taylor, Laini (series)
“Seventeen-year-old Karou, a lovely, enigmatic art student in a Prague boarding school, carries a sketchbook of hideous, frightening monsters–the chimaerae who form the only family she has ever known.” (Catalogue)
To kill a kingdom / Christo, Alexandra
“Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. […] When a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into a human as punishment. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lore / Bracken, Alexandra
“Every seven years there is a hunt offering mortal descendants of gods the opportunity to claim their divinity by killing any of nine immortals made mortal for one night. Lore Perseous has no desire to participate, embittered because her family was killed by a rival who then ascended to godhood. When a childhood friend asks her to help, and a wounded god offers an alliance, Lore overlooks the steep cost of this decision in exchange for vengeance.” (Catalogue)

Lies we sing to the sea / Underwood, Sarah
“Hanged in an annual sacrificial ritual to Poseidon, seventeen-year-old oracle Leto awakens on an island inhibited by Melantho, a strange immortal girl with oceanic powers, who tells Leto the only way to break Poseidon’s curse is to return to Ithaca and kill the prince.” (Catalogue)

A court of thorns and roses / Maas, Sarah J (series)
“Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from stories, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin, a High Lord of the faeries. As her feelings toward him transform from hostility to a firey passion, the threats against the faerie lands grow. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose Tamlin forever” — Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)

Attack of the 50 foot wallflower / Heidicker, Christian McKay
“Phoebe Darrow and her mom have faced flesh-eating plants, blobs from outer space, and radioactive ants […] All Phoebe wants is to stop running from motel to motel and start living a monster-free life. But when her mom mysteriously vanishes, Phoebe is left to fend for herself in small-town Pennybrooke. And that’s when Phoebe starts to transform….” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Girl, goddess, queen / Fitzgerald, Bea
“Thousands of years ago, the gods told a lie: how Persephone was a pawn in the politics of other gods. How Hades kidnapped Persephone to be his bride. How her mother, Demeter, was so distraught she caused the Earth to start dying. The real story is much more interesting. Persephone wasn’t taken to hell: she jumped.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Orpheus girl / Rebele-Henry, Brynne
“Raya– abandoned by her mother, obsessed with ancient myths– lives with her grandmother in a small conservative Texas town. For years she has hidden her feelings for her best friend and true love, Sarah. When the two are caught in an intimate moment, they are sent to Friendly Saviors: a re-education camp meant to “fix” them and make them heterosexual. Subjected to abusive and brutal “treatments” by the staff, Raya vows to assume the mythic role of Orpheus to save them both and to return them to the world of the living… at any cost.” (Catalogue)

Daughter of darkness / Corr, Katharine (series)
“Deina is trapped. As one of the Soul Severers serving the god Hades on earth, her future is tied to the task of shepherding the dying on from the mortal world unless she can earn or steal enough to buy her way out. Then the tyrant ruler Orpheus offers both fortune and freedom to whoever can retrieve his dead wife, Eurydice, from the Underworld. (Adapted from Catalogue)

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein : a retelling / Landman, Tanya
“A thrilling gothic tale of hubris gone badly wrong. A young man’s search for the secret of the spark of life leads him to a horrific experiment in which he creates a gigantic creature from dismembered body parts. Rejected by his creator, the initially gentle creature turns monstrous when his desire to find companionship and love are thwarted.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fierce femmes and notorious liars : a dangerous trans girl’s confabulous memoir / Thom, Kai Cheng
“Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars: A Dangerous Trans Girl’s Confabulous Memoir is a coming-of-age story about a young Asian trans girl, pathological liar, and kung-fu expert who runs away from her parents’ abusive home in a rainy city called Gloom. ” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Divine Might: Goddesses in Greek Myth / Haynes, Natalie
“In Divine Might Natalie Haynes, author of the bestselling Pandora’s Jar, returns to the world of Greek myth and this time she examines the role of the goddesses.” (Catalogue)

Tūhono 2024: We Want Your Poems!

Tūhono, Wellington City Libraries’ poetry journal for children and teens, will soon be opening for submissions! From 1 April – 12 May, we will be accepting submissions of poetry from young writers aged 5 – 18 in Wellington City. In previous years we have published more than 200 young poets in Tūhono — so this year we’ll again be splitting it into two books, one for kids and one for teens.

Unlike some other poetry journals, having your work accepted in Tūhono is not a competition — as long as you follow the rules of submission, every piece of work that gets sent to us will be published. Tūhono itself will be published as an eBook on OverDrive, and in a limited print run for our libraries, so that everyone with a library card can borrow it and bask in your talent and glory! Check out previous editions of Tūhono on our catalogue here.

Let your poetic thoughts take wing!

Here is all the information you need in order to submit a poem for inclusion in Tūhono 2024:


  • Submissions are open from 1 April – 12 May 2024.
  • The journal will be published and available to borrow from the library in late 2024.



  • Anyone between the ages of 5 and 18 who lives in the Wellington region may participate.
  • You may submit as an individual or as a group.


  • Theme: We want you to write a poem on the theme of “Tūmanako | Hope.” The kupu Māori ‘tūmanako‘ has a wide range of meanings, including the act of hoping or wishing for something to happen, as well as hope as an object — something that you greatly desire, yearn for, or wish to be so. When you are writing your poem, you might like to think about some of the following questions, but as always with Tūhono, there is no one way we expect you to respond to this theme:
    • Act of hoping — how does hope make you feel? What does hope help you to achieve? What does hope mean to you? When you are hoping for something to happen, what thoughts and feelings come into your mind? How does the act of hoping make your body feel?
    • Hope as an object — Do you hope for something tangible, like a new thing to own? What does that thing look like, smell like, taste like, sound like, or feel like? Do you hope for something intangible, like world peace? What does that look like, smell like, taste like, sound like, or feel like? When you have gained (or not) the thing that you have hoped for, what do you think that will feel like?
  • Length: Your poem should not be longer than one A4 page typed, with size 12 font and 1.5 line spacing. Only one poem per person will be accepted.
  • Language: Your poem may be written in English or te reo Māori.
  • Format: Your poem should be submitted as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file.


  • We want to give all young people in Wellington the opportunity to have their work published on an accessible platform. We think everyone deserves a platform and the chance to see something they created be part of the library’s collection, alongside all the other great authors and poets represented on our shelves. Tūhono aims to be a uniquely Wellington collection of writing, capturing the thoughts and emotions of kids and teens from all over the city and region across time. We consider ourselves lucky to be able to provide this platform for your creativity to take wing.

Throughout the months of April and May, we will be posting regular updates on this blog providing inspiration for your writing — so keep your eyes peeled! If you would like more information about Tūhono, you are more than welcome to contact the editors here. Happy writing, everyone! We are so excited to see what you come up with.

What’s on for Wellington Pride 2024?

March is almost upon us, which means we’ve been getting ready for the Wellington Pride Festival | Tū Whakahīhī e Te Whanganui-ā-Tara which runs from the 1st to the 17th of March. If you’re familiar at all with us here on the WCL Teen Blog, you’ll know that we’re a pretty pride-ful bunch. So we have a whole plethora of library events for you to attend!

Read on to see what we’ve planned for you!

Rainbow Youth Nights

Waitohi | Johnsonville Library
Saturday 2 March, 5.00-8.00pm

Te Māhanga | Karori Library
Saturday 16 March, 5.00-8.00pm

Our Rainbow Youth Nights are back! We’ll be open after-hours for rainbow and takatāpui youth (and friends!) to socialise, have fun, explore our spaces without any of those pesky grown-ups around, and experience the General Youth Night Vibes of crafts, chats, gaming, and pizza.

Our Youth Nights are completely free (pizza included!) but you do need to be 14+ and of High School Age to attend, so please come prepared to show your school ID. And, if you have fun at a Rainbow Youth Night, you should come along to our regular monthly Youth Nights which are only slightly-less-rainbow-themed than these ones!

Wear Your Pride: Badge Making and Friendship Bracelets

Te Awa-a-Taia | Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library
Wednesday 6 March, 4.00-5.00pm

Taylor Swift brought friendship bracelets back, so of course we’re jumping on the bandwagon!

We’ll supply all the materials, you come along and create friendship bracelets and also use the Official Library Badge Maker to create your ideal Pride badge.

My Story, My Pride: A Youth Poetry Pride Workshop

Ngā Puna Waiora | Newtown Library
Thursday 7 March, 4.00-5.00pm

Are you a writer? Do you have Poetic Thoughts that you’d like to better express on the page?

Then come along to this workshop and explore the intersections between power, poetry, and being queer with a published poet!

Registrations are required, so follow the Friendly and Safe link above to find out how to register.

Comics, Queerness, and Community: A Workshop with Sophie Labelle and Sam Orchard

Waitohi | Johnsonville Library
Friday 8 March, 5.30-7.00pm

Wow! We’re very excited about this one. Amazing comic artists and Excellent Humans Sophie Labelle and Sam Orchard are leading a workshop at OUR Johnsonville Library. Yeah, we can’t quite believe it either.

If you’re a comic artist (or aspiring comic artist) this is something not to miss! Sam and Sophie will discuss comic-making and the power of art to bring communities together, and will take you through the process of creating a comic strip.

This event is for people aged 16+. Follow the link above to register.

Just to be Queer: Zine-making Workshop

Ngā Puna Waiora | Newtown Library
Thursday 14 March, 4.00-5.00pm

We’re here, we’re queer, and we’re making zines! Or rather, we hope you will be making zines.

Drag your friends along to the library to learn all about zines. Or if you’re already an expert, just make a bunch of zines! As an extra incentive, once you’ve made a zine, we are able to copy it and have it added to the Wellington City Libraries Zine Collection!

Youth Pride Quiz

Te Awe Library
Friday 15 March, 6.10-8.00pm

Do you wish you had a tiny trophy that proves how great you are at answering questions? If so, we’ve got the event for you!

