Manga readers — this one’s for you. The mysterious and powerful beings that dwell deep within the library’s core — yes, the very ones whose mystical and arcane energies power the growth of our collection, compelling its soul always to look upwards — have turned their attention once again to manga, and are purchasing new titles and series at an unprecedented rate.
Below is a small selection of the new series currently on order — get in quick to reserve the first copies when they arrive! And don’t forget, you can find a list of all of the manga series and standalones we hold right here. Get in touch if there’s something super important you think we’re missing!
Jujutsu Kaisen / Akutami, Gege
This phenomenon of a manga probably needs no introduction. Its rise to prominence following the incredible popularity of the stunning MAPPA anime (seriously, check it out on Crunchyroll if you haven’t already) during the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of legendary. Now, at long last, the gorgeously-illustrated manga is entering our collection. Do yourself a favour and reserve it quickly — we can guarantee it won’t stay on the shelves for long!
Boruto : Naruto next generations / Kodachi, Ukyo
The first seven volumes of this highly-anticipated follow-up to the golden child of shōnen manga are available now on the library catalogue. Borrow and read to your heart’s content — and decide for yourselves if it’s a pale imitation of the original, or if it’s The Real Deal. As for myself, while I think for the most part Boruto : Naruto Next Generations avoids some of the awkward filler and pacing issues that plagued the Naruto manga, and really comes into its own as a story the further you read.
Komi Can’t Communicate / Oda, Tomohito
This gem of a manga explores some issues that I’m sure will resonate with readers everywhere — social anxiety, friendship, how to bridge that gap between perception and reality. What I dig most about Komi Can’t Communicate is how the inner lives of the loveably awkward Komi and Tadano are given really full explorations on the page. We have the first 12 volumes on order for your enjoyment!
Fangirl : the manga / Rowell, Rainbow
Here’s one that I’m particularly interested in checking out when it arrives: the manga adaptation of Fangirl, a sweet coming-of-age tale of family, fanfiction, and (yes) first love from bestselling author Rainbow Rowell. I’m not familiar with the work of Sam Maggs and Gabi Nam, the team responsible for this adaptation, but at first glance it certainly seems like the premise of the novel is perfect for the manga treatment! Definitely check this out if you’re into Rowell’s work in the expanded universe of Simon Snow.
The way of the househusband / Oono, Kousuke
Regardless of your opinion on the hotly-anticipated-but-ultimately-controversial anime adaptation (streaming now on Netflix), The way of the househusband is definitely one of the more interesting manga series to have broken into the mainstream recently. The premise is simple, if a little wacky — feared Yakuza boss Tatsu (known as ‘The Immortal Dragon’ by his associates and rivals alike) retires from his life of hard-boiled crime to become a stay-at-home househusband to support his career-driven wife. The comedy potential is only too real.
Keep your eyes peeled for more new additions to the manga collection in the coming weeks. We’ll keep it coming as long as you keep reading it!
Attention all Jedi, Bounty Hunters and Rebels! Star Wars Day is happening again on May the Fourth, which is observed and celebrated by fans of the Star Wars franchise.
This year, you can celebrate by visiting your local library, relive and check out fiction, (as well as non fiction, comics and movies) all related to anything and everything from the Star Wars universe!
