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The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… The Swamp Thing

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character.
Just in time for the spooky season, this post is about DC Comic’s premier horror character. You may know him as the twisted, vegetative mockery of a man from the deep waters of the Louisiana bayou, or the plant elemental Avatar of the Green, he is…the Swamp Thing!

wes craven vhs GIF

(via GIPHY)

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 published before 1985; ‘Post-Crisis’ is everything from 1986-2011, the New 52 from 2011-2016, DC Rebirth from 2016-2021, and Infinite Frontier from 2021 onwards.


Who is the Swamp Thing?

In the swamps of Louisiana, botanist Alec Holland is killed in an accident while working on a ‘bio-restorative formula’. Fusing with his formula and the vegetation of the swamp, Alec is resurrected as a shambling humanoid mass of plant matter. Together with his girlfriend, the mad scientist’s daughter Abigail Arcane, Alec protects the environment and fights supernatural threats as the Swamp Thing.

Classic Swamp Thing

First appearing in 1971 in House of Secrets #92, Swamp Thing was popular enough to immediately spin off into his own title. Under the pen of Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, he fought mad scientists, federal agents, and Lovecraftian horrors.

Swamp Thing : the Bronze Age. Vol. 1 / Wein, Len

Swamp Thing : the Bronze Age. Vol. 2

Swamp Thing : the bronze age. Volume 3 / Pasko, Martin


Saga of the Swamp Thing

The most famous run on Swamp Thing is by Watchmen writer Alan Moore, who introduced the idea that Swamp Thing was not some accident of science, but in fact a plant elemental who embodies and protects ‘The Green’, the collective consciousness of all plant life on Earth, answerable to the Parliament of Trees.

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book one / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book two / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book three / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book four / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book five / Moore, Alan

Saga of the Swamp Thing. Book six / Moore, Alan


New 52 – Swamp Thing reborn

In the New 52 series, Alec has returned to human form, but chooses to become the Swamp Thing again to fight The Rot, a force responsible for the natural decay of all life that had run amok. After preventing Earth from becoming a ‘Rotworld’, Alec begins to expand his suite of plant abilities to fight off a challenger to his position as Avatar of the Green, and confronts a new elemental Parliament based around artificial intelligence.

Swamp Thing. Volume 1, Raise them bones / Snyder, Scott

Swamp Thing. Volume 2, Family tree / Snyder, Scott

Swamp Thing. Volume 3, Rotworld : The Green Kingdom / Snyder, Scott

Swamp Thing. Volume 4, Seeder / Soule, Charles

Swamp Thing. Volume 5, The killing field / Soule, Charles

Swamp Thing. Volume 6, The Sureen / Soule, Charles

Swamp Thing. Volume 7, Season’s end / Soule, Charles


DC Rebirth

Swamp Thing didn’t have a series during DC Rebirth, but he appears in several miniseries, Halloween-themed specials, and a YA graphic novel called Twin Branches, which reimagines Alec Holland as a shy, scientifically-minded teenager with an outgoing twin brother, Walker.

Swamp Thing : the dead don’t sleep / Wein, Len

Swamp Thing : roots of terror : the deluxe edition / King, Tom

A very DC Halloween

Swamp Thing : tales from the bayou / Seeley, Tim

Swamp Thing : twin branches / Stiefvater, Maggie


Infinite Frontier

During Infinite Frontier, a new Swamp Thing appears in the form of Levi Kamei, an Indian man who becomes a plant elemental after returning home to India and learning his secret family history.

Future state : Suicide Squad / Thompson, Robbie

The Swamp Thing [1] : becoming / V, Ram

The Swamp Thing [2] : conduit / V, Ram


Teams

Swamp Thing is a regular member of the Justice League Dark, a team that takes on the supernatural threats too big for the Justice League alone to handle. Here, Swamp Thing has to contend with the Parliament of Flowers, a rival faction to the Parliament of Trees.

Justice League dark. Vol. 1, The last age of magic / Tynion, James

Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark : the witching hour / Tynion, James

Justice League Dark. Vol. 3, The witching war / Tynion, James

Justice League Dark. Volume 4, A costly trick of magic / V, Ram

Justice League Dark : the great wickedness / V, Ram

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… The Mighty Thor

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character.
This post is about the god (and mortal) who hold the hammer Mjolnir and are worthy of the power of Thor!

(via GIPHY)

Who is The Mighty Thor?

After being humbled by his father, Thor the Norse God of Thunder returns to Earth as a superhero. Using an enchanted hammer that only he is worthy to wield, he protects Midgard and fights alongside the Avengers as the Mighty Thor!

Later, when Thor becomes unworthy of using his hammer, Doctor Jane Foster takes it up in his place as her own version of Thor.


Classic Thor

Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 1 (only on Libby)

Marvel Masterworks: The Avengers Volume 2 (only on Libby)

Marvel-verse: Thor (a collection of stories from across Thor’s publishing history)

Thor : the mighty avenger [2] / Langridge, Roger

Secret invasion : Thor / Fraction, Matt

Thor : wolves of the north

Thor : the deviants saga / Rodi, Robert

Thor of the realms (a collection of stories set across each of the Nine Realms)


Straczynski/Fraction run (2007-2012)

The defining aspect of this run is bringing Thor and Asgard back down to Earth – literally, as the home of the Norse gods appears hovering over the ordinary town of Broxton, Oklahoma. This era ends with Norman Osborn’s invasion of this floating city in Brian Michael Bendis and Oliver Coipel’s Siege.

Thor. [Vol. 3] / Straczynski, J. Michael

Astonishing Thor / Rodi, Robert

Thor : the World Eaters / Fraction, Matt

The mighty Thor [1] / Fraction, Matt

The mighty Thor [2] / Fraction, Matt

The mighty Thor [3] / Fraction, Matt

The mighty Thor : journey into mystery : everything burns / Fraction, Matt

Siege / Bendis, Brian Michael

Avengers : prime / Bendis, Brian Michael


Marvel NOW! – Thor, God of Thunder meets the God Butcher

Beginning in 2012 with the Marvel NOW! relaunch, Thor: God of Thunder by Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribic introduces Gorr the God Butcher, a vengeful alien who wants to destroy every god across time and space. To stop him, Thor teams up with his younger self from his Viking days and an older, surlier All-Father Thor from the future.