This is another after-hours event, so the library will only be open for you keen quizzers. We’ve written some Pride-themed questions, you want to answer them (or so we’re hoping), and we’re just planning a fun night in general!

Register your team through the link above.

Rainbow Storytime with Queen Olivia III

Te Awa-a-Taia | Ruth Gotlieb (Kilbirnie) Library
Saturday 16 March, 11am-12 noon

Yes, we get this is a storytime more aimed at kids. BUT you may know some kids and can share the glorious word? Or you might just feel like dropping into the library to relive your own childhood?

Anyway, Queen Olivia Lucretia-Bourgeois Connie St Redfern III is a fantastic storyteller so if you or any children you encounter come along, you’re sure to have a magical time.

Out in the City

Michael Fowler Centre, Wellington CBD
Sunday 17 March, 10am-4pm

Yes, our excellent Library Stall will be back at Out in the City! We’ll be there all day handing out books and badges – grab your favourite queer author, or rummage around for the Pride Flag of your choice – and talking about LGBTQIA+ books, movies, online resources and more. Come and say hi!


Brooms, Break-Ups and Bizarre Murders: New Teen Books in the Collection

It’s February and we’ve got another fine selection of new books in the Young Adult collection.  And what a diverse lot!  From alternative fiction about broom racing and bigotry, to help with finding your voice in a difficult and changing world, and a wild new story about a serial killer with a menstrual obsession, there’s a lot to explore.  Check out this selection of just some of the titles that have hit our shelves this month…


Brooms / Walls, Jasmine
“It’s 1930s Mississippi. Magic is permitted only in certain circumstances, and by certain people. Unsanctioned broom racing is banned. But for those who need the money, or the thrills… it’s there to be found. Brooms is a queer, witchy Fast and the Furious that shines light on history not often told – it’s everything you’d ever want to read in a graphic novel.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol. 1, Grootfall / Kelly, Collin
“One year ago, the Guardians of the Galaxy were torn apart – their optimistic future shattered by the betrayal of one of their own. Now they ride the space lanes of a lawless corner of the galaxy, trying to outrun their tragedy. Caught in the middle of a civil war, those who were once Guardians face a battle that was lost from the start. Because they’re about to find themselves face-to-face with their old ally Groot – and he’s not the friend they remember! Where Groot goes, Rocket won’t be far behind – but he’s not happy to see the Guardians!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

If you’ll have me / Eunnie
“Momo Gardner is the kind of friend who’s always ready to lend a helping hand. She’s introverted, sensitive, and maybe a little too trusting, but she likes to believe the best in people. PG, on the other hand, is a bit of a lone wolf, despite her reputation for being a flirt and a player. An unexpected meet-cute brings the two together, kicking off the beginning of an awkward yet endearing courtship–but with their drastically different personalities, Momo’s overprotective friend, and PG’s past coming back to haunt her, Momo and PG’s romance is put to the test.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Static : up all night / Giles, Lamar
“After Virgil Hawkins reveals his secret identity as Static to his girlfriend, Daisy, she breaks up with him, leaving him free to go to a big music festival with his best friend Richie Foley (also known as superhero Gear), but they soon run into girls who each have secret identities of their own.” (Catalogue)


Thin air / Parker, Kellie M.
“Seventeen-year-old boarding school student Emily Walters is selected for an opportunity of a lifetime–she’ll compete abroad for a cash prize that will cover not only tuition to the college of her choice, but will lift her mother and her out of poverty. But almost from the moment she and 11 other contestants board a private jet to Europe, Emily realizes somebody is willing to do anything to win. As loyalties shift and secrets are revealed, Emily must figure out who to trust, and who’s trying to kill them all, before she becomes the next victim.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murtagh / Paolini, Christopher
“The world is no longer safe for the Dragon Rider Murtagh and his dragon, Thorn. An evil king has been toppled, and they are left to face the consequences of the reluctant role they played in his reign of terror. Now they are hated and alone, exiled to the outskirts of society. So begins an epic journey into lands both familiar and untraveled, where Murtagh and Thorn must use every weapon in their arsenal, from brains to brawn, to find and outwit a mysterious witch. A witch who is much more than she seems.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Murder on a school night / Weston, Kate
“All Kerry wants to do is stay at home with her rom-coms and strict retainer schedule. Instead, her BFF Annie has roped her into going to their first sixth-form party to investigate who’s cyberbullying Heather, the most popular girl in school. On the cusp of kissing her dreamy crush, Scott, Kerry discovers the body of Heather’s second in command – suffocated with a menstrual cup. Within days, another student turns up dead, this time with a sanitary pad across the eyes. Now Annie and Kerry are officially on the case to stop the menstrual murderer… period.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Gwen & Art are not in love / Croucher, Lex
“Gwen, the quick-witted Princess of England, and Arthur, future lord and general gadabout, have been betrothed since birth. Unfortunately, the only thing they can agree on is that they hate each other. When Gwen catches Art kissing a boy and Art discovers where Gwen hides her diary (complete with racy entries about Bridget Leclair, the kingdom’s only female knight), they become reluctant allies. By pretending to fall for each other, their mutual protection will be assured. But how long can they keep up the ruse? With Gwen growing closer to Bridget, and Art becoming unaccountably fond of Gabriel, Gwen’s infuriatingly serious, bookish brother, the path to true love is looking far from straight” (Catalogue)


Louder! : a guide to finding your voice and changing the world / Asquith, Kate
“”If you want to use words to change the world, keep reading. This book is your guide to making a difference, explore the power (and pitfalls) of language, investigate media bias, spot fake news, and discover different types of activism.” (Catalogue)

Mental health and me / Maldonado, Salvador
“Mental Health and Me brings together seven stories of teenage struggles, from body image issues to drug abuse, as experienced by real-life teenagers. This book will help young people to better understand mental health issues, empathise with those who are struggling and possibly even see their own experiences reflected, making them feel more supported and less alone.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What the fact / Yasmin, Seema
“Tracing the spread of misinformation and disinformation through our fast-moving media landscape, a journalist, scientist, medical professional, and professor gives readers the skills to identify and counter poorly sourced clickbait and misleading headlines.” (Catalogue)

Fever knights : role-playing game / Ellis, Adam
“You were once a normal, everyday teenager on the verge of adulthood. But after a mystical experience, you developed unusual powers and became something far greater—a protector of humanity and guardian against evil—a Fever Knight! Fever Knights Role-Playing Game transports you into a retro world that never was. This is a place where the 90’s vibes are still alive: from latchkey kids to Super Nintendo gaming, to cassette players and Saturday morning cartoons, and from urban legends to adventures in the woods. Designed for first-time and veteran gamers, this book contains a lightweight ruleset.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

For more new books in the collection, go to: What’s new / February 2024 (wcl.govt.nz)

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Supergirl

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character or series. This post is all about the Girl of Steel from the planet Krypton, Supergirl!

Who is Supergirl?

Kara Zor-El is the older cousin of Superman, sent from Krypton as a teenager to look after the baby Kal-El once he landed on Earth. However, due to her ship landing decades later, she arrived when Superman was already an adult. Lacking a purpose, Kara struggles to adapt to a planet that is less technologically advanced than Krypton, but this in no way deters her from following Superman’s example as a hero. Gaining superpowers under Earth’s yellow sun, she now protects Metropolis while trying to find a place in her strange new home as Supergirl. 

Note: DC Comics are divided by publishing eras, determined by a point where they set the issue number (and sometimes, continuity) of a series back to #1. ‘Pre-Crisis’ is everything DC published prior to 1986, ‘Post-Crisis’ is everything from 1986-2011, the New 52 from 2011-2016, DC Rebirth from 2016-2021, and Infinite Frontier from 2021 to present.

Supergirl : Origins

The details of Supergirl’s origin have varied over DC’s publishing history, including her civilian identity, when she was discovered on Earth, and even whether she is Kryptonian or not. Her origins have been explored in the story Being Super and the recent World’s Finest series.

Supergirl : being super / Tamaki, Mariko

Batman/Superman : world’s finest. Vol. 2, Strange visitor / Waid, Mark

As for her origins on Krypton, the House of El graphic novel trilogy provides some context for Krypton’s history prior to its destruction.

House of El. Book one, The shadow threat / Gray, Claudia

House of El. Book two, The enemy delusion / Gray, Claudia

House of El. Book three, The treacherous hope / Gray, Claudia

And for stories about Supergirl’s more famous cousin, check out our WCL Guide to Superman!


In the Pre-Crisis timeline, Kara Zor-El landed on Earth and was discovered by Superman, who learned that they were cousins and took her under his wing as Supergirl. In her headline series from this era, Kara moves to Chicago, enrolls in university, and soon gathers a rogues gallery, including her archnemesis, the nuclear-powered Reactron.

Pre-Crisis Supergirl appearances

Daring new adventures of Supergirl. Volume 1 / Kupperberg, Paul

Superman : whatever happened to the man of tomorrow / Moore, Alan


In the Post-Crisis era, a new editorial rule at DC meant that Superman had to be the only survivor from Krypton, which presented problems for introducing Supergirl. In this continuity, Supergirl is Linda Danvers, a human teenager who can transform into a superhero with powers similar to Superman.

Supergirl Linda Danvers appearances

Supergirl. Book one / David, Peter

Supergirl. Book two / David, Peter

Superman : Emperor Joker

Convergence : zero hour book 2 / Giffen, Keith

The Last Daughter of Krypton… At Last!

Eventually, Kara Zor-El was reintroduced to Post-Crisis continuity, with her spaceship being discovered at the bottom of the Gotham River. After meeting Superman, Supergirl travels to the future to join the Legion of Super-Heroes, fights a mysterious Superwoman, and sees the birth of a New Krypton and the resurrection of her parents.