“In this Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker young adult novel set just before The Force Awakens, a restless teenager sets out to discover what connection his mysterious Force powers have to the fabled Jedi and what the Force has in store for him.” (Catalogue)
“The story of how Leia Organa comes to join the Rebellion. Sixteen-year-old Princess Leia has been taking rigorous survival courses, practicing politics, and spearheading relief missions to worlds under Imperial control so that she becomes formally named heir to the throne of Alderaan. When her parents begin acting strange, sixteen-year-old Princes Leia sets out to uncover their secrets, putting her in the path of the watchful Empire. She finds herself facing the choice of dedicating herself to the people of Alderaan, including the man she loves, or to the galaxy at large which is in desperate need of a rebel hero.” (Catalogue)
“Fans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance.” (Catalogue)
“Why do most people know what an Ewok is, even if they haven’t seen Return of the Jedi? How have Star Wars action figures come to outnumber human beings? How did ‘Jedi’ become an officially recognised religion? When did the films’ merchandising revenue manage to rival the GDP of a small country? Tracing the birth, death and rebirth of the epic universe built by George Lucas and hundreds of writers, artists, producers, and marketers, Chris Taylor jousts with modern-day Jedi, tinkers with droid builders, and gets inside Boba Fett’s helmet, all to find out how STAR WARS has attracted and inspired so many fans for so long.” (Catalogue)
“After the 1973 success of American Graffiti, filmmaker George Lucas made the fateful decision to pursue a longtime dream project: a space fantasy movie unlike any ever produced. Lucas envisioned a swashbuckling science fiction saga inspired by the Flash Gordon serials of the thirties, classic American westerns, the epic cinema of Japanese auteur Akira Kurosawa, and mythological heroes. Its original title: The Star Wars. The rest is history, and how it was made is a story as entertaining and exciting as the movie that has enthralled millions for thirty years – a story that has never been told as it was meant to be. Until now.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
“This comprehensive guide to the Star Wars series of films follows on from the re-release of the first three films. Everything from the smugglers’ spaceport on Abregado-Rae and technical explanations of the Millennium Falcon’s acceleration compensator is covered.” (Catalogue).
Relive the exhilarating action, spectacular battles and ultimate triumph of good over evil that make Star Wars the greatest space fantasy adventure of all time – and the ultimate entertainment experience for every family. The Star Wars original trilogy episodes continue the saga with Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo leading the rebel Alliance to claim victory over the Empire and win freedom for the galaxy.
A New Hope: “In a galaxy far, far away, a psychopathic emperor and his most trusted servant – a former Jedi Knight known as Darth Vader – are ruling a universe with fear. They have built a horrifying weapon known as the Death Star, a giant battle station capable of annihilating a world in less than a second. When the Death Star’s master plans are captured by the fledgling Rebel Alliance, Vader starts a pursuit of the ship carrying them…”
The Empire Strikes Back: “Darth Vader is helping the Empire crush the rebellion determined to end the Empire’s domination of the universe. The rebels are based on Hoth, and when troops arrive to wipe them out, Han Solo and Princess Leia flee to Cloud City. Luke Skywalker, in a bid to strengthen his knowledge of the force, finds Yoda, one of the finest Jedis ever. Will they be able to get back together and halt the Empires progress?”
Return of the Jedi: “As the Emperor himself oversees the construction of the new Death Star by Lord Darth Vader and the evil Galactic Empire, smuggler Han Solo is rescued from the clutches of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt by his friends, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Chewbacca. Leaving Skywalker Jedi training with Yoda, Solo returns to the Rebel Fleet to prepare for to complete his battle with the Empire itself. During the ensuing fighting the newly returned Skywalker is captured by Vader. Can the Rebels, and their new found friends, the Ewoks, help restore freedom to the Galaxy?” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Relive the nonstop excitement, thrilling discoveries and ultimate triumph of good over evil that make Star Wars the greatest space fantasy adventure of all time – and the ultimate entertainment experience for every family. The Star Wars prequel trilogy episodes begin the saga with young Anakin Skywalker’s descent to the dark side as he transforms from child slave to Jedi apprentice to Darth Vader, the most feared villian in the galaxy!
Phantom Menace: “Set thirty years before the original Star Wars film, Episode I introduces Anakin Skywalker, a boy with special powers, unaware that the journey he is beginning will transform him into the evil Darth Vader.”
Attack of the Clones: “Set 10 years after the events of The phantom menace and the galaxy has undergone significant change, as have Anakin Skywalker, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Padme.”