Thor, God of Thunder [1] : the God Butcher / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

Thor, God of Thunder [2] : Godbomb / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

Thor, God of Thunder [1] and [2] are also collected together as Thor : the saga of Gorr the God Butcher

Thor, God of Thunder [3] : the accursed / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

Thor, God of Thunder [4] : the last days of Midgard / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)


Jane Foster becomes Thor

During the Original Sin storyline, Thor learns a devastating truth that causes him to become unworthy of wielding Mjolnir. The hammer goes to Doctor Jane Foster, Thor’s ex-girlfriend, and she headlines a new series as The Mighty Thor. Meanwhile, Odinson wanders the cosmos trying to find a new hammer (and reason to be worthy) as The Unworthy Thor.

The reading order for this period is as follows:

Original sin : Thor & Loki : the tenth realm / Aaron, Jason

Original sin. Who shot the Watcher? / Aaron, Jason (only on Libby)

Thor : the goddess of thunder / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

Thor [2] : who holds the hammer? / Aaron, Jason

Secret wars / Hickman, Jonathan

The mighty Thor [1] : thunder in her veins / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

The mighty Thor [2] : Lords of Midgard / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

Thor : the goddess of thunder, [2], and The mighty Thor [1] and [2] are also collected together as Jane Foster : the saga of the mighty Thor

The mighty Thor [3] : the Asgard/Shi’ar war / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

The unworthy Thor / Aaron, Jason 

The mighty Thor [4] : the war Thor / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

The Mighty Thor [5] : the death of the Mighty Thor / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

Unworthy Thor and The Mighty Thor [4] and [5] are also collected as Thor : the complete collection. Volume 4


The War of the Realms

Jason Aaron’s last Thor series has Thor Odinson reclaim Mjolnir, while his enemies from across the Nine Realms band together to invade Midgard and take over Earth. This results in the crossover series The War of the Realms.

Thor [1] : God of Thunder reborn / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

Thor [2] : road to war of the realms / Aaron, Jason (also on Libby)

The war of the realms / Aaron, Jason

Thor [3] : war’s end / Aaron, Jason

King Thor / Aaron, Jason

Thor [1], [2], [3] and King Thor are also collected as Thor : Volume 5

 

Jane Foster, Valkyrie

After her tenure as Goddess of Thunder, Jane Foster gains a new weapon in Undrjarn the All-Weapon and becomes Valkyrie, leading souls to the afterlife while balancing her career as a doctor.

Valkyrie : Jane Foster [1] : the sacred and the profane / Ewing, Al (also on Libby)

Valkyrie : Jane Foster [2] : / Ewing, Al (also on Libby)

The mighty Valkyries : all Hel let loose


Donny Cates run

Venom scribe Donny Cates is the most recent Thor writer; his series so far explores Thor’s new duties as All-Father of Asgard in Odin’s absence.

Thor [1] : the devourer king / Cates, Donny

Thor [2] : prey / Cates, Donny

Thor [3] : revelations / Cates, Donny

Thor [4] : God of Hammers / Cates, Donny


Beta Ray Bill

Did you know that an alien was once worthy of wielding Thor’s hammer? Beta Ray Bill from the planet Korbin got a hold of Mjolnir while Thor was inspecting his crashed spaceship, and Bill briefly took on the role of God of Thunder. Bill became an ally to Thor, and was eventually given his own Asgardian hammer named Stormbreaker.

Thor : Ragnaroks / Oeming, Michael Avon

Beta Ray Bill : godhunter / Gillen, Kieron

Beta Ray Bill : argent star / Johnson, Daniel Warren

 

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Batgirl

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is about the various heroines who have taken up the mantle of Batgirl!

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. ‘Post-Crisis’ is everything from 1986-2011, the New 52 from 2011-2016, and DC Rebirth from 2016-2021.

Who is Batgirl?

Batgirl is the first female ally to the Bat-Family, joining Batman, Robin, and Nightwing in the fight against crime in Gotham City. Three different women have been Batgirl in the history of DC Comics: Barbara Gordon, Cassandra Cain, and Stephanie Brown.

Barbara Gordon

The first Batgirl is librarian Barbara Gordon, daughter of Gotham City police chief Commissioner Gordon. Barbara fought alongside the Caped Crusader for many years until an attack by the Joker left her paralysed. Using a wheelchair from then on, she set up a hi-tech headquarters in a clock tower and reinvented herself as Oracle, the ‘mission control’ for the Bat-Family and the Birds of Prey.

New 52

Batgirl. Volume 1, The darkest reflection / Simone, Gail (also on Libby) 

Batgirl. Volume 2, Knightfall descends / Simone, Gail

Batgirl. Volume 3, Death of the family / Simone, Gail

Batgirl. Volume 4, Wanted / Simone, Gail

Batgirl. Volume 5, Deadline / Simone, Gail

Batgirl. Volume 2, Family business / Stewart, Cameron

DC Rebirth 

Batgirl. Vol. 1, Beyond Burnside / Larson, Hope

Batgirl. Vol. 2, Son of Penguin / Larson, Hope

Batgirl. Vol. 3, Summer of lies / Larson, Hope

Batgirl. Vol. 4, Strange loop / Larson, Hope

Batgirl. Vol. 5, Art of the crime / Scott, Mairghread

Batgirl. Vol. 6, Old enemies / Scott, Mairghread

Batgirl. Vol. 7, Oracle rising / Castellucci, Cecil

Batgirl. Vol. 8, The Joker war / Castellucci, Cecil

Other Barbara Gordon books

Batman adventures : Batgirl : a league of her own

The Oracle code : a graphic novel / Nijkamp, Marieke

Cassandra Cain

After Gotham City was struck by an earthquake, a new Batgirl appeared on the scene: Cassandra Cain, the daughter of a pair of assassins who trained her to become the world’s deadliest fighter. Rebelling against her parents, Cassandra became a trusted member of the Bat-Family as Batgirl, and later Black Bat as a part of Batman’s global super-team Batman Incorporated. In the New 52, Cassandra goes by the moniker Orphan.

Batman: No Man’s Land, Volume 1 (only on Libby)

Batgirl : destruction’s daughter / Gabrych, Andersen

Batgirl. Volume 1, Silent Knight / Peterson, Scott

Batgirl. Volume 2, To the death / Puckett, Kelley

Batgirl. Volume 3, Point blank / Puckett, Kelley

Other Cassandra Cain books

Shadow of the Batgirl / Kuhn, Sarah

Stephanie Brown

Finally, the role of Batgirl passed to teenager Stephanie Brown, the daughter of the lesser-known Batman villain ‘The Cluemaster’. First appearing as the vigilante Spoiler, in order to ‘spoil’ the clues to her father’s crimes, she impressed Batman and Barbara Gordon enough to become the next Batgirl.