Post-Crisis Supergirl appearances

Supergirl : the girl of steel / Loeb, Jeph

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes : the quest for Cosmic Boy / Bedard, Tony

Supergirl : who is Superwoman / Gates, Sterling

Supergirl. Volume 4, Daughter of new Krypton / Gates, Sterling

Supergirl : friends & fugitives / Gates, Sterling

The hunt for Reactron / Gates, Sterling

Supergirl : Bizarrogirl / Gates, Sterling

The New 52

The New 52 reset the histories of most DC characters back to square one, and Supergirl was no exception. Here, Kara is a loner who only occasionally runs into Superman. In her journey to find a home and community, she briefly befriends Superman villain Silver Banshee, joins the rage-powered Red Lantern Corps, and attends the intergalactic Crucible academy.

New 52 Supergirl reading order

Supergirl. Volume 1, Last daughter of Krypton / Green, Michael (also on Libby)

Supergirl. Volume 2, Girl in the world / Green, Michael

Supergirl. Volume 3, Sanctuary / Johnson, Mike

Superman : H’el on Earth / Lobdell, Scott

Supergirl. Volume 4, Out of the past / Nelson, Michael Alan

Supergirl. Volume 5, Red daughter of Krypton / Bedard, Tony

Supergirl. Volume 6, Crucible / Perkins, K.

DC Rebirth

Taking inspiration from the Supergirl TV show, the DC Rebirth era has Supergirl move to Metropolis’ sister city National City, teaming up with the Department of Extranormal Operations to help stem the city’s various alien threats.

Supergirl Rebirth era reading order

Supergirl. Vol. 1, Reign of the cyborg supermen / Orlando, Steve

Supergirl. Vol. 2, Escape from the Phantom Zone / Orlando, Steve

Supergirl. Vol. 3, Girl of no tomorrow / Orlando, Steve

Supergirl. Vol. 4, Plain sight / Orlando, Steve

Supergirl meets the Killer of Krypton

During the reinvigoration of the Superman books by Brian Michael Bendis, Supergirl got a new series that saw Kara setting off on an intergalactic manhunt for the dreaded Rogol Zaar, a Kryptonian-hating alien mercenary with a mysterious connection to Kara’s uncle (and Superman’s father) Jor-El.

‘Bendis era’ Supergirl reading order

The Man of Steel / Bendis, Brian Michael

Supergirl. Vol. 1, The killers of Krypton / Andreyko, Marc

Supergirl. Vol. 2, Sins of the circle / Andreyko, Marc

Supergirl. Vol. 3, Infectious / Houser, Jody

Batman/Superman. Volume 1, Who are the Secret Six / Williamson, Joshua

Superman action comics. Vol. 5, The House of Kent / Bendis, Brian Michael

Infinite Frontier – The Woman of Tomorrow

Supergirl has had one miniseries in the Infinite Frontier era, the acclaimed Supergirl: Woman of Tomorrow, which is set to be adapted into a feature film starring Milly Alcock as Kara. Meanwhile, Kara has helped her cousin protect Earth during the Warworld Saga and the Lazarus Planet event.

Infinite Frontier Supergirl appearances

Supergirl : woman of tomorrow / King, Tom

Superman action comics. Volume one, Warworld rising / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman Action Comics. Volume three, Warworld revolution / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman : Kal-El returns / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Lazarus Planet

Based on the TV show

The long-running CW Supergirl show starring Melissa Benoist has also been adapted into its own comics, much like The Flash show before it.

Adventures of Supergirl [1] / Gates, Sterling

Crisis on infinite Earths : Paragons rising : the deluxe edition / Wolfman, Marv


Supergirl’s Teams

Supergirl has rarely been a team player outside of her immediate Super-Family, having only brief tenures on the Teen Titans, the Legion of Super-Heroes, and the Justice League. In a moment of pique, she was briefly inducted into the Red Lantern Corps, a crimson-themed version of the Green Lanterns who are powered by rage.

Supergirl in the Legion

Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes : the quest for Cosmic Boy / Bedard, Tony

Supergirl as a Teen Titan

Teen Titans : Titans of tomorrow

In the Justice League

Justice League United. Volume 1, Justice League Canada / Lemire, Jeff

Justice League United. Volume 2, The infinitus saga / Lemire, Jeff

As a Red Lantern

Red Lanterns. Volume 5, Atrocities / Soule, Charles

Supergirl. Volume 5, Red daughter of Krypton / Bedard, Tony

Team Supergirl

In order to save Superman from cosmic imprisonment in Superman/Batman : vengeance, Bizarro assembles a whole team of Supergirls from across time and space, including the modern Kara Zor-El, Pre-Crisis Kara Zor-El, Linda Danvers, Power Girl (see below), and Cir-El, Superman and Lois’ daughter from a potential future.

Power Girl

Kara Zor-L is Power Girl, the Supergirl from Earth-2 who wound up on the mainstream DC Universe (Earth-0) after the destruction of her Earth. Where Supergirl is eager to adapt to her adopted home, Power Girl bears a chip on her shoulder for having lost both Krypton and her original adopted Earth, manifesting in her brash, ‘punch first and ask questions later’ attitude.

Post-Crisis, Power Girl took on the secret identity of ‘Karen Starr’, and split her time between running a tech start-up and serving on the Justice Society of America.

Black Adam/JSA : black reign / Johns, Geoff

Infinite crisis / Johns, Geoff

Power Girl : power trip / Gray, Justin

Justice Society of America : thy kingdom come. Part two / Johns, Geoff

Justice Society of America : thy kingdom come. Part three / Johns, Geoff

Justice Society of America : Black Adam and Isis / Johns, Geoff

Justice Society of America : the bad seed / Willingham, Bill

Just a Girl in the Worlds’ Finest

In the New 52, a new Earth-2 is created with a new Kara Zor-L, who gets sent to Earth-0 along with Earth-2’s Robin (Helena Wayne, the daughter of Batman). The pair take on the new aliases of Power Girl and Huntress and try to find a way home to Earth-2 in the series Worlds’ Finest.

Worlds’ Finest. Volume 1, The lost daughters of Earth 2 / Levitz, Paul

Worlds’ Finest. Volume 2, Hunt and be hunted / Levitz, Paul

Worlds’ Finest. Volume 3, Control issues / Levitz, Paul

Worlds’ Finest. Volume 4, First contact / Levitz, Paul

Worlds’ finest. Volume 5, Homeward bound / Levitz, Paul

Upon returning to Earth-2, Kara must help her fellow heroes save the world from an invasion from Darkseid, and after the planet is regenerated (a literal ‘Earth 2’) she strikes up a romance with its new Superman, Val-Zod.

Earth 2 : world’s end. Volume 1 / Wilson, Daniel H.

Earth 2 : world’s end. Volume 2 / Wilson, Daniel H.

Earth 2 society. Volume 1, Planetfall / Wilson, Daniel H.

Earth 2 : society. Volume 2, Indivisible / Abnett, Dan

Earth 2 : society. Volume 3, A whole new world / Abnett, Dan

Power Girl Returns

The Post-Crisis Power Girl eventually returns in Infinite Frontier. After burning out of the corporate grindset as a member of an ‘Uber but for superheroes’ service in One-Star Squadron, she gains new telepathic powers in the Lazarus Planet event and befriends a fellow psychic, former Teen Titan Omen.

Infinite frontier / Williamson, Joshua

One-star squadron / Russell, Mark

Lazarus Planet

Power Girl returns / Williams, Leah

Supergirl Across The Multiverse

Power Girl isn’t the only alternate Supergirl out there in the infinite Multiverse of DC Comics.

Crime Syndicate / Schmidt, Andy – On Earth-3 where the roles of heroes and villains are reversed, a treacherous Ultragirl tries to take out her cousin, Ultraman. This world also has a Superwoman, although technically she is the evil equivalent of Wonder Woman.

Multiversity : teen justice / Cohen, Ivan – On the matriarchal world of Earth-11, Supergirl is the daughter of Superwoman and fights alongside the young super-team Teen Justice.

Kingdom come / Waid, Mark – In a possible future, an older Karen Starr (now Power Woman) joins a new Justice League, led by an older Superman trying to bring order to a world full of unruly metahumans.

Supergirl adventures : girl of steel – In the world of the DC Animated Universe, Supergirl is Kara In-Ze from Argo, a ‘sister planet’ to Krypton that was also devastated. Discovered in cryogenic stasis by Superman, Kara is brought to Earth, where she becomes gains powers similar to her ‘cousin’ and becomes Supergirl.

Injustice 2. Vol. 1 / Taylor, Tom – The Injustice universe’s version of Supergirl first appears in its sequel comic, where she arrives on Earth not knowing her cousin has taken over the world.

Ame-Comi Girls. Volume 3, Earth in crisis / Palmiotti, Jimmy – Both Supergirl and Power Girl appear on this manga-inspired world where only women gain superpowers.

DC Comics Bombshells : the deluxe edition, Book one / Bennett, Marguerite – Here, Kara’s ship lands in Soviet Russia instead of the USA. When she comes of age in the midst of World War II, she defects and joins a team of heroines determined to end the conflict.

Dark Knights of Steel. Vol. 1 / Taylor, Tom – Transporting the heroes of the DC Universe into a medieval world of knights and nobility, the Supergirl here is Zala Jor-El, the princess of the ruling family, the House of El.

Supergirl : cosmic adventures in the 8th grade / Walker, Landry Q. – In this cartoon-influenced series, a young Kryptonian named Linda Lee struggles to balance schoolwork with being Supergirl.

Surviving the Onslaught of “Love!” : Aro-Ace Reads for a Non-Romantic Valentines’ “Celebration”

Unfortunately, Valentines’ Day is here.