Revenge of the Sith: “Torn between loyalty to his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and the seductive powers of the Sith, Anakin Skywalker ultimately turns his back on the Jedi, thus completing his journey to the dark side and his transformation into Darth Vader.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
“As Kylo Ren and the sinister First Order rise from the ashes of the Empire, Luke Skywalker is missing when the galaxy needs him most. It’s up to Rey, a desert scavenger, and Finn, a defecting stormtrooper, to join forces with Han Solo and Chewbacca in a desperate search for the one hope of restoring peace to the galaxy.” (Catalogue)
“The Skywalker saga continues as the heroes of The Force Awakens join the galactic legends in an epic adventure. Having taken her first steps into the Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.” (Catalogue)
“When it’s discovered that the evil Emperor Palpatine did not die at the hands of Darth Vader, the rebels must race against the clock to find out his whereabouts. Finn and Poe lead the Resistance to put a stop to the First Order’s plans to form a new Empire, while Rey anticipates her inevitable confrontation with Kylo Ren.” (Catalogue)
Check out the official trailer for Star Wars: The Bad Batch, which arrives on the Disney channel on May 4th, as well as the trailer for popular Star Wars series, The Mandalorian, which follows the travails of a lone gunfighter in the outer reaches of the galaxy far from the authority of the New Republic.
So, you’re an artist. Or a writer. Or both. Or neither — maybe you just like looking at stuff and reading stuff and want to know more about how it works! Maybe you’re into comics, or manga, or general illustration, or live drawing, or all of the above. Maybe, just maybe, you’re wanting to find out how you can take your passion for drawing or writing and turn it into your life’s work, your livelihood, your source of creative (and financial) nourishment. Or maybe you just want to sit in on a conversation with two very cool and talented people and be swept away by their wit and craft.
Regardless of which category you fit into above, we have the event for you:Talk and Draw with Tara Black and Dylan Horrocks, Saturday 17 April, 1.00pm at Johnsonville Library at Waitohi Community Hub. Part workshop, part overview, part conversation — join us for what promises to be a fabulous, informative, and entertaining event, with two of the biggest names in New Zealand comics.
Photo: Ebony Lamb 2020
If you don’t know Tara Black, you should — she is one of the most distinctive and unique graphic artists working in Aotearoa. Alongside her excellent webcomics (I’m particularly partial to The Blue Fury, in which the ghosts of Janet Frame and Katherine Mansfield get their kicks out of haunting a first-year English teacher) and her extremely weird and cool new book This is not a pipe (VUP, 2020), Tara is known for doing live illustrations of events around Wellington City. I reckon that’s a pretty awesome way to make a living.
Come along and join us for this Most Ambitious Crossover Event In Comic Book History (okay not really, but it will still be really cool!), and of course check out Tara and Dylan’s books below!
This is not a pipe / Black, Tara
“I’ve decided to document my life in pictures. It’s hard to draw the pole, because of the pole. Beth has a pole through her arms. This is not a metaphor. A metaphor would be a lot less inconvenient. On the other side of the room, Kenneth is creating a new religion. He thinks narrative is the operating principle of the universe. He also thinks he’s the hero of Beth’s story. Beth is worried he’s going to leave her. The creatures living in the pole may have stolen her cat. Tara Black’s comic is surreal, dark, sad, perversely joyful, and if you bet someone they couldn’t find another book remotely like it, you would win. It’s a little bit about being married to Kenneth. It’s a little bit about losing your cat. It’s definitely not about the pole.” (Catalogue)
Hicksville : a comic book / Horrocks, Dylan
“World-famous cartoonist Dick Burger has earned millions and become the most powerful man in the comics industry. However, behind his rapid rise to success, there lies a dark and terrible secret, as biographer Leonard Batts discovers when he visits Burger’s hometown in remote New Zealand. One of the best graphic novels of the past decade.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Incomplete works / Horrocks, Dylan
“Daydreams, fantasy, true love, and procrastination feature strongly in this selection of Dylan Horrocks’s shorter comics running from 1986 to 2012. It is both the chronicle of an age and a portrait of one man’s heroic struggle to get some work done.” (Catalogue)
Sam Zabel and the magic pen / Horrocks, Dylan
“Cartoonist Sam Zabel hasn’t drawn a comic in years. Stuck in a nightmare of creative block and despair, Sam spends his days writing superhero stories for a large American comics publisher and staring at a blank piece of paper, unable to draw a single line. Then one day he finds a mysterious old comic book set on Mars and is suddenly thrown headlong into a wild, fantastic journey through centuries of comics, stories, and imaginary worlds. Accompanied by a young webcomic creator named Alice and an enigmatic schoolgirl with rocket boots and a bag full of comics, Sam goes in search of the Magic Pen, encountering sex-crazed aliens, medieval monks, pirates, pixies and–of course–cartoonists. Funny, erotic, and thoughtful, Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen explores the pleasures, dangers, and moral consequences of fantasy.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
Well, we’re a fortnight into 2021 and hoo mama what a time it has been. It’s full on for anybody right now looking around at what is going on in the world, particularly in America, and trying to just understand what on earth it all means. In times like these, I turn books to get answers, but I know there are so many dry and dull books out there that just make the whole topic all that more confusing! So I thought I’d put together a bit of a list of some that are interesting and topical to help you get some answers and perspective on the events of the world around us.