Batgirl : the lesson / Miller, Bryan Q

Batgirl : Stephanie Brown. Volume 2 / Miller, Bryan Q

Teams

Birds of Prey

As Oracle, Barbara Gordon was the mission control for the Birds of Prey, a small team of heroines including Black Canary and the Huntress.

Post-Crisis

Birds of Prey : murder & mystery / Simone, Gail

Birds of Prey : perfect pitch / Simone, Gail

Birds of Prey : blood and circuits / Simone, Gail

Birds of Prey : end run / Simone, Gail

Birds of Prey : the death of Oracle / Simone, Gail

DC Rebirth

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Vol. 1, Who is Oracle / Benson, Julie

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Vol. 2, Source code / Benson, Julie

Batgirl and the Birds of Prey. Vol. 3, Full circle / Benson, Julie

Infinite Frontier

Barbara, Cassandra and Stephanie have now teamed up together in their own title, Batgirls.

Batgirls. Vol. 1, One way or another / Cloonan, Becky


Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain were members
of the Bat-Family team in James Tynion IV’s run on Detective Comics.

Batman : Detective Comics. Vol. 1, Rise of the Batmen / Tynion, James

Batman : Detective Comics. Volume 2, The victim syndicate / Tynion, James

Batman : Detective Comics. Vol. 3, League of shadows / Tynion, James

Batman : Detective Comics. Vol. 4, Deus ex machina / Tynion, James

Batman : Detective Comics. Volume 5, A lonely place of living / Tynion, James

Batman : Detective Comics. Vol. 6, Fall of the Batmen / Tynion, James

Batman : Detective Comics. Vol. 7, Batmen eternal / Tynion, James

All the Batgirls were members of Batman Incorporated, a global effort by Bruce Wayne to put ‘a Batman in every city’.

Batman, Incorporated / Morrison, Grant

Batman, Incorporated. Volume 1, Demon Star / Morrison, Grant

Batman, Incorporated. Volume 2, Gotham’s most wanted / Morrison, Grant

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… She-Hulk

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post focuses on Marvel’s Jade Giantess, the Sensational She-Hulk!

Who is She-Hulk?

After receiving a blood transfusion from her cousin Bruce Banner, aka The Incredible Hulk, lawyer Jennifer Walters finds that she can turn into a super-strong green version of herself at will. Now she fights for justice in and out of court as the Sensational She-Hulk. Unlike her cousin, Jennifer quickly gained control over her transformation, and spends more time in her She-Hulk state than not.

Classic She-Hulk 

The John Byrne series is one of the definitive She-Hulk series, examining the unexplored legal areas of superheroics and giving Jen a healthy sense of humour as she struggles to balance her two jobs (even breaking the fourth wall to call out the artist drawing her!)


Dan Slott run

In this mid-2000s run by Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott, She-Hulk begins working for a law firm that defends both superheroes and supervillains. Along the way, she gets arrested by the Time Variance Authority, defends superheroes during the Superhuman Civil War, and settles down with the son of J. Jonah Jameson. book: 'She-Hulk (2004), Volume 1'. Cover image.


Marvel NOW! 

Written by actual lawyer Charles Soule and drawn by Javier Pulido, the Marvel NOW! She-Hulk series is a great introduction to the character, with notable arcs such as helping Doctor Doom’s son with immigration law and going up against other notable superhero lawyer Daredevil. Later, her series rebooted following Civil War II, with writer Mariko Tamaki (Skim, Wonder Woman) and artist Nico Leon introducing a new She-Hulk transformation powered by her grief.

The Charles Soule run is also collected in one volume as She-Hulk : the complete collection.

The most recent She-Hulk series is written by Rainbow Rowell, the YA author of Fangirl, Eleanor & Park, and Marvel’s Runaways series.


Teams

She-Hulk has been on multiple teams in the Marvel Universe, including the Fantastic Four and their spin-off team Future Foundation, the all-female team A-Force, and the Avengers.


With Hulk

She-Hulk makes regular appearances in her cousin’s series as well, being a supporting character during the Greg Pak run, and also appearing in the recent Immortal Hulk series, which entertains possibility of whether she’s immortal as a result of her gamma-related powers.


 

Red She-Hulk

Did you know there was also a RED She-Hulk? Betty Ross-Banner (Bruce Banner’s wife) was turned into a red version of She-Hulk via a machine developed by her father and MODOK, and later became an Agent of SHIELD. In Immortal Hulk, she gains a new transformation called the Red Harpy, giving her wings and talons in addition to her red complexion.

Te Reo Māori Comes to the Marvel Universe: New Comics and Graphic Novels

If there’s one thing we love here at the library, it’s a good comic book or two (or three). Luckily, our hard-working librarians have been breaking a sweat down in the book-mines (otherwise known as our offsite collection storage facility) to make sure that we have lots of new comics to fill the shelves and keep you, our beloved readers, in good reading spirits.

Here are just a few of our favourite recent additions to our comics and graphic novel collection. Hopefully you’ve seen a few of these gracing the shelves at a library near you — if not, click the titles below to get reserving!

Te pakanga a Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua
“Ngāti Rānaki me Te Ranga-Tipua – mai anō i te wehenga of Rangi rāua ko Papa ko rāua tonu ngā tauā tuahangata rongonui katoa – ka wera te umu pokapoka o te ao tukupū i tēnei pakanga turaki aorangi… He kohinga nō ngā pakiwaituhi hirahira katoa i tēnei tekau tau kua hori – e huihui mai ai a Tua Rino, a Kāpene Amerika, a Toa, a Kaiora, a Katipō, a Tama-Werewere, a Matihao, a Whatupihi, a Rangipō, a Te Autō me te huhua noa atu i tēnei pūrākau e rerekē katoa nei ō rātou āhua ā muri ake nei. A compilation of 13 graphic novels describing the battle between the Avengers and the X-Men, a battle that has continued since the separation of Ranginui and Papatūānuku. The universe is ablaze from a battle that destroys entire planets. Features: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Cyclops, Storm, and Magnet.” (Catalogue)

Oksi / Ahokoivu, Mari
“Poorling is a little bear. She’s a bit different from her brothers. Mother keeps their family safe. For the Forest is full of dangers. It is there that Mana lives, with her Shadow children. And above them all, Emuu, the great Grandma in the Sky. From the heart of Finnish folklore comes a breathtaking tale of mothers, daughters, stars and legends, and the old gods and the new.” (Catalogue)

Jujutsu kaisen. 10, Evening festival / Akutami, Gege
“In order to regain use of his crippled body, Kokichi Muta, otherwise known as Mechamaru, has been acting as an informant for the cursed spirits. He’s prepared for the betrayal when he’s thrust into a battle to the death against Mahito, but is knowing his enemy enough against a cursed spirit whose powers keep growing exponentially?” (Catalogue)

Nerdy librarians’ note: this volume heralds the beginning of the infamous Shibuya arc (explored further in volumes  11, 12, 13, and 14) — to be covered in the next season of the Jujutsu Kaisen anime. If you haven’t started reading Jujutsu Kaisen yet, you should absolutely not start here: find Volume 1 at your local library instead!