As you may be able to tell, I’m not the biggest fan of those old Saint Valentines. No that’s not a typo. Now I’m sure some of you lovebirds with your partners and social life love the opportunity to celebrate this forsaken day. To you I say two things:

1) How dare you! >:(

2) Yeah that’s fair, enjoy what you want. Valentines’ can be a fun day, and there’s nothing wrong with enjoying it.

However, some of us are curmudgeonly old grinches who despise joy and human connection, so we shall complain!

This so called “holiday” is nothing but a corporate sacrifice organised by and directed to Big Chocolate and Big Flower and Big Card. The companies do not care about your love, they just want to make bank by slapping a heart on their product and demanding your money. And it’s not like they’re even using the real shape of a heart! This is what a heart looks like and don’t you dare use any other shape!


So why do we even celebrate this “Valentine” chap?

Valentines’ Day grew from a Christian celebration honouring Saint Valentine of Rome and Saint Valentine of Terni (who may or may not be the same person). There is also a third Saint Valentine who did things in Africa but he was only mentioned in like one book, so we don’t know much about him. This is why I’ve been calling it Valentines Day, there’s like 3 Valentines. So VR and VT were both priests back in the third century when the Roman Empire was very…. stabby when it came to Christians, so they both got executed. The Christian Church was like “damn, that sucks, they were good dudes and maybe performed miracles, we should recognise that” so decided to make them saints and have a day for them. Supposedly Valentine of Rome healed the blindness of his jailer’s daughter, which was his miracle.

So… what does any of this have to do with love?


Any take on a tale of a Saint Valentine being a romantic dude are fabrications made after Valentines’ Day was made all lovey dovey.

And when did Valentines’ Day become all about romance?

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Pratchett, Patriarchy and the Past: New Teen Books in the Collection

If you’re looking for something fresh and new to read right now, we have got you covered.  From historical fiction, murder mysteries and romance to feminist comics, ghost stories and putting your best foot forward online, and many, many more, there is sure to be something to pique your interest.


I’ll tell you no lies / McCrina, Amanda
“New York, 1955. Shelby Blaine and her father, an Air Force intelligence officer, are wrenched away from their life in West Germany to New York’s Griffiss Air Force Base, where he has been summoned to lead the interrogation of an escaped Soviet pilot. A chance meeting with Maksym, the would-be defector, spirals into a deadly entanglement. The more Shelby learns of Maksym’s secrets, including his detention at Auschwitz during the war, the more she becomes willing to help him. But as the stakes become more dangerous, Shelby begins to question everything she has been told.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Let’s play murder / Lupo, Kesia
“Veronica wakes up trapped with four strangers in a sprawling manor house in a snow storm with a dead body, a mystery right out of an Agatha Christie novel. It feels so real but it isn’t. This is VR and this is THE Game; a rumoured Easter Egg hidden in other VR games that draws you into a competition for a prize beyond your wildest dreams. And there’s no escaping the VR world until the Game is won. It may not be a game Veronica wanted to play, but it’s one that she has to win or die trying.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A thousand boy kisses : a novel / Cole, Tillie
“When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation? Rune’s heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. But when he discovers the truth of her absence, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

What happened on Hicks Road / Jayne, Hannah
“Lennox Oliver is loving her new life in California. For the first time, she feels normal. She has friends, and a maybe boyfriend and best of all no one knows the truth about her past and what happened to her mom. But everything changes the night after a party when a drive on the supposedly haunted Hicks Road turns deadly and Lennox hits something…or someone. Her friends say it was nothing, at worst, a deer in the road. But when a note saying FIND ME is slipped through her window, she fears that there was a girl she hit on Hicks Road that night …or she’s slipping deeper into the illness that took her mother.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Smash the patriarchy / Breen, Marta
“Patriarchy means ‘the rule of the father’ and describes a system where men are in control. At least since the time of Aristotle, loud-mouthed men have called women weak and inferior. The book is not afraid to examine some of the worst crimes – public shaming, medical examinations, and the widespread murder and jailing of feminists around the world – as it calls on readers to finally smash the patriarchy forever.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Festival of shadows : a Japanese ghost story / Atelier Sentō (Firm)
“Every summer, in an isolated Japanese village, a celebration known as the Festival of Shadows takes place. The villagers are entrusted to assist the troubled souls or “shadows” of those who died tragically, and to help them come to terms with their deaths and find eternal peace. Naoko, a young girl born in the village, is given a year to save the soul of a mysterious young man. Naoko puts her own life on the line to save the soul of this man she loves, in an exciting, moving and beautifully drawn story that takes the reader on a journey from the beautiful Japanese countryside to glamorous Tokyo art world.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Courage to dream : tales of hope in the Holocaust / Shusterman, Neal
“Courage to Dream plunges readers into the darkest time of human history – the Holocaust. This graphic novel explores one of the greatest atrocities in modern memory, delving into the core of what it means to face the extinction of everything and everyone you hold dear. Woven from Jewish folklore and cultural history, five interlocking narratives explore one common story – the tradition of resistance and uplift.” (Catalogue)

One in a million / Lordon, Claire
“Something is wrong with Claire, but she doesn’t know what. Nobody does, not even her doctors. All she wants is to return to her happy and athletic teenage self. But her accumulating symptoms – chronic fatigue, pounding headaches, weight gain – hint that there’s something not right inside Claire’s body. But even in her most difficult moments battling chronic illness, Claire manages to find solace in her family, her closest friends, and her art. A deeply personal and visually arresting memoir that draws on the author’s high school diaries and drawings, One in a Million is also a sophisticated portrayal of pain, depression, and fear that any teen or adult can relate to.” (Adapted from Catalogue)


Tiffany Aching’s guide to being a witch / Pratchett, Rhianna
“An illustrated and practical guide to being a witch in Discworld, covering everything you’ve ever wanted to know from telling the bees to magical cheese, from working with other witches to dealing with elves, from tending flocks to fending off forces from other worlds. This beautiful and practical guide has been compiled by Tiffany Aching herself, including snippets of remembered wisdom from Granny Aching alongside notes from Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, Miss Tick, and Rob Anybody who offer their own unique perspectives on all things witchcraft.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Clicks : how to be your best self online / Devon, Natasha
“When young people step into the digital world and are bombarded with ‘hot takes’, calls to cancel ‘problematic’ individuals, trolls, fake news and celebrity sales pitches they’re likely to find it overwhelming and confusing. This book wants to change that. It will teach young people how to: – Understand the psychological effects of social media on their minds, including internet pornography – See and evaluate all sides of an argument – Spot fake news – Explain their ‘take’ persuasively – Use the internet to campaign for a fairer world – Get the most out of their online role models – Show allyship to marginalised groups.” (Catalogue)

For more new books in the collection, go to: What’s new / February 2024 (wcl.govt.nz)

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Astro Boy and PLUTO

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is all about Japan’s first manga sensation, the super-powered robot Astro Boy, and his recent adaptation, the science-fiction crime comic PLUTO.

Astro Boy Anime GIF - Astro Boy Anime Robot - Discover & Share GIFs

(Astro as seen in the 2003 anime – GIF via Tenor)


(Atom from the 2023 adaptation of PLUTO – GIF via Tumblr)

Who is Astro Boy?

Astro Boy (‘Tetsuwan Atomu‘ in Japanese) was created by Osamu Tezuka, one of Japan’s most prolific cartoonists, and published from 1952 to 1968 in his original run (then adapted into several anime and a feature film). While the series was drawn in a light-hearted style inspired by old Disney cartoons, Tezuka used Astro Boy to explore heady themes about environmentalism, war, prejudice, and the cost of technological advancement.

In a futuristic world where humans and robots co-exist, Astro was built by roboticist Dr Tenma as a replacement for his deceased son, Tobio. When Astro failed to live up to Tenma’s expectations, he sold Astro to a circus, where he was rescued by the kindly Dr Ochanomizu. Designed with ‘100K horsepower’ and an array of gadgets like jet boots and finger lasers, Astro’s greatest strength is his emotional intelligence, as he often finds himself acting as a mediator between robots and humans when they come into conflict.

How to read Astro Boy

We have the first eight collections of the original Astro Boy run by Tezuka on our eLibrary Libby, plus a graphic novel of the first collection.

Graphic novel

Astro Boy. 1 / Tezuka, Osamu

On eLibrary (Libby)

Astro Boy Volumes 1-2

Astro Boy Volume 3

Astro Boy Volume 4

Astro Boy Volume 5

Astro Boy Volume 6

Astro Boy Volume 7

Astro Boy Volume 8

We also have a spin-off of the original Astro Boy series by Tezuka, A-tomcat, in which a young boy becomes friends with a cat who has all of Astro Boy’s abilities.

A-tomcat / Tezuka, Osamu

What is PLUTO?

Astro Boy‘s most famous story arc is ‘The Greatest Robot on Earth’, in which a colossal, powerful robot named Pluto begins hunting down and destroying the seven most advanced robots in the world, including Astro (you can read it in Astro Boy Volume 3). It was one of Astro’s biggest challenges, requiring him not only to increase his power to match his new rival, but also learn to reason with Pluto, who turned out to be more sympathetic than initially believed. This storyline was adapted by artist Naoki Urasawa into PLUTO, a manga for mature readers (seinen) between 2003 and 2009, and later turned into an anime for Netflix in 2023.

In PLUTO, the seven most advanced robots are destroyed and have their bodies left with objects resembling horns sticking out of their heads. Not only that, each robot’s human creator is hunted down as well, with the crime scenes left in a way that indicates only a robot could have done the deed. There’s just one problem: it’s impossible for a robot to kill a human. Or is it?

While Astro (here called Atom) is still in the story, the main character of PLUTO is the detective robot Gesicht (pronounced GEH-sicked), who is tasked with investigating the case. As the plot unfolds, he learns the deaths of the robots and their inventor are tied to a vast conspiracy involving a recent controversial war, a secretive anti-robot hate group, and Atom’s original creator, Tenma.