This book is an excellent explainer for the position we find our world in environmentally. It takes a deep dive into capitalism, world politics, consumerism and our everyday lives to look at just how we got here, and how we can think about moving forward.
“Seventeen-year-old Riki is worried about school and the future, but mostly about his girlfriend, Gemma, who has suddenly stopped seeing or texting him. But on his way to see her, hes hit by a bus and his life radically changes. Riki wakes up one hundred years earlier in Egypt, in 1915, and finds hes living through his great-great-grandfathers experiences in the Maori Contingent. At the same time that Riki tries to make sense of whats happening and find a way home, we go back in time and read transcripts of interviews Rikis great-great-grandfather gave in 1975 about his experiences in this war and its impact on their family. Gradually we realise the fates of Riki and his great-great-grandfather are intertwined.” (Catalogue)
Janna divides the world around her into three categories – saints, misfits and monsters, to try to make sense of the events happening in her life. She is trying to fit into her community and deal with a recent traumatic event that she has been through.
“When her father is killed in a coup, Laila and her mother and brother leave their war-torn homeland for a fresh start in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. At her new high school, Laila makes mistakes, makes friends, and even meets a boy who catches her eye. But this new life brings unsettling facts to light. The American newspapers call her father a brutal dictator and suggest that her family’s privilege came at the expense of innocent lives. Meanwhile, her mother would like nothing more than to avenge his death, and she’ll go to great lengths to regain their position of power. As an international crisis takes shape around her, Laila is pulled in one direction, then another, but there’s no time to sort out her feelings. She has to pick a side now, and her decision will affect not just her own life, but countless others. . . . Inspired by the author’s experience as a CIA officer in Iraq and Syria, this book is as timely as it is relevant.” (Catalogue)
“Auckland, New Zealand, 1994. A group of anarchist punks have hatched a plan to sabotage the opening of a multi-national fast-food restaurant by blowing it sky-high come opening day. Chopstick has been given the unenviable task of setting the bomb in the restaurant the night before the opening, but when he is separated from his accomplice, Tracy, the night takes the first of many unexpected turns. Chance encounters and events from his past conspire against him, forcing Chopstick to deal with more than just the mission at hand. Still reeling after the death of a close friend, and struggling to reconcile his spiritual path with his political actions, Chopstick’s journey is a meditation on life, love, friendship and blowing things up!” (Catalogue)
“Adapted for young readers from Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, from political revolutionary and cultural icon Bernie Sanders comes an inspiring teen guide to engaging with and shaping the world–a perfect gift and an important read. Adapted for young readers from “Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In, ” this inspiring teen guide to engaging with and shaping the world is from political revolutionary and cultural icon Senator Sanders.” (Catalogue)
“She Takes a Stand offers a realistic look at the game-changing decisions, high stakes, and bold actions of women and girls around the world working to improve their personal situations and the lives of others.
This inspiring collection of short biographies features the stories of extraordinary figures past and present who have dedicated their lives to fighting for human rights, civil rights, workers’ rights, reproductive rights, and world peace. Budding activists will be inspired by antilynching crusader and writerIda B. Wells, birth control educator and activist Margaret Sanger, girls-education activist Malala Yousafzai, Gulabi Gang founder Sampat Pal Devi, who fights violence against Indian women, Dana Edell, who works against the sexualization of women and girls in the media, and many others.” (Catalogue)
“Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofia’s main worries are how to get some groovy go-go boots, and how not to die of embarrassment giving a speech at school! But when her older brother Lenny starts talking about marches and protests and overstayers, and how Pacific Islanders are being bullied by the police for their passports and papers, a shadow is cast over Sofia’s sunny teenage days. Through her heartfelt diary entries, we witness the terror of being dawn-raided and gain an insight into the courageous and tireless work of the Polynesian Panthers in the 1970s as they encourage immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their rights.” (Catalogue)
Learn about the Nazi occupation through visually stimulating primary sources taken from the War era; readers will be engaged as they discover authentic newspapers, broadcasts, propaganda, letters, and diary entries.