Friday. Book one, The first day of Christmas / Brubaker, Ed
“Friday Fitzhugh spent her childhood solving crimes and digging up occult secrets with her best friend Lancelot Jones, the smartest boy in the world. But that was the past, now she’s in college, starting a new life on her own. Except when Friday comes home for the holidays, she’s immediately pulled back into Lance’s orbit and finds that something very strange and dangerous is happening in their little New England town.” (Catalogue)

A-Okay / Greene, Jarad
“A-Okay by Jarad Greene is a vulnerable and heartfelt semi-autobiographical middle grade graphic novel about acne, identity, and finding your place.” (Catalogue)

Whistle : a new Gotham City hero / Lockhart, E
“Sixteen-year-old Willow Zimmerman reconnects with estranged family friend and real estate tycoon E. Nigma, but after he helps her earn enough for medical treatments for her mom she is attacked by the monstrous Killer Croc and upon waking after the fight she gains powers and insight she will need to make the right choices.” (Catalogue)

Tiny dancer / Siegel, Siena Cherson
“Siena Cherson Siegel dreamed of being a ballerina. Her love of movement and dedication to the craft earned her a spot at the School of American Ballet. Siena has worked hard her whole life to be a professional ballet dancer, then makes the difficult decision to quit dancing and tries to figure out what comes next. But what do you do when you have spent your entire life working toward a goal, having that shape your identity, and then decide it’s time to move on? How do you figure out what to do with your life? And how do you figure out who you are?” (Catalogue)

I am not Starfire / Tamaki, Mariko
“Seventeen-year-old Mandy, who dyes her hair black and hates almost everyone, is not like her mother, the tall, sparkly alien superhero Starfire, so when someone from Starfire’s past arrives, Mandy must make a choice about who she is and if she should risk everything to save her mom.” (Catalogue)

Asadora! Volume 1 / Urasawa, Naoki
“A deadly typhoon, a mysterious creature and a girl who won’t quit. In 2020, a large creature rampages through Tokyo, destroying everything in its path. In 1959, Asa Asada, a spunky young girl from a huge family in Nagoya, is kidnapped for ransom – and not a soul notices. When a typhoon hits Nagoya, Asa and her kidnapper must work together to survive. But there’s more to her kidnapper and this storm than meets the eye. When Asa’s mother goes into labor yet again, Asa runs off to find a doctor. But no one bats an eye when she doesn’t return – not even as a storm approaches Nagoya. Forgotten yet again, Asa runs into a burglar and tries to stop him on her own, a decision that leads to an unlikely alliance.” (Catalogue)

Stars in their eyes / Walton, Jessica
“Pop culture-obsessed Maisie can’t wait to get to her first Fancon. But being a queer, disabled teenager with chronic pain comes with challenges. Can Maisie make it through the day without falling over, falling in love or accidentally inspiring anyone? Maisie has always dreamed of meeting her hero, Kara Bufano, an amputee actor who plays a kick-arse amputee character in her favourite show. Fancon is big and exciting and exhausting. Then she meets Ollie, a cute volunteer who she has a lot in common with. Could this be the start of something, or will her mum, who doesn’t seem to know what boundaries are, embarrass her before she and Ollie have a chance?” (Catalogue)

The Manga Behind the Best Anime of the Year

The 6th annual Crunchyroll Anime Awards took place last week, with anime fans turning out in their millions to vote for their favourite shows, characters, artists, voice actors, directors, fight scenes (!), and musical tracks from the last year of anime. Many of the category nominees and winners were spawned from manga, and as you know, we’re big on manga here at the library. So, here are the manga series you can find gracing the shelves of our libraries that are behind this year’s award-winning anime adaptations. Get in quick to reserve ’em, they won’t stay on the shelves long!

(Or if you find yourself having to wait, why not check out our full manga collection here?)

Attack on Titan / Hajime Isayama

{shōnen: action, dark fantasy, post-apocalyptic}

“For the past century, what’s left of mankind has hidden in a giant, three-walled city, trapped in fear of the bizarre, giant humanoids known as the Titans. Little is known about where they came from or why they are bent on consuming human-kind, but the sudden appearance of an enormous Titan is about change everything.” (Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Anime of the Year
  • Best Antagonist — Eren Jaeger
  • Best Japanese VA Performance — Yuki Kaji as Eren Jaeger
  • Best Opening Sequence — ‘Boku no Sansou’ by Shinsei Kamattechan

Category nominations:

  • Best Action
  • Best Protagonist — Eren Jaeger
  • Best Fight Scene — Eren Jaeger vs. War Hammer Titan
  • Best Japanese VA Performance — Ayane Sakura as Gabi Graun
  • Best Russian VA Performance — Vlad Tokarev as Eren Jaeger
  • Best Ending Sequence — ‘Shogeki’ by Yuko Ando

Beastars / Paru Itagaki

{shōnen: coming-of-age, drama, fantasy}

“At a high school where the students are literally divided into predators and prey, it’s personal relationships that maintain the fragile peace. Who among them is a Beastar an academic and social role model destined to become a leader in a society naturally rife with mistrust?” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Romance
  • Best Opening Sequence — ‘Kaibutsu’ by Yoasobi
  • Best Ending Sequence — ‘Yasashii Suisei’ by Yoasobi

Boruto: Naruto Next Generations / Ukyo Kodachi

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy}

“Naruto was a young shinobi with an incorrigible knack for mischief. He achieved his dream to become the greatest ninja in his village, and now his face sits atop the Hokage monument. But this is not his story… A new generation of ninja are ready to take the stage, led by Naruto’s own son, Boruto!” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Fight Scene — Naruto Uzumaki vs. Isshiki Otsutsuki

Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba / Koyoharu Gotōge

{shōnen: adventure, dark fantasy, martial arts}

“In Taisho-era Japan, Tanjiro Kamado is a kindhearted boy who makes a living selling charcoal. But his peaceful life is shattered when a demon slaughters his entire family. His little sister Nezuko is the only survivor, but she has been transformed into a demon herself! Tanjiro sets out on a dangerous journey to find a way to return his sister to normal and destroy the demon who ruined his life.” (Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Best Film
  • Best Animation — Ufotable Studios
  • Best Score — composers Yuki Kajiura and Go Shiina
  • Best Ending Sequence — ‘Shirogane’ by LiSA
  • Best French VA Performance — Enzo Ratsito as Tanjiro Kamado
  • Best Latin American VA Performance — Irwin Daayán as Kyojuro Rengoku
  • Best Russian VA Performance — Islam Gandzhaev as Tanjiro Kamado

Category nominations:

  • Best Action

Fruits Basket / Natsuki Takaya

{shōjo: comedy, romance, supernatural}

“After a family tragedy turns her life upside down, plucky high schooler Tohru Honda takes matters into her own hands and moves out…into a tent Unfortunately for her, she pitches her new home on private land belonging to the mysterious Sohma clan, and it isn’t long before the owners discover her secret. But, as Tohru quickly finds out when the family offers to take her in, the Sohmas have a secret of their own–when touched by the opposite sex, they turn into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Drama
  • Best Romance
  • Best Girl — Tohru Honda
  • Best English VA Performance — Laura Bailey as Tohru Honda

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure / Hirohiko Araki

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy, supernatural}

“Young Jonathan Joestar’s life is forever changed when he meets his new adopted brother, Dio. For some reason, Dio has a smoldering grudge against him and derives pleasure from seeing him suffer. But every man has his limits, as Dio finds out. This is the beginning of a long and hateful relationship!” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best German VA Performance — Marios Gavrilis as Dio Brando

Jujutsu Kaisen / Gege Akutami

{shōnen: adventure, dark fantasy, supernatural}

“Yuji Itadori is resolved to save the world from cursed demons, but he soon learns that the best way to do it is to slowly lose his humanity and become one himself! In a world where cursed spirits feed on unsuspecting humans, fragments of the legendary and feared demon Ryomen Sukuna were lost and scattered about. Should any demon consume Sukuna’s body parts, the power they gain could destroy the world as we know it…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Best Action
  • Best Girl — Nobara Kugisaki
  • Best Fight Scene — Yuji Itadori and Aoi Todo vs. Hanami
  • Best Character Design — designs by Tadashi Hiramatsu and Gege Akutami
  • Best German VA Performance — René Dawn-Claude as Satoru Gojo
  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Leo Rabelo as Satoru Gojo

Category nominations:

  • Anime of the Year
  • Best Protagonist — Yuji Itadori
  • Best Fight Scene — Itadori and Kugisaki vs. Eso and Kechizu
  • Best Director — Sunghoo Park
  • Best Animation — MAPPA Studios
  • Best Opening Sequence — ‘Vivid Vice’ by Who-ya Extended
  • Best English VA Performance — Adam McArthur as Yuji Itadori
  • Best French VA Performance — Mark Lesser as Satoru Gojo
  • Best Latin American VA Performance — José Gilberto Vilchis as Satoru Gojo
  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Amanda Brigido as Nobara Kugisaki

Overdrive coverKaguya-Sama: Love is War / Akasaka, Aka

{seinen: psychological, romantic comedy, slice-of-life}

“As leaders of their prestigious academy’s student council, Kaguya and Miyuki are the elite of the elite! But it’s lonely at the top… Luckily for them, they’ve fallen in love! There’s just one problem—they both have too much pride to admit it. And so begins the daily scheming to get the object of their affection to confess their romantic feelings first…Love is a war you win by losing.” (OverDrive description)

Category nominations:

  • Best Latin American VA Performance — Jessica Ángeles as Kaguya Shinomiya

Komi Can’t Communicate / Tomohito Oda

{shōnen: coming-of-age, romantic comedy, slice of life}

“Socially anxious high school student Shoko Komi would love to make friends, but her shyness is interpreted as reserve, and the other students keep her at a distance. Only timid Tadano realizes the truth, and despite his own desire to blend in, he decides to help her achieve her goal of making 100 friends.” (Catalogue)

Category wins:

  • Best Comedy

Category nominations:

  • Best Romance
  • Best Girl — Shoko Komi

My Hero Academia / Kōhei Horikoshi

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy, superheroes}

“Middle school student Izuku Midoriya wants to be a hero more than anything, but he hasn’t got an ounce of power in him. With no chance of ever getting into the prestigious U.A. High School for budding heroes, his life is looking more and more like a dead end. Then an encounter with All Might, the greatest hero of them all, gives him a chance to change his destiny…” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Antagonist — Tomura Shigaraki

One Piece / Eiichirō Oda

{shōnen: adventure, fantasy}

“As a child, Monkey D. Luffy dreamed of becoming King of the Pirates. But his life changed when he accidentally ate the Gum-Gum Fruit, an enchanted Devil Fruit that gave him the ability to stretch like rubber. Its only drawback? He’ll never be able to swim again– a serious handicap for an aspiring sea dog! Years later, Luffy sets off on his quest to find the One Piece, said to be the greatest treasure in the world…” (OverDrive)

Category nominations:

  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Carol Valença as Monkey D. Luffy
  • Best Russian VA Performance — Polina Rtischeva as Monkey D. Luffy

Re:Zero: Starting Life in Another World / Tappei Nagatsuki

{shōnen: adventure, dark fantasy, isekai}

“Subaru Natsuki was just trying to get to the convenience store but wound up summoned to another world. He encounters the usual things–life-threatening situations, silver haired beauties, cat fairies–you know, normal stuff. All that would be bad enough, but he’s also gained the most inconvenient magical ability of all–time travel, but he’s got to die to use it. How do you repay someone who saved your life when all you can do is die?” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Antagonist — Echidna
  • Best Portuguese VA Performance — Luísa Viotti as Echidna

Sailor Moon / Naoko Takeuchi

{shōjo: fantasy, magical girl}

“Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. She meets other girls destined to be Sailor Senshi (Sailor Scouts), and together, they fight the forces of evil!” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Spanish VA Performance — Adelaida López as Usagi Tsukino