Urasawa’s PLUTO is the ‘gritty adult version of a childhood property’ done right. It expands on Astro Boy‘s themes and setting to tell a new story with classic characters, who gain a far greater amount of depth than they were allowed in the original Tezuka story. PLUTO’s themes about prejudice being the likely human response to living with robots and the psychological harm from conflict has never been more relevant in an era of ongoing wars, political extremism, and the pressing fear of AI replacing human labour. Yet, due to the presence of Atom/Astro Boy, it contains an element of irrepressible hope for a better, kinder world where we can overcome hatred and difference.

With its recent pitch-perfect adaptation to anime, it’s never been a better time to read PLUTO, and it may only grow more prescient with time.

How to read PLUTO

The complete story of PLUTO is collected in eight tankoban volumes.

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 001 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 002 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 003 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 004 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka, 005 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 006 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 007 / Urasawa, Naoki

Pluto : Urasawa X Tezuka. 008 / Urasawa, Naoki

Mould, Souls, and Demon Lemons

Over the weekend, I bought an old painting from my local thrift store. I walked home feeling immensely cultured and proud of myself, filled with visions of some day being in my sixties and telling my then-BFF Taylor Swift about the first piece of art I ever collected. HOWEVER. As soon as I reached my flat and started messing around with places to hang the painting, I noticed an accursed detail: MOULD.

THERE IS MOULD ON MY NICE NEW PAINTING. (Either that or the artist has made a very questionable choice with some black paint.)

A photograph of a framed painting, depicting a still life of fruit and drinking vessels.

A perfectly innocent and mould-less painting, or SO I THOUGHT.

While this was a very upsetting development to begin with, I quickly realised that there was more to the situation than appeared. The mould was only growing on a pair of painted lemons, which lead me to the realisation that they were, in fact, Demon Lemons.

The Picture of Demon Lemons

Once upon a time, a pair of lemons made a deal with the Devil. The deal was this;  that they should remain forever young and beautiful, while an enchanted portrait (ahem) bore the marks of their aging, rotting, and decrepit natures.

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Boring Old People Books That Are Good Actually™


“It’s a classic”

“What an influential novel”

“This is high art”

“You’ve got to read these 10 million classics before you die”

“Welcome to English class”

We’ve all heard it before. Some geriatric white dude wrote a novel about important things™ hundreds of years ago and we’re expected to care. In some cases, we even have to read it, due to the unfeeling cruelty of our education. When we finally start to read this “lifechanging™” book, all that we gain is a desire to sleep.


But all is not lost. While it seems an insane thought, some classics are actually good. And not in the way that some literary snob who appreciates all the artistic intricacies and fancyness thinks so, but just as good books.

Just so you know I’m not talking out of my rectum because I’ve been paid off by Big Literature (I’ll have you know I’m being paid off by the library, which is a notable difference) I’m going to actually tell you about books I’ve actually read. I can tell you from personal experience why you’d want to open up these dusty tomes and why you’ll maybe even end up enjoying them.

However, because I am a sham and a charlatan who hasn’t actually read that many classic books, I have acquired the assistance of some of the other bloggers to supplement my recommendations. They’ll be talking about some of their favourites just like I will.

So! Without further ado (and quite definitely not much ado), let us see which Boring Old People have written Boring Old People Books that are Good Actually™!

William Shakespeare

“Ooooh la dee dah, Shakespeare, aren’t you so fancioux and cultured.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah I get it. Shakespeare is the English literature author that is inevitably inflicted upon innocent youths by the school system. But some of his stuff is like genuinely good. And not just in a prestigious, high class, literary way, but in a genuine “this is enjoyable” way.

Something that can get lost in history about Shakespeare, considering the grand acclaim his works get, is that these plays weren’t made to be some high intellect academic exercise in storytelling. These plays were public entertainment, the ye olde version of tv shows or blockbuster movies. These were made for us plebeians, to amuse the people.

Twelfth Night


Twelfth Night, also known as What You Will, is my personal favourite Shakespeare play. To let you know why, first we need a little context, a history lesson.

Because the past was the worst, ye olde theatre didn’t allow women to be actors, so every character in a play was played by a male. Yes, even the female characters. Often younger boys would be playing women due to their more slight frames and higher voices.

Now why am I bringing this up? Well you see Twelfth Night is all about gender bending weirdness and is generally super queer. When the main character Viola finds herself shipwrecked alone in Illyria, she disguises herself as a man for safety and maybe other reasons who knows. This means our main character is a man (the actor) playing a woman playing a man, hilarious stuff.

The basic conceit of Twelfth Night is that Viola, under the guise Cesario, is sent by the Duke Orsino to woo the mourning Countess Olivia. The problem is Viola does her job too well, making Olivia fall for her, while she is falling in love with Orsino, who has a “great fondness” for his nohomo best guyfriend Cesario. Love triangles abound! There’s also all sorts of juicy romcom shenaniganry: identical twins, secret weddings, doing anything for your “bro”, mistaken identity, pranks, and manipulation. Everything your heart could desire!

Much Ado About Nothing 


Do you love enemies to lovers? Are you fond of witty snark battles among people who love to hate to love each other? Why, how about you try Much Ado About Nothing. This play feels so modern in its bantering love interests Benedick and Beatrice, who are tricked by their friends into gradually falling in love. There’s also some other story about this lovey dovey couple of Hero and Claudio but they don’t matter as much. Back to the important bit, look at this delightful dialogue:

BENEDICK :  What, my dear Lady Disdain! Are you yet

BEATRICE:  Is it possible disdain should die while she
 hath such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?
Courtesy itself must convert to disdain if you come
 in her presence.

BENEDICK:  Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain
 I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted; and
 I would I could find in my heart that I had not a
hard heart, for truly I love none.

BEATRICE : A dear happiness to women. They would
 else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I
 thank God and my cold blood I am of your humor
 for that. I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.


Now, I’m going to say something extremely out of character for a librarian:

Don’t read the book.


“Then what the @#$%&! am I to do then?!” The poor and clueless cry.

Let me finish. So Shakespeare plays are, well, plays, not novels. They are best experienced live. Don’t get me wrong, reading the plays can be great, but sometimes it’s better to watch and/or listen. The problem is that it’s gonna be a rare moment you get to see a production, let alone an exemplary production, in person. Plus that’s expensive, not a very library recommendation. However we do have some recordings of such plays: BBC’s Twelfth Night, BBC’s Much Ado About Nothing and an audiobook version of Much Ado About Nothing. There are lots of versions of these hundreds of years old plays around. If you can get your grabby little hands on it, The Globe’s traditional all male version of Twelfth Night featuring Stephen Fry is really good. Another good choice is a more modern adaptation of Twelfth Night: the film She’s the Man.

Edgar Allan Poe


Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—

Now in a bit of a change of pace from fluffy romcoms, is the master of gothic horror himself: Edgar Allan Poe. His stuff is just so delightfully creepy and a must read for any lover of horror and the macabre. In addition to his excellence, this is also the guy who is considered to have invented the detective genre with “The Murders of the Rue Morgue.”  Poe wrote short stories, a form I have sung the praises of before, which makes his work easy to pick up for a microdose of fright.

But Poe was no one trick pony, no no. Unsurprising, considering his name, Poe also is famous for his Poetry. Poe’s try is absolutely wonderful, having this brilliant rhythm that practically makes the words flow out of your mouth when reading. Because poetry is excellent as a vocal medium, if you were to read his work I’d suggest reading them out loud, or finding a recording of someone else reading them.

For some odd reason we at the library don’t have any readings of his poetry, but we do have readings of his short stories. Because these tales were written by an old fart, like all the books in this blog, there are many readings available online for free due to the lack of any pesky “public domain”. A personal favourite reading of mine is one of my favourite stories The Tell-Tale Heart, read by the YouTube channel Overly Sarcastic Productions, who also read The Masque of Red Death and other stories.

Whether you are more interested in his short stories or his poetry you can’t go wrong with Poe.

Jane Austen


Pride and Prejudice:  It’s funny.  REALLY funny.  Lizzie Bennet is really relatable as a heroine – she’s smart, has little tolerance for stupidity or men that think they’re better than her.  Mr Darcy is HOT.  I always find it a quick read, one I can knock over on a rainy afternoon, giggling at the sassiness of it and holding my breath that Lizzie and Darcy stop being such boneheads and finally get together.  Jane Austen is the reason that Bridgerton exists too.  Extra points if you go on to read Sense and Sensibility, which is just as delightful.


Oscar Wilde

The Importance of Being Earnest :  Another book (originally a play) that is really funny.  If you like witty wordplay and sharp clapbacks, this one is for you.  It’s full of knotty situations that the main characters need to talk their way out of, and a hefty twist towards the end.  It can also be interpreted as a bit gay, which is fun too.


Mary Shelley


At age 19, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley adapted a ghost story she told during a writer’s gathering and turned it into Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus, a tale of scientific hubris that results in one of the most iconic monsters ever imagined. While the book’s language is extravagant and the story-within-a-story framing device is a bit of a hurdle, once we meet Victor Frankenstein, a young man who pays a terrible price for his intellectual curiosity, the book fully takes off. It has everything a great genre book should have: action, romance, mystery, suspense, tragedy, even farce, as Victor spends the back third of the book chasing his creation across Europe like the Coyote chasing the Roadrunner, while the monster cruelly taunts Victor all the way. Far from the inarticulate brute of the movies, Frankenstein’s monster himself is a eloquent, sympathetic being; a lurching, nine foot tall wretch who chews out his creator at every opportunity for bringing him into a world that is repulsed by him. It’s an indispensable book if you have any interest in Gothic literature or science fiction (being the earliest example of the genre), and once you read it, you start to see its influence on everything from Blade Runner to Barbie.