“The intelligent and outspoken child of radical Marxists, and the great-grandaughter of Iran’s last emperor, Satrapi bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country. Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Amidst the tragedy, Marjane’s child’s eye view adds immediacy and humour, and her story of a childhood at once outrageous and ordinary, beset by the unthinkable and yet buffered by an extraordinary and loving family, is immensely moving. It is also very beautiful; Satrapi’s drawings have the power of the very best woodcuts.” (Adapted from Catalogue)
When I was a kid and then a teenager, I never read about anyone in books that looked like me. I have always loved to read, and have always found solace in stories, but never truly identified with any of the protagonists, because none of them ever looked like me.
The heroes and heroines of the books that were around when I was growing up were all thin. Rarely were they ever described as being thin, occasionally the word skinny was used for a particularly thin character, but they were generally called average, or normal. Which is something I, a kid in a fat* body, had been led to believe I was definitely not.
* Note: I use the word fat as a weight neutral term and simple descriptor, like tall or blonde. Personally I prefer it to other euphemisms, but I acknowledge not everyone is comfortable with referring to themselves in that way.
Most of the books I grew up reading were about pretty, thin, blonde, American girls named Stacey or Jessica. They had bouncy ponytails and couldn’t decide which boy they liked the most. I was a fat, pimply Australian teenager with an old lady name and a mop of fluffy, mousy brown hair who was used to boys ignoring me. Stacey and Jessica’s lives weren’t very relevant to me.
If there were fat characters, they were subjects of derision, sassy friends (who never got the guy) or had to have lost weight by the end of the book. Not exactly relevant to most fat teenager’s lives to be honest.
It wasn’t until I was an adult, and stumbled across Kerry Greenwood’s Earthly Delight series, where the heroine was described as voluptuous, or at most, curvy, that I finally had a character that bore any relevance to me. And while they’re great stories and Corinna Chapman is a badass heroine, they really skirted around her body size and shape, like actually saying she wasn’t thin was something shameful or wrong.
Thankfully, times have changed. We now actually have books that are about more than just pretty, thin, blonde, American girls named Stacey or Jessica. We are hearing stories about people in bodies that have long been ignored. I can tell you, I’ve spent a lot of the past few years catching up!
Dumplin’ is a gorgeous story about Willowdean Dickson, aka Dumplin’ to her beauty queen Mom Rosie, who meets a hot boy named Bo, joins the local beauty pageant as a protest and has a fight with her best friend. All to a soundtrack of Dolly Parton and supported by some fabulous drag queens. My favourite quote from Dumplin’ is the way to get a bikini body is to put a bikini on your body. Bonus Netflix TV series for this one, starring Jennifer Aniston as Rosie (perfectly cast).
Puddin’ / Murphy, Julie
If you like Dumplin’, you’ll love Puddin’. Technically a sequel, Puddin’ is the story of Millie Michalchuck, one of Willowdean’s classmates and fellow beauty pageant constestant. I loved Willowdean as a character, but I **ADORE** Millie. She’s just so genuinely kind and open. Millie is forced to spend time with the prettiest girl in school and over time, they realise they have a lot more in common than is obvious.
Heads up, a third book in the series is due out in 2021, called Pumpkin and all I know is that the tagline is “This year, prom’s a drag.” Looks like we’re getting a queer character in the series.
This is the book I always wanted when I was a teenager. Set in 1986 (confession, I was a teenager in 1986) it’s a first love story about two misfits from very different families. Touching on themes of race, domestic violence, poverty and bullying, Eleanor & Park is the perfect story about two young people with very imperfect lives. You may have read some other books by Rainbow Rowell, but this is her debut novel and she landed a #1 New York Times Best Seller on her first book!