The Way of the Househusband / Kousuke Oono

{seinen: action, comedy, slice of life}

“It’s a day in the life of your average househusband if your average househusband is the legendary yakuza “the Immortal Dragon”! A former yakuza legend leaves it all behind to become your everyday househusband. But it’s not easy to walk away from the gangster life, and what should be mundane household tasks are anything but!” (Catalogue)

Category nominations:

  • Best Spanish VA Performance — Marc Zanni as Tatsu

Lastly, we’d like to give a special shout-out to perennial cult classic and fan favourite Cowboy Bebopwhich was nominated for Best Latin American VA Performance, for José Vilchis’ performance as Spike Spiegel. We sadly don’t have this in our collection, but we do have DVDs of the original anime series and movie as well as Rose Bridge’s excellent book for the 33 1/3 series dissecting the official soundtrack:

Yōko Kanno’s Cowboy bebop soundtrack / Bridges, Rose
“Cowboy Bebop is one of the most beloved anime series of all time, and if you ask its fans why, you can expect to hear about its music. Composer Yoko Kanno created an eclectic blend of jazz, rock, lullabies, folk and funk (to list just a few) for Cowboy Bebop’s many moods and environments. Cowboy Bebop’s blend of science fiction, westerns and gangster films promised to be “the work which becomes a new genre itself,” and only Kanno’s score could deliver.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Get Your Manga Fix at Newtown Library!

If you’ve trod the hallowed halls of our gorgeous Newtown Library recently, you may have noticed that she’s had a bit of a glow-up of late. The YA section has moved to a fetching and airy new location affording panoramic views of bustling Constable St, and its shelves are now bedecked with a plethora of new manga series freshly plucked from our collection warehouse and brought forth to the good people of Newtown for your edification and enjoyment.

An arrangement of new manga series on the shelf at Newtown Library

Ooh! Aah! So pretty! So many new books to explore!

There’s plenty here to satisfy readers new to the form as well as the seasoned panel-decipherers among you — and don’t forget you can check out the entire WCL manga collection here so you can reserve to your heart’s content. Also, if manga’s kinda your thing, we blog about it pretty often around these parts — check out some of our other posts here.

Anyway, here are the first volumes of some of the manga series you can expect to find on the shelves at Newtown on your next visit:

07-Ghost. Volume 1 / Amemiya, Yuki
“Teito Klein wants to forget his murky past as an orphan and slave and to graduate from Barsburg’s military academy with his best friend Mikage. But when an overheard state secret triggers treasonous memories, he’s forced to flee from the very empire he once sought to defend! Deliberately leaving Mikage behind, Teito escapes to the Barsburg Church. There, with the help of its three bishops, he begins to unravel his role in the story of an evil god, seven ghosts, two rival empires, and his own mysterious past.” (Catalogue)

Children of the sea. 1 / Igarashi, Daisuke
“When Ruka was younger, she saw a ghost in the water at the aquarium where her dad works. Now she feels drawn toward the aquarium and the two mysterious boys she meets there, Umi and Sora. They were raised by dugongs and hear the same strange calls from the sea that she does. Ruka’s dad and the other adults who work at the aquarium are only distantly aware of what the children are experiencing as they get caught up in the mystery of the worldwide disappearance of the ocean’s fish.” (Catalogue)

Magi : the labyrinth of magic. 1 / Ōtaka, Shinobu
“Inspired by One thousand and one nights, Aladdin, together with Ugo and Alibaba, searches in the desert for the mysterious Dungeons and their riches.” (Catalogue)

No matter how I look at it, it’s you guys’ fault I’m not popular! 1 / Tanigawa, Nico
“Tomoko Kuroki naturally assumed she’d be popular when she got to high school…but then cold, hard reality swooped in for the attack. Turns out all the popularity points she’s racked up in her video game dating sims are worth squat in real life, and Tomoko’s far from prepared to navigate high school. How can she possibly hope to impress her classmates when she can’t even talk to them? A new high-school heroine is born (maybe?).” (Catalogue)

Pandora hearts. Vol. 1 / Mochizuki, Jun
“The air of celebration surrounding fifteen-year-old Oz Vessalius’s coming-of-age ceremony quickly turns to horror when he is condemned for a sin about which he knows nothing. Thrown into the Abyss–an eternal prison from which there is no escape–Oz meets a young girl named Alice, who is not what she seems. Now that the relentless cogs of fate have begun to turn, will they lead only to crushing despair for Oz, or will Alice provide him with some shred of hope?” (Catalogue)

Sakura Hime : the legend of Princess Sakura. 1 / Tanemura, Arina
“Princess Sakura has been engaged to Prince Oura since birth. Wanting to escape a life arranged by others, Sakura runs away and finds she’s caught up to her true destiny. She is the granddaughter of a mysterious moon princess who slew demons with her Blood Cherry Blossom sword. All her life Sakura has been forbidden to look at the full moon without knowing why. Then one night, she gazes up at the moon, only to see a demon attacking her…” (Catalogue)

Shugo Chara! 1, Who do you want to be? / Peach-Pit
“Everybody at Seiyo Elementary thinks that stylish and super cool Amu has it all: But nobody knows the real Amu, a shy girl who wishes she had the courage to truly be herself. Changing Amu’s life is going to take more than wishes and dreams-it’s going to take a little magic! One morning, Amu finds a surprise in her bed: three strange little eggs. Each egg contains a Guardian Character, an angel-like being who can give her the power to be someone new. With the help of her Guardian Characters, Amu is about to discover that her true self is even more amazing than she ever dreamed. This volume of Shugo Chara! includes special extras after the story!” (Catalogue)

Library wars : love & war. 1 / Yumi, Kiiro
“In the near future, the federal government creates a committee to rid society of books it deems unsuitable. The libraries vow to protect their collections, and with the help of local governments, form a military group to defend themselves – the Library Forces! Iku Kasahara has dreamed of joining the Library Defense Force ever since one of its soldiers stepped in to protect her favorite book from being confiscated in a bookstore when she was younger. But now that she’s finally a recruit, she’s finding her dream job to be a bit of a nightmare. Especially since her hard-hearted drill instructor seems to have it in for her!” (Catalogue)