Bram Stoker


Dracula: You probably are thinking “Why should I read Dracula? I already know the story” but that is exactly why you should. Even the most faithful of adaptations have significant differences, and the most popular versions omit entire characters and subplots and introduce storylines antithetical to the original text. Dracula by Bram Stoker is not a gothic romance or love triangle, but instead a story told through diary entries and journals, letters, and newspaper articles about a group of people who through determination, research, science, and teamwork manage to bring an end to an ancient and evil being who has come to prey on all they love – at the cost of their sanity and their lives.

-The Dracula Enthusiast, our resident Vampire Expert

Charles Dickens


A Christmas Carol: You probably don’t need any introduction to this story but it is truly worth the read, especially since the festive season is upon us! If you’re in your self-reflective era then A Christmas Carol is basically that but make it ✨Victorian man✨. Scrooge gets confronted with the fact that he hasn’t been on Santa’s “Nice” list for quite a while and realizes (with the help of a few ghosts) that he can be a better person. Basically I love this story because it gives me slim hope that one day billionaires will wake up and donate all their money to the poor, and I guess Christmas is quite fun too.


Numerous Authors

One Thousand and One Nights – The Arabian Nights: It has a little bit of everything. If you like stories within stories, you’ve got it. Self-fulfilling prophecies? There’s plenty. Pop culture references before they were pop culture. You betcha (Aladdin is based on one of the stories in this classic). Plus, it’s all framed with the story of one badass heroine trying to escape a murderous maniac by telling him stories interesting enough that he’ll keep her alive till the next dawn. And, if you don’t want to read all the stories you don’t have to. Honestly what more could you ask for?


Editor's Note: So The Arabian Nights is written in Arabic, not English, shock horror. This means that any version you read will be a translation, each translation slightly different. You may want to have a look at the multiple options there are, or not, do whatever, I'm not your mum.

Someone, We Assume, We Don’t Actually Know Who


Beowulf: Look, I won’t lie to you. The story is as basic as they come. There’s this dude called Beowulf, he’s a big ol’ guy with big ol’ muscles, and he kills a big ol’ monster called Grendel for the crime of eating 30 Danish party-goers… every day for like 20 years (you would think the Danes might have called in the cavalry a little earlier but I guess they didn’t want to look like lil nerds who couldn’t even take down one monster). Then he kills another big ol’ monster who happens to be Grendel’s mum. Then he gets to sit around being king for a while before he has to kill — you guessed it — a third big ol’ monster.

Except this one is a dragon and it sets him on fire and bites a hole in his neck, thus ending Beowulf’s story (though being the badass he is, being on fire and bleeding out doesn’t prevent him from killing the dragon anyway — his last words are basically “at least show me the sick loot I got for beating this boss” before dramatically dying all over his new pile of gold-plated dinnerware). So if you like monsters, magic, epic journeys and lots of blood and gore, Beowulf is the story for you! It’s basically LOTR but without all the filler.

It’s not all doom and gloom though — the sċop (bard) who wrote this version of the poem down devotes a weird amount of time to dunking on this loser Unferth who keeps trying and failing to talk down to our buddy Beowulf. Not cool, Unferth — in Beowulf’s words, “in helle sċealt werhðo drēogan, þēah þīn wit duge” (basically, “go to hell you big nerd.”) Classy!


Editor's Note: (Haha, imagine, Stephen, the editor, getting edited by moui. Oh how the turns tabled)

So Beowulf is a super duper old poem, written in English so old it's called Old English. That means you can't really read the original. "But we read Shakespeare, that's in Old English right? We can vaguely understand that." 


Shakespeare's stuff is actually written in early modern English, Old English is an entirely different thing. Behold! The first lines of Beowulf, untranslated! I mean, look at this gobbledygook:
Hwæt! Wē Gārdēna     in ġeārdagum,
þēodcyninga     þrym ġefrūnon,
hū ðā æþelingas     ellen fremedon.
Oft Scyld Scēfing     sceaþena þrēatum,
moneġum mǣġþum     meodosetla oftēah,
eġsode eorlas,     syððan ǣrest wearð
fēasceaft funden,     he þæs frōfre ġebād,
wēox under wolcnum,     weorðmyndum þāh,
oðþæt him ǣġhwylċ     þāra ymbsittendra
ofer hronrāde     hȳran scolde,
gomban ġyldan.     þæt wæs gōd cyning!
I'm sure you can read that easy peasy. 

Because such a cool story is hidden behind this witchcraft (what in the world is a þ or a ð??!?!?!??!?!!??!!?) we have to deal with translation.

First we have Papa Tolkien's translation because we have to respect our elders and Tolkien was a fricken nerd when it came to language. His version is written poetically, so it's all pretty noises and such. If you just want to read it like a novel, we have this prose version by some rando who's probably a cool guy but didn't happen to practically invent the fantasy genre so he gets no name recognition. There's also a summarised version with illustrations by a lead artist on the "Lord of the Rings" film trilogy. Once again you don't have to do what I say, I'm not your mum, so feel free to find and read whatever version you want, we have plenty more at the library. For all I know maybe you can read Old English and have been looking for some reading recommendations in that language.

Super editor's note out!

Happy Reading!


Draconic Tales for ‘Appreciate A Dragon Day’! Looking at Real Life “Dragons”!

Here be Dragons…

Photo 106371248, (c) wild_wind, licensed under CC-BY 4.0 DEED

Everybody loves dragons.

All around the world there are countless iterations on the idea of the dragon, oftentimes created independently of each other. Almost every culture has a dragon. That or translators and folklorists are a bit over eager to stamp the title of dragon on anything vaguely scaley. Regardless, you have to admit they are cool.

Besides the part where they don’t exist, that bit kinda sucks. It’d also be super dangerous if they did. But let’s be honest, if dragons did exist, knowing humans and our treatment of large fauna *cough*moa/mammoths/haast-eagle*cough*, we’d probably have killed them off already. Either way, probably for the best.

It is true that we have some “dragons” which are mostly glorified lizards (still adorable though) and other miscellanea.

Today is Appreciate a Dragon Day. I have thoughtfully provided a list of dragons for you to pick from all au naturale. And because you lot have been such well-behaved little gremlins, I’ll even share some fun facts on each of these fierce beasties.

A Flying Dragon – Genus Draco

 Photo 339511077, (c) Martin Walsh, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC-ND)

Because reality is often disappointing, flying dragons, on top of not being dragons, don’t actually fly. What they do is they glide. That said, those wings of theirs are pretty neat expansions of their ribs and can at least pretend to fly. Do your ribs allow you to pretend to fly? Didn’t think so.

Dehling JM (2017) How lizards fly: A novel type of wing in animals. PLoS ONE 12(12): e0189573. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0189573

Central Bearded Dragon

Photo 341430640, (c) Owen Gale, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

The only dragon commonly kept as a pet! Even in New Zealand, the buzzkill that won’t let me have a precious snake as a pet. Some cute behaviour they have is waving their hand to show submission, mostly to show other bearded dragons that they’re chill and not gonna mess with their turf.


Due to them being pets, you can find plentiful adorable images and videos on the internet, so that’s something you can do to fill an afternoon!

Komodo Dragon

Photo 341814950, (c) robert_thibault, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

So there’s something weird with the Komodo’s bite. When komodos attack big prey, like say a buffalo, if they don’t manage to kill the prey the first time, it’ll stalk the prey which eventually dies of infection. The thing is it’s not clear whether this is a purposeful evolutionary thing, because komodo dragons do have venom, or at least something like venom, but scientists don’t know what it really does. Give the topic some research if you want, it’s super interesting.

Boyd’s Forest Dragon

Photo 188207878, (c) Samuel, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

Boyd’s Forest Dragons are great, they spend the majority of their lives just hanging out on tree trunks. Unlike most lizards, they don’t sunbathe, instead letting the air heat them, so they can just stay on their tree trunks. If you bug them by coming close, they will just move to the opposite side of the tree and return to their vibing.

What a mood.

Read More

History Repeats [and Rewrites!] Itself…

History is a beautiful clusterfudge of odd characters, wacky narratives, and an unusual number of poisonings. As such, it’s only natural for historical events to provide a rich source of inspiration to writers who frankly can’t be having it with the modern day (that’s a general assumption, but I have faith – at least once a day I get angry at either a microwave or a traffic light so why wouldn’t other people have had it with our technological trappings as well?).

Enter: The Historical Retelling!

I know it sounds a little dry and dusty, but I can promise you that the books listed below are absolutely fat with intrigue, heart-racing romance, murderous intent, poison, old gods, and… cake? Have I piqued your interest yet?