Another debut book that became a New York Times bestseller (fat gals got talent), Shrill is a memoir by brilliant writer Lindy West. Yep, this one got made into a series too. I followed Lindy right from her first big article about living in a fat body in The Stranger and it has been a delight to see her career just keep moving onwards and upwards.
This is one I found through watching the TV series first. Wilhelmina and April meet at Wellness Springs, a posh fat camp in California. They have very different attitudes to being there and hate each other from the start. It features a whole cast of fat characters and there is lots of nuance and depth to the story, which is unfortunately a rare thing.
An actual fat superhero in an actual comic. I mean, it’s something I never thought would happen in my lifetime and I’m thrilled that I was wrong. The artwork by Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage is gorgeous.
This one is a non-fiction book by the hilarious Danish comedian Sofie Hagen. It has a little bit of memoir, but a lot more social commentary, Sofie writes about the reality and politics of living in a fat body, and how to liberate yourself in a world that is so often unwelcoming to those of us who live in fat bodies.
These are just a few of my favourites, I’m still working my way through a lot of other titles that have come along in recent years. Have you read any that you can recommend? Please share in the comments below.
If you’re anything like me, there’s nothing like an announcement that a beloved graphic novel is going to be made into a movie or TV series to fill you with a combination of hope and dread. Are they going to do it justice? Will they find actors that fit the characters? Is it going to have an ending that doesn’t match the book? Please tell me that Tom Cruise has nothing to do with the project!
Of course, sometimes it just works and we get the hero we always dreamed of…
Ok maybe maybe that’s just the hero I’ve always dreamed of.
I’m always keeping an eye out for upcoming adaptations and there are a few in the pipelines (or at least rumoured to be happening) that are well worth reading before they hit our screens if you haven’t got to them already.
One of my favourite graphic novel series, Paper Girls, written by Brian K Vaughan and illustrated by Cliff Chiang (amazing colour work) has a bit of a Stranger Things vibe, mixed with some time travel. This one has been greenlit for production by Amazon for a TV series. No word on release date yet.
This is the one I’m really nervous about. I adored this series and I had all of the cast mapped out in my head for it while I was reading it. I was sure that Jepperd absolutely HAD to be played by Daniel Craig, even though he’s not as big a guy as the character is. But the IMDB listing has relative unknown Nonso Anozie down as playing Jepperd… and from what little I’ve seen of him, it could work. I cannot wait to see what Netflix will do with the hybrid children characters and the post-apocalyptic setting.
This one is another Brian K Vaughan series (he really is a writer of quality – worth reading any of his work) and is currently in production. Another series perfect for adaptation for the screen, the unlikely Yorick is the literal last man on earth (and his pet monkey Ampersand the last male animal) they are in hiding trying to find answers as to what happened to all of their fellow males on the planet. It’s a good mix of mystery and humour with some fantastic characters. With the right cast it could be one to keep an eye out for.
Look, it’s Neil Gaiman, you usually can’t go wrong with adaptations of his work. He’s apparently involved with the project as executive producer. He’s really good at what he does, he’s super committed to quality in any of the projects that come from his work, and The Sandman is iconic. The original comic series came out in the early ’90’s and was part of a massive shift in comic book culture at the time. Gaiman’s work ages well, and Netflix are behind this new series. The real question is who are they going to get to play The Sandman (aka Morpheus/Dream)?
Ok I know this is not a graphic novel/comic book. And there has been no recent news of a movie project for a few years. But this is my favourite YA book of all time and I am desperate to see it made into a movie. When I read it, back in 2014 when it was newly published, I finished the last page, put down the book and sat down at my laptop to email the author to tell him how much I loved it. He emailed me back within 24 hours, which I still think is amazing. Director Edgar Wright (Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead) was slated to be taking on this one but there has been nothing happening for a couple of years. Even if it’s not going to happen as a movie, you should read it, I’m sure you’ll thank me for it later!
So… what would you like to see adapted from shelf to screen? Is there an upcoming project that you’re keen to watch when it comes out? I want to know what’s on your radar.
We understand it’s been a dark time for many manga fans. The books you were able to borrow before our libraries closed are long finished, their covers growing thick with the dust of disappointment. Your days are growing heavy with the weight of unresolved cliffhangers. Thankfully, our eLibrary is absolutely stuffed full of manga series to keep you going until you can get your hands on printed material once again. Below are some of our faves, but be sure to check out the Comics, Graphic Novels, and Manga section on OverDrive/Libby for more gold.