Demon love spell. 1 / Shinjō, Mayu
“Miko is a shrine maiden who has never had much success at seeing or banishing spirits. Then she meets Kagura, a sexy demon who feeds off women’s feelings of passion and love. Kagura’s insatiable appetite has left many girls at school brokenhearted, so Miko casts a spell to seal his powers. Surprisingly the spell works sort of but now Kagura is after her!” (Catalogue)

Captive hearts. Vol. 1 / Hino, Matsuri
“Carefree Megumi Kuroishi was living a life of luxury until the day a girl named Suzuka Kogami walked into his life. All of a sudden, Meguni finds himself kneeling at suzuka’s feet and prostrating himself like a servant! What Megumi doesn’t know (until that very moment anyway) is that his family is cursed to follow the orders of the Kogami family. Being carried around everwhere and having handsome Megumi act like a slave may seem ideal, but Suzuka just wishes he would stop. Can anything be done about Megumi’s captive state? Or is Megumi doomed to see Suzuka as his master…forever?”” (Catalogue)

8 reasons why you should check out our updated Teen book lists! (Number 3 will shock you)

Hopefully the excitingly click-bait-y title has managed to grab your attention. Let’s get into it!

We are always in the process of updating our Teen book lists. You can find them by clicking that link I just gave you, or by clicking on the “Book lists” tab under the “Teen Blog” header. And I am here to tell you about all the exciting reasons you should go read them!

1. New booklists = new books
When we update our book lists, we make sure we include recently released titles to give you something fresh and exciting to read. Maybe you’re a romance reader who’s read their way through every YA romance published before 2018 and desperately needs to find something new. Well never fear, because in our new-and-improved Romantic fiction book list you will find titles such as The Henna Wars (published in 2020), and Love in English (published in 2021)!

2. We’ve got your genre

Whatever genre you’re into, we’ll have something for you. We have many different lists of individual titles for you, as well as a list of the all the languages other than English we have books in and which libraries you can find them at.

Whether you’re into Horror, Dystopia, or Manga, we’ve got you covered!

3. They can help with your NCEA independent reading

If you’re looking for things to read for school, we can help! Our lists will definitely have something new to you, and you’ve got a lot to choose from. Choosing a book award winner or classic novel will almost certainly impress your teacher, or you could read a Māori author or a book from around the world.

We’ve also got a list specially tailored to those of you who are new to high school which covers many different genres

4. We pay attention to what you’re looking at

Over here on the Teen Blog, we pay attention to what you’re reading (as part of our mission to overtake the Kids Blog readership numbers!). And we noticed that quite a few of you have been browsing the “New Zealand Books” tag. So you didn’t ask, but we have listened and we have created a brand new New Zealand fiction book list just for you!

Yes, you.

5. Get recommendations from the best

While it may be a little proudful to claim that we are the best, this is our job and I think we’re doing pretty well. We work with books, we read a lot of books, and we know books. If there’s a book on one of our lists there’s a high chance it has been read and loved by one of your librarians (like The long way to a small, angry planet. Ugh, so good). So you can trust us! Or at least know that we’re doing our best.

And that leads me towards the next reason which is…

6. We’ve put a lot of work into these

As I’ve said, we try our best to make these lists the best they can be. The best example here is the Books from around the world list. This list features authors who write works set in their own countries, and it is one of our longest lists because our goal is to have at least one book for every country in the world! And what’s more, we’re not just picking books willy-nilly, no, we’re making sure that each book on this list (even if it’s not in the Young Adult collection) features kids or teens in prominent places in the story!

So it’s not that I’m begging you to look at our lists, but we did a useful thing – look at it please?

7. We’re always waiting for your recommendations

While we do rely on our own knowledge and reading preferences, we love hearing from you about what you’re reading and what you think. Whether you’re chatting with the librarian at your local branch or submitting a book review for the Teen Blog, we do want to hear what you think! And maybe your recommendations will make their way onto a list…

And that’s the end of my list of reasons why you should check out our Teen book lists. Like every clickbait article, I have made sure to promise more reasons than I have actually delivered, and I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not number 3 shocked you.

So go forth! Investigate, issue, reserve, and read!

Books About Stuff and Other Things: New Non-fiction for Teens

Librarians spend a good deal of time scouring publication lists and trawling through horrifying numbers (like, you have no idea) of online reviews to settle on which books we should buy for our collection. Among the comics, fantasy epics, dystopian hellscapes, romantic comedies, and other fictional titles that routinely land on our desks, are analysed, and then purchased in their hundreds every month, we also seek out books about ~shock of all shocks~ reality. Stuff, things, and other such delights. Our non-fiction collections comprise books on just about every topic under the sun (and even some topics beyond the sun, but that’s a conversation for another day.)

Today, for your delectation, we are serving up some brand new books about nerdy stuff, hip-hop, jobs and careers, sex and sexuality, neurodivergence, and the environment — head down to your local library (or smash that handy and convenient “Reserve Now” button) and dig in!

Can’t stop won’t stop : a hip-hop history / Chang, Jeff
“From award-winning author Jeff Chang, Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is the story of hip-hop, a generation-defining movement and the music that transformed American politics and culture forever. Hip hop is one of the most dominant and influential cultures in America, giving new voice to the younger generation. It defines a generation’s worldview. Exploring hip hop’s beginnings up to the present day, Jeff Chang and Dave “Davey D” Cook provide a provocative look into the new world that the hip hop generation has created. Based on original interviews with DJs, b-boys, rappers, activists, and gang members, with unforgettable portraits of many of hip hop’s forebears, founders, mavericks, and present day icons, this book chronicles the epic events, ideas and the music that marked the hip hop generation’s rise.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Depression : insights and tips for teenagers / Cognevich, Christie
“This book offers relatable situations and strategies to guide teens struggling with mental health–including identifying signs of struggle, recognizing stress factors, and offering strategies to escape harmful mental habits which can leave individuals feeling vulnerable, helpless, or in despair.” (Catalogue)

Queerly autistic : the ultimate guide for LGBTQIA+ teens on the spectrum / Ekins, Erin
“From coming out to friends and family through to relationships, self-care and coping with bullying, being out and about in the LGBTQIA+ community and undergoing gender transition, this book is filled with essential information, advice, support and resources to help you on your journey, and also works as a primer on all things LGBTQIA+ for non-autistic teens just figuring it all out.” (Catalogue)

Coming out : insights and tips for teenagers / Endsley, Kezia
“This book addresses the hows and whys of coming out, as well as potential concerns teenagers may have–including how to know when you’re ready to come out, who to tell first, and how to deal with unsupportive people. First-hand accounts from teenagers provide personal insight throughout.” (Catalogue)