If so, read on for more…

Gwen & Art are not in love / Croucher, Lex
“Gwen, the quick-witted Princess of England, and Arthur, future lord and general gadabout, have been betrothed since birth. Unfortunately, the only thing they can agree on is that they hate each other. When Gwen catches Art kissing a boy and Art discovers where Gwen hides her diary (complete with racy entries about Bridget Leclair, the kingdom’s only female knight), they become reluctant allies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

My contrary Mary / Hand, Cynthia
“Welcome to Renaissance France, a place of poison and plots, of beauties and beasts, of mice and … queens? Mary is the queen of Scotland and the jewel of the French court. Except when she’s a mouse. Yes, reader, Mary is a shapeshifter in a kingdom where Verities rule. It’s a secret that could cost her a head–or a tail.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Cake eater / Dahlin, Allyson
“3070. Marie Antoinette has arrived in the Franc Kingdom to marry the prince, secure an alliance, and rake in likes from her fans. Versailles is not the perfect palace Marie has seen on The Apps: her life is a maze of pointless rules, and the court watches her every move for mistakes.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Anatomy : a love story / Schwartz, Dana
“Hazel Sinnett is a medical student in 19th century Scotland who, after being kicked out because of her gender, works with new attractive acquaintance Jack Currer to procure dead bodies to study, but they soon discover secrets buried in the heart of Edinburgh society.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
The black kids / Hammonds Reed, Christina
“Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of high school and […] they can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer. But everything changes one afternoon in April, when four police officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Alex & Eliza : a love story / De la Cruz, Melissa
“1777. Albany, New York. As battle cries of the American Revolution echo in the distance, servants flutter about preparing for one of New York society’s biggest events: the Schuylers’ grand ball. […] And when Alex and Eliza meet that fateful night, so begins an epic love story that would forever change the course of American history.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Pride and premeditation / Price, Tirzah
“Seventeen-year-old aspiring lawyer Lizzie Bennet seeks to solve a murder before her rival Mr. Darcy beats her to it.” (Catalogue)
My Lady Jane / Hand, Cynthia
“Edward is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d rather be planning his first kiss than who will inherit his crown. Jane, Edward’s cousin, is far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately, Edward has arranged to marry her off to Gifford secure the line of succession. And Gifford is, well, a horse.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Blood countess / Popović, Lana
“1570s Hungary. Anna Darvulia is working as a scullery maid for the Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna […] Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell– and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she is not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Lovely war / Berry, Julie
“In the perilous days of World Wars I and II, the gods hold the fates — and the hearts — of four mortals in their hands. They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. […] Their story, as told by goddess Aphrodite to her husband, Hephaestus, and her lover, Ares, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

One for all / Lainoff, Lillie
“France, 1655. Tania, the daughter of a retired musketeer, is afflicted with extreme vertigo and subject to frequent falls. When her father is murdered she learns that he has arranged for her to attend Madame de Treville’s newly formed Académie des Mariées in Paris. It is no finishing school: it is an academy for female Musketeers, socialites on the surface but dangerous, well-trained women who wish to protect France from downfall.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Fawkes : a novel / Brandes, Nadine
“Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.”– Provided by publisher.” (Catalogue)
Reputation / Croucher, Lex
“Middle-class Georgiana Ellers has moved to a new town to live with her dreary aunt and uncle. At a particularly dull party, she meets the enigmatic Frances Campbell, a wealthy member of the in-crowd who lives a life Georgiana couldn’t have imagined in her wildest dreams. Lonely and vulnerable, Georgiana falls in with Frances and her unfathomably rich, deeply improper friends.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

And I darken / White, Kiersten
“A girl child is born to Vlad Dracula, in Transylvania, in 1435. Rejected by her father and ignored by her mother, Lada is sent with her younger brother, Radu, to be raised in the Ottoman courts. They meet Mehmed, son of the sultan, and form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point. She will grow up to be Lada Dragwlya, a vicious and brutal princess, destined to rule and destroy her enemies.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The prince and the dressmaker / Wang, Jen
“Paris, at the dawn of the modern age: Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride – or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia – the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Rejected princesses : tales of history’s boldest heroines, hellions, and heretics / Porath, Jason
“A brazen, uproarious collection of illustrations of tough women both historical and fantastical-too awesome, too fierce, and sometimes too weird. These are not fantasy tales of blushing ingenues and happily-ever-afters. Here are the real unsung women of history, real and from literature, mythology and folklore.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Enchantée / Trelease, Gita
“When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her brother and sister. Relying on magic, she transforms into ‘the Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles. […] But ‘la magie’ has its costs. When a scheming courtier blackmails her, Camille loses control of her secrets. Then revolution erupts, and she must make choices– before Paris burns.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

A million to one / Jaigirdar, Adiba
“Four friends have stolen aboard the Titanic. They’re after the Rubaiyat – a book inlaid with priceless jewels. Josefa is a charismatic thief, Hinnah a daring acrobat, Violet an outstanding actress and Emilie a talented artist. It is Josefa’s plan, but she needs all of their skills. Despite their very different backgrounds, in a world of first-class passengers and suspicious crew members, the girls must work together to pull off the heist of their lives.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Venom and Carnage

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is all about those two gruesome toothsome puddles of alien goo, Venom and Carnage!

(GIFs via Giphy)

Who is Venom?

Venom is a ‘symbiote’, a race of alien creatures that parasitically bond to other beings to survive. When one of these symbiotes bonded to Spider-Man and was rejected, it found its way to disgruntled reporter Eddie Brock, who had a vendetta against Spider-Man. Eddie and the symbiote formed a partnership over their mutual hatred of the Wall-Crawler, transforming into a hulking ink-black monstrosity – Venom.

In addition to granting its wearer increased strength, durability, and the power to shapeshift and manifest weapons out of its body, the symbiote also replicated all of Peter’s powers and memories. Due to its previous bond with Peter, Venom also cannot trigger Spidey’s danger-alerting ‘Spider-Sense’, which makes Venom one of Spider-Man’s deadliest villains. Fortunately, the symbiote’s biology makes Venom weak to high-pitched sounds and extreme heat, a vulnerability that Spider-Man can always exploit.

Over the years, Venom has also spawned new symbiotes, including the maniacal Carnage, the quintuplet Life Foundation symbiotes (Riot, Lasher, Phage, Scream, and Agony), the inverted copy Anti-Venom, and the good-natured Sleeper.

Symbiote Spider-Man

Spider-Man first gained the symbiote in the original Secret Wars, where he thought it was just an all-black version of his costume. While Peter initially embraced the symbiote, over time it began to amplify his negative emotions and control him against his will, leading Peter to reject it.

Black Suit Spider-Man appearances

Secret wars / Shooter, Jim

Symbiote Spider-Man / David, Peter

Symbiote Spider-Man : crossroads / David, Peter

Symbiote Spider-Man : king in black / David, Peter

Spider-Man has rejoined with the symbiote on occasion, such as when he fought a Carnage-powered Green Goblin, or when a Doc Ock-possessed Peter (see ‘Superior Spider-Man’ in our Spider-Verse blog) tried the symbiote on for size as the Superior Venom. Some What If? stories explore what would have happened if Peter had kept the symbiote permanently, like the recent miniseries Spider’s Shadow.

The amazing Spider-Man : Red Goblin / Slott, Dan

The Superior Spider-Man. 5, Superior Venom / Slott, Dan

Spider-Man : Spider’s shadow / Zdarsky, Chip

Venom: Lethal Protector

Venom initially tried to be a hero, calling himself a ‘Lethal Protector’ following a simplistic eye-for-an-eye morality. During this period, Venom moved to San Franciso and was later captured by the Life Foundation, who forced him to create his first five offspring.

‘Lethal Protector’ era Venom reading order

Venom: Lethal Protector (only on Libby)

Venom : lethal protector : heart of the hunted / Michelinie, David

Venom : planet of the symbiotes / Michelinie, David

Spider-Man : maximum Carnage

Venom : the complete collection / Way, Daniel

Mac Gargan as Venom

Eddie would eventually lose the symbiote, and Mac Gargan (the Spider-Man villain know as the Scorpion) became its new partner. As Venom, Gargan worked with the Thunderbolts, and using the suit’s ability to shapeshift, passed himself off as Spider-Man on Norman Osborn’s ‘Dark Avengers’.

Mac Gargan as Venom appearances

Thunderbolts : caged animals / Ellis, Warren

Thunderbolts : secret invasion / Gage, Christos

Mac Gargan as ‘Spider-Man’ appearances

Dark Avengers (only on Libby)

Dark X-Men / Cornell, Paul

Siege : Mighty Avengers / Slott, Dan

Siege : battlefield


Remnants of the symbiote in Eddie fuse with his white blood cells to create Anti-Venom, a symbiote with none of Venom’s weaknesses and no mind of its own. Anti-Venom is harmful to other symbiotes and has the ability to cure any disease or ailment, leading Brock to gain a messiah complex over his newfound power to heal.

Anti-Venom appearances

The amazing Spider-Man : the return of Anti-Venom

Amazing Spider-Man : Venom Inc / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

Black Cat [4] : queen in black / MacKay, Jed

Agent Venom

The Venom symbiote is captured by the US government and given to Flash Thompson, a military veteran and Peter Parker’s former classmate. Flash uses the symbiote’s abilities as ‘Agent Venom‘, a covert operative performing secret missions for the Army and working alongside the Secret Avengers and General Ross’ Thunderbolts.

Agent Venom appearances

Venom [1] / Remender, Rick (also on Libby)

Venom : the complete collection. Volume 2 / Remender, Rick

Venom : the land where killers dwell / Bunn, Cullen

Agent Venom teams

Secret Avengers. [Vol. 1] / Remender, Rick

Secret Avengers [3] / Remender, Rick

Thunderbolts. Volume 1, No quarter / Way, Daniel

Thunderbolts. Volume 2, Red scare / Way, Daniel

Thunderbolts. Volume 3, Infinity / Soule, Charles

Thunderbolts. Volume 5, Punisher vs. the Thunderbolts / Acker, Ben

Venom: Spaceknight

Agent Venom later joins the Guardians of the Galaxy as their Avengers envoy (see our blog on Guardians of the Galaxy for more on this series). Here, Flash changes his symbiote form to an armored-plated look as Venom: Spaceknight.

Venom, space knight [1] : agent of the cosmos / Thompson, Robbie

Venom, space knight [2] : enemies and allies / Thompson, Robbie

Back to Brock

The symbiote eventually returns from space and is bounced between different hosts: the veteran-turned-criminal Lee Price and Venom’s original host, Eddie Brock. After settling on Brock once more (and leaving Flash with a new Anti-Venom suit to compensate), Venom spawns another symbiote, the benevolent Sleeper.