Assassination Classroom, Volume 1, Yusei Matsui (ebook) Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
One of the most popular manga series currently publishing outside Japan, in Assassination Classroom we join Nagisa, Sugino, Karma, Okuda, and the other would-be assassins of Class 3E as they navigate life, death, and education under their moon-killing, pseudo-octopoid, super-organism teacher, Koro-sensei. Sound weird? Well, strap in. This is shōnen sci-fi manga at its best we’re talking about here — pretty much anything goes.
Cardcaptor Sakura Omnibus, Volume 1, CLAMP (ebook) Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2 available on OverDrive.
I love Cardcaptor Sakura unreservedly, and once you read it, you will too — and not just for its super awesome anime adaptation that aired in the late ’90s. This series has everything you’re looking for in a shōjo ‘magical girl’ manga — namely, an awesomely strong and compellingly-rendered magical girl to lead the cast, vicious beasts to fight, mythological dreamscapes to explore, complex characters that grow into their roles, and of course it can all be pulled together into a largely unknown trading card game from the year 2001 that I wish I owned. Some day, some day.
Haikyu!!, Volume 1, Haruichi Furudate (ebook) Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Okay, I admit it. I was skeptical about Haikyu!! at first. I mean, I’m not really one for the whole sportsball thing, so a manga about one boy’s drive to become the greatest volleyball player in Japan didn’t really sound like my cup of tea. With that out of the way, if you read one thing from this list, read this. The characters are expertly-drawn, both in terms of line and in terms of personality. The whole gamut of human experience is explored and poignantly rendered: hubris, ambition, disappointment, determination, loss, commitment, betrayal, hurt, unity — but ultimately it is this series’ big-heartedness that will win you over. Do yourself a favour and read it now.
One-Punch Man, Volume 1, ONE (ebook) Volumes 1 – 5 available on OverDrive.
I still remember the first time my friend showed me the One-Punch Man webcomic. Even then, in the summer of 2010, it seemed legendary, destined for greater things. And so it was — the manga remake is full of the charm, the absurdity, the inexplicable baldness, and the manic, supercharged energy of the original webcomic, but distilled, whisked, blended, and baked into the extended manga form. It’s a superhero story like no other, and we couldn’t recommend it more highly.
Tokyo Ghoul, Volume 1, Sui Ishida (ebook) Volumes 1 – 8 available on OverDrive.
Sui Ishida’s Tokyo Ghoul may just be one of the greatest tales in contemporary fantasy. The premise is simple — in the shadow of our regular human world there dwell mysterious, powerful, and cannibalistic demi-humans known as ghouls, kept at bay by the powerful but shadowy government-controlled CCG (Commission of Counter Ghoul), who will go to any length to exterminate ghouls from the face of the planet. The morals of each party? Grey. The storytelling? Immersive, dark, and intense. The characters? Deeply human and beautifully flawed, with motivations that gradually unwind as we get to know them. The result? A series you must read. Not for the faint of heart.
This is just the barest sliver of excellent manga you can find on OverDrive and Libby. If we don’t have what you’re after, you can always use the handy-dandy ‘Recommend to Library’ tool to suggest we purchase what you’re after. At the moment you can only recommend one title every 30 days, to make sure our librarians aren’t overwhelmed, so choose wisely!
Fear not, comic fans! Nothing could stop the dedicated team behind Comicfest, who’ve teamed up with the amazing people at the National Library to make sure all the events, workshops, and panels keep happening. Take a look at the ComicFest tag on the main blog to see interviews with guests and all the other amazing things the incredible team has planned.
Webcomics are one of the best (although this may be controversial) things to come out of the internet. Creators has a direct path to new and diverse audiences, without meddling from publishers and often a better understanding of the current social climate than more mainstream titles. It seems that there’s a webcomic for any interest! WCL has to be a bit more…selective in the webcomic collections we acquire, but if the thought of clicking through hundreds of pages doesn’t appeal, we’ve got a decent selection.
Homestuck has been called the internet’s “Ulysses.” Possibly due to its length, possibly due to its devoted fanbase and its equally vocal detractors. It’s also incredibly hard to describe its plot. It’s also very hard to translate to a book format, as the author notes but he helpfully provides links to the actual pages where the plot is conveyed in gifs and flash animations. And it was created in MS paint, which is quite something. You’ll never read anything like it.
“A young man stands in his bedroom. It just so happens that today, the 13th of April, 2009, is this young man’s birthday. Though it was thirteen years ago he was given life, it is only today he will be given a name! What will the name of this young man be?”
-Homestuck, first lines.
Girl Genius has been running since 2005. It’s still going, and updates on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. That’s a lot of material. It is based around the adventures of Agatha Clay, who discovers that she has an ancient and mysterious birthright, as well as having the “spark” – a strange group of personality traits, which predisposes the person to acts of mad…genius. It’s one of the preeminent Steampunk works, although the author prefers the term “gaslamp fantasy.” At any rate, it’s a great webcomic but works so well in a printed format – it’s much easier to catch up! Here’s book one.
You probably never thought of seeking out a comic written by a five year old and professionally illustrated and you never thought you’d need it in your life but Axe Cop is really something else. It’s silly, anarchic, and really nice to look at; the comedy webcomic holy trinity. It’s really funny as well. The plot is basically the title. An axe-wielding cop fights crime, which consists of whatever a five year old deems as criminal (hint: dinosaurs are heavily involved). As a side note, the writer and the illustrator are brothers, which is adorable.
There are a real flood of comic book adaptions coming out at the moment. Aquaman, Teen Titans, Spiderman, Captain Marvel…and of course, the conclusion to the Infinity War. We have plenty of those titles in our collection! But smaller publishers and lesser-known titles deserve some love too.
In four words: love, grief, laundry, and ghosts. Marjorie is thirteen and struggling to deal with the death of her mother, the (failing) family dry cleaning business, and the pressures of school. Luckily – or unluckily – she comes into contact with Wendell, a ghost trying to deal with the very particular struggles of his afterlife. The two worlds collide with dramatic results for everyone.
This only came across my desk in the last weeks of December but I’ve already decided it’s one of my top picks for the year’s best graphic novels. Set in a far-distant future, it depicts two teenage girls falling in love, while studying at an exclusive boarding school. But another plot thread enters the narrative; one of those girls, many years later, joins a crew who do restoration work on abandoned buildings. Did I mention this was all set in space? It’s one of the most intriguing and more importantly heart-felt narratives about loss and found family I’ve seen in a long time. The art – purely black and white- manages to be stark and lush at the same time. It’s a striking, original work.
Ant Sang’s one of New Zealand’s premier comic artists and Michael Bennett is a likewise acclaimed writer and director. This powerful team-up brings us this fascinating view of a New Zealand after an environmental catastrophe and strange spheres that use mind control on the few remaining human survivors. We don’t get a lot of Aotearoa-centric science fiction and a graphic novel is even rarer. But its rarity isn’t its main selling point (although worth mentioning) – this has clever sharp writing and amazing art work (check out those action scenes) so please pick it up.
I wasn’t quite sure what I was picking up when I first looked at Bad Machinery. It’s got British weirdness and teen angst in equal measure, along with a hefty dose of dark, strange humour. There are five volumes – plenty to chew through and enjoy.
This is a classic of the graphic novel genre. The author was a Hiroshima survivor and depicts the aftermath of the nuclear bomb being dropped on that city in 1945. There is no glorification of war here; just the agony of people caught up in historical events and living through the ensuing devastation. The art despite being in the familiar ‘toon style, pulls no punches in conveying the horrors of the bombing and the years afterwards. This will stay with you a long time.
Sleepless, Sarah Vaughn, writer ; Leila del Duca, artist.
The art is lush and gorgeous, the writing is excellent – I highly recommend this fantasy graphic novel which depicts the difficult life of Lady ‘Poppy’ Pyppenia – the illegitimate daughter of the deceased king – as intrigue seizes the court as her uncle takes the throne. Then there’s her bodyguard, Cyneric – a “Sleepless Knight” – who has taken a vow to protect her. Courtly intrigue, romance, assassination attempts – a must-read for fantasy fans.