Marvel monsters : creatures of the Marvel universe explored / Knox, Kelly
“All Super Heroes need a monster to fight, or a monstrous sidekick to help them. Some are even monsters themselves. This comprehensive field guide to Marvel flora, fauna, and beasts great and small shows off claws, teeth, tails, and wings in sumptuous, never-seen-before detail. From tyrannosaurus rexes from alternative worlds and genetically modified deinonychuses from the future, to purple cat-sized dragons and swamp monsters, the Marvel multiverse is brimming with creatures both heroic and villainous. Explore swamps and the Savage Lands and more. Discover aerial beasts, artificially created creatures, and even monster team ups. This anthology is a beautifully curated guide to the best and the worst and ensures you will never get Fin Fang Foom and Tim Boom Ba mixed up again! © 2021 MARVEL” (Catalogue)

Hothouse Earth : the climate crisis and the importance of carbon neutrality / McPherson, Stephanie Sammartino
“As hurricanes, droughts, floods, and wildfires are increasing in regularity and intensity, climate change can no longer be ignored. Melting permafrost, forest dieback, ocean acidification, and other processes are creating positive feedback loops which could, if not aggressively and quickly addressed, spiral out of control and take global warming past the point of no return. Hothouse Earth examines how science, politics, and social justice must all be part of the equation to counteract climate change.” (Catalogue)

The world of Critical Role : the history behind the epic fantasy / Marsham, Liz
“A guide to the massively popular fantasy RPG livestream offers previously unreleased photos and artwork, sharing cast insights into its origins and storylines as well as the diverse array of art and cosplay that Critical Role inspires.” (Catalogue)

Let’s talk about it : the teen’s guide to sex, relationships, and being a human / Moen, Erika
“Growing up is complicated. How do you find the answers to all the questions you have about yourself, about your identity, and about your body? Let’s Talk About It provides a comprehensive, thoughtful, well-researched graphic novel guide to everything you need to know. Covering relationships, friendships, gender, sexuality, anatomy, body image, safe sex, sexting, jealousy, rejection, sex education, and more, Let’s Talk About It is the go-to handbook for every teen, and the first in graphic novel form.” (Catalogue)

Love your career from the start : making decisions for your future – a guide for young adults / Sandford, Caroline
“This practical book for 15-25-year-olds introduces the four key stages involved in making good decisions for your future. It contains easy exercises that will help you: understand who you are and who you want to become, explore the options that are right for you, create an action plan that ensures you have what you need to realise your goals, identify the strategies your need to create the future that YOU want.” (Catalogue)

From the Vaults VI: More Manga Gems

We have already posted in this very blog series about the treasure trove of manga titles that are available for you to reserve — over 170 series or stand-alone titles, for a total of over 4,000 unique volumes to peruse. And though we’ve been buying more manga for our branch libraries so it’s easier for you to browse, there’s still a sizeable chunk of the manga collection on the shelves at Te Pātaka, our collection and distribution centre, just waiting for you to reserve it. Read on to discover some of the library’s hidden manga gems.

Bleach. Volume 1, Strawberry and the soul reaper / Kubo, Tite

What better way to start this list than with iconic shōnen series Bleach? All 74 volumes of the legendary adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki and Rukia Kuchiki can be found on the shelves at Te Pātaka, and you can reserve them to get sent wherever you like. If you’re still into doing things old-school, you can also find the Bleach anime (movies and series) on DVD on our catalogue. If you haven’t yet descended into the world of Soul Reapers and Hollows, spirits and afterlives, well, now is as good a time as any.

The drifting classroom. Volume 1 / Umezu, Kazuo

The Drifting Classroom is truly a hidden gem in our manga collection. First published in Japan in 1972 by horror mangaka Kazuo Umezu, this series won him the prestigious Shogakukan Manga Award in 1974. After a supernatural tremor causes young Sho Takamatsu’s classroom to transport to an otherworldly post-apocalyptic wasteland, he and his classmates find themselves beset by nightmares, monsters, and creeping madness as they try to find a way back to their homes. Side note: this chilling and beautifully illustrated manga was adapted into the film Drifting School in 1995 — the film itself was generally poorly-received, but it did serve to kick-start the career of one Drake Bell, in the role of Kenny Smith!

A drifting life / Tatsumi, Yoshihiro

One of the more ‘literary’ sets on this list, Eisner Award-winning manga A Drifting Life is often read as an autobiographical series chronicling the life of the author, Yoshihiro Tatsumi, in the early stages of his career as a mangaka. Metafictional efforts like this can sometimes come across as a little stilted or forced (“Oh wow, another book about how much of a struggle it is to write a book”) — not so with A Drifting Life. The art is by turns sparkling and muted, the text by turns dense and sparse, as the situation demands. This is a work of art about work and art that you really shouldn’t miss. 

Magic knight Rayearth. [Volume 1] / CLAMP (Mangaka group)

A classic of both the magical girl and mecha genres, CLAMP’s Magic Knight Rayearth sits among the greats of 90s shōjo manga — a feat that is even more impressive when you consider this period contains some of the true stalwarts of the genre — we’re talking like Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura levels here. Action-packed, strong characterisations, and an epic video game-esque story treatment characterise this series. It’s little wonder it spawned no fewer than six video game adaptations in its history.

My lesbian experience with loneliness / Nagata, Kabi

Okay, okay, I know we’ve written about this incredible standalone volume before on this very blog. But look, who could blame us for wanting to highlight it again? It’s funny, it’s sad, it’s expressive, it’s relatable — you definitely won’t regret picking it up. My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness made a massive splash when it burst onto the scenes in 2017 — interestingly, for a manga title, it didn’t just have an impact in Japan, but also in Western media, where it won the Crunchyroll ‘Manga of the Year’ award, was listed among the best comics of the 2017 on both Publishers Weekly and Amazon, also picking up a Harvey Award for Best Manga.

NonNonBa / Mizuki, Shigeru

Shigeru Mizuki’s critically-acclaimed NonNonBa is rightly considered one of the finest examples of gekiga (劇画) style comics, defined by its stylised, dramatic and cinematic artistic style and more esoteric subject matter. NonNonBa is at its heart a story about Mizuki’s childhood, and his complex relationship with his grandmother, which is intersected by their explorations of the world of yōkai (妖怪), the supernatural spirits of Japanese folklore. This was the first manga title