Venom. Volume 1, Homecoming / Costa, Mike

Venom [2] : the land before crime / Costa, Mike

Venom : lethal protector. Vol. 3, Blood in the water / Costa, Mike

Amazing Spider-Man : Venom Inc / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

Venom. Vol. 4, The nativity / Costa, Mike

Venom. First host / Costa, Mike

Venom: The King in Black

Donny Cates’ run on Venom deepens the mythology of the symbiotes, expanding on what exactly they are as a species and their role in the Marvel Universe. In this series, Eddie discovers he has a long-lost son named Dylan, fights a vastly more powerful Carnage, and confronts the mind-controlling ‘King in Black’, the god of all symbiotes.

Donny Cates Venom reading order

Venom. Vol. 1, Rex / Cates, Donny (also on Libby)

Venom. Vol. 2, The abyss / Cates, Donny (also on Libby)

These first two volumes are also collected as Venom. Vol. 1 / Cates, Donny

The war of the realms : Venom / Bunn, Cullen

Absolute Carnage / Cates, Donny

Venom. Vol. 3, Absolute Carnage / Cates, Donny (also on Libby)

Venom. Vol. 4, Venom Island / Cates, Donny (also on Libby)

Venom. Vol. 5, Venom beyond / Cates, Donny

Venom [6] : king in black / Cates, Donny

The ‘King in Black‘ storyline is continued in these spin-offs.

King in black : planet of the symbiotes / Chapman, Clay McLeod

King in black : thunderbolts / Rosenberg, Matthew

King in black : return of the Valkyries / Aaron, Jason

Spider-Woman. Vol. 2, King in black / Pacheco, Karla

King in black : Avengers / Thorne, Geoffrey

Savage Avengers. Vol. 4, King in black / Duggan, Gerry

Symbiote Spider-Man : king in black / David, Peter

King in black : Gwenom vs. Carnage / McGuire, Seanan

King in black : Namor / Busiek, Kurt

The Guardians of the Galaxy [2] : “Here we make our stand” / Ewing, Al

Venom and Son

In the current Venom series, Eddie ascends to becoming the new King in Black, discovering the extraordinary (and time-bendingly weird) extent of his new role. Meanwhile, on Earth, Eddie’s son Dylan becomes the new Venom and must confront a new symbiote named Bedlam, who has mysterious ties to his father.

Current Venom reading order

Venom. Vol. 1, Recursion / Ewing, Al

Venom [2] : deviation / Ewing, Al

Dark Web / Wells, Zeb

Venom [3] : dark web / V, Ram

Venom [4] : Illumination / Ewing, Al

Across the Venomverse

Did you know that Venom had his own Spider-Verse? Across the multiverse, Venom has bonded to all sorts of other Marvel heroes, including Captain America, Rocket Raccoon, Black Panther, and Deadpool. In Venomverse and its sequel Venomised, Eddie Brock teams up with these Venom variants to fight the Poisons, an interdimensional hyperparasite race that feed on symbiotes.

Venomverse / Bunn, Cullen

Venomized / Bunn, Cullen

Extreme Venomverse

Death of the Venomverse / Bunn, Cullen

Ultimate Venom

In Ultimate Marvel (Earth-1610), Venom is not an alien, but a lab-grown organism created by Peter Parker and Eddie Brock’s parents. As in the original continuity, Venom bonds to Peter and then Eddie, and later spawns Carnage, which here bonds to Gwen Stacy. When Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man, he fights a deadlier, improved version of this Venom.

Ultimate Venom appearances

Ultimate Spider-Man : war of the symbiotes / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales : with great power / Bendis, Brian Michael


The symbiote appears in Spider-Gwen’s universe (Earth-65), also created as a lab-grown experiment. This Venom bonds to Gwen, creating the combo of ‘Gwenom’.

Gwenom appearances

Spider-Gwen. Vol. 4, Predators / Latour, Jason

Spider-Gwen. Vol. 5, Gwenom / Latour, Jason

King in black : Gwenom vs. Carnage / McGuire, Seanan

Renew Your Venoms

In the Renew Your Vows timeline (Earth-18119) where Peter and his family fight crime together, Mary Jane bonds with Venom to keep up with her super-powered husband and daughter.

The Amazing Spider-Man : renew your vows [2] : the Venom experiment / Conway, Gerry

The End of Venom

The miniseries The End imagines possible futures for Marvel’s heroes and villains. In Venom’s case, the symbiote comes into conflict with an artificial intelligence, starting a war that extends for over a trillion years.

The end / Larsen, Erik

Who is Carnage?

Carnage is Venom’s first offspring, created when Eddie Brock was sharing a prison cell with serial killer Cletus Kasady. The spawn of Venom bonded to Kasady and they became Carnage, a maniacal, all-red symbiote with an insatiable bloodlust.

Early Carnage appearances

Spider-Man : maximum Carnage

Superior Carnage / Shinick, Kevin

Deadpool vs Carnage / Bunn, Cullen

Carnage off his AXIS

In the crossover series AXIS, a magic spell causes the Avengers, X-Men and their villains to have their moralities inverted, causing the heroes to turn bad and the villains to turn good. Here, Carnage grows a conscience for the first time but is unsure how to use it, turning him good but without a stable guide on how to do good.

Carnage in AXIS appearances

Avengers/X-Men : Axis / Remender, Rick

Axis : Carnage & Hobgoblin / Spears, Rick

Nova [5] : axis / Duggan, Gerry

Later reverting to his evil ways, Carnage is hunted by a police task force, before being captured and bonded to Norman Osborn to become the Red Goblin.

Carnage [3] : what dwells beneath / Conway, Gerry

The amazing Spider-Man : Red Goblin / Slott, Dan

Absolute Carnage

Over the years, Carnage has grown a god complex, and continues to evolve in his quest for universal omnicide. In Absolute Carnage, he learns he can gain power by absorbing the DNA of former symbiote hosts (by force, naturally) and begins hunting them down, putting him in the path of Venom and Spider-Man.

Absolute Carnage / Cates, Donny

The amazing Spider-Man : absolute Carnage

Venom. Vol. 3, Absolute Carnage / Cates, Donny (also on Libby)

The Absolute Carnage storyline is continued in these spin-offs.

Absolute Carnage vs. Deadpool / Tieri, Frank

Absolute Carnage : Miles Morales / Ahmed, Saladin

Absolute Carnage : Scream / Bunn, Cullen

Absolute Carnage : lethal protectors / Tieri, Frank

Absolute Carnage : the immortal Hulk and other tales / Ewing, Al

Extreme Carnage

Seemingly defeated after Eddie becomes the King in Black, the Carnage symbiote begins another campaign of death by hunting down various Spider-Man villains, like Hydro-Man and The Spot, and stealing their powers.

Extreme Carnage / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Carnage : black, white & blood

Carnage. Vol. 1, In the court of crimson / V, Ram

Carnage in hell / V, Ram

Carnage reigns / Ziglar, Cody

Death of the Venomverse / Bunn, Cullen


When not raising havoc, Carnage is incarcerated in Ravencroft, an asylum for the criminally insane. Other famous inmates include Carnage’s girlfriend Shriek, the imperfect Spider-Man clone Doppelganger, Wolverine’s nemesis Sabertooth, and even Dracula.

Ravencroft appearances

Spider-Man : maximum Carnage

Ravencroft / Tieri, Frank

Ruins of Ravencroft / Tieri, Frank

Other Symbiotes

Both Venom and Carnage have spawned new symbiotes over the years, growing a deadly family tree that continues to wreak havoc over the Marvel Universe.

Life Foundation symbiotes

The five Life Foundation symbiotes (the brute Riot, the tendril-coated Lasher, the spiky Phage, the prehensile-haired Scream, and acidic Agony) have only appeared sporadically since their creation, usually as foot soldiers for bigger villains.

Life Foundation symbiote appearances

Venom: Lethal Protector (only on Libby)

Deadpool vs Carnage / Bunn, Cullen

Venom. Vol. 3, Absolute Carnage / Cates, Donny

Extreme Carnage / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Scream has a few spin-off titles of her own, mostly tying into Carnage-related storylines.

Absolute Carnage : Scream / Bunn, Cullen

Scream. Vol. 1, Curse of Carnage / Chapman, Clay McLeod

Agony and her current host Gemma Shin were members of Wilson Fisk’s Thunderbolts, serving as his enforcers during the Kingpin’s time as mayor of New York City. Later, she is offered redemption as a part of Daredevil and Elektra’s new team, The Fist.

Devil’s reign / Zdarsky, Chip

Devil’s reign : villains for hire / Chapman, Clay McLeod

Daredevil & Elektra. Vol. 1, The Red Fist saga / Zdarsky, Chip

Daredevil & Elektra [2] : the Red Fist saga. Part two / Zdarsky, Chip


Toxin is Carnage’s first offspring (and by extension, Venom’s grandchild). As the 1000th of his line, Toxin is stronger than both his parent and grandparent and more resistant to their weaknesses. Fortunately, Toxin is also the most benevolent of his family, with a strong dislike of other symbiotes.

Toxin appearances

Venom : the complete collection. Volume 2 / Remender, Rick

King in black : planet of the symbiotes / Chapman, Clay McLeod

Extreme Carnage / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy


Sleeper is Venom’s most recent offspring, and very protective of his ‘brother’, Eddie’s son Dylan. Like Toxin, Sleeper is a more benevolent symbiote, but is more secretive than his brethren, preferring to possess hosts without their knowledge. Sleeper also has the unique ability to generate chemical compounds from his body, such as mind-altering pheromones and corrosive acids.

Sleeper appearances

Venom. Vol. 4, The nativity / Costa, Mike

Venom. First host / Costa, Mike

Venom. Vol. 3, Absolute Carnage / Cates, Donny

Venom. Vol. 4, Venom Island / Cates, Donny (also on Libby)

Extreme Carnage / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Venom. Vol. 1, Recursion / Ewing, Al

Venom [2] : deviation / Ewing, Al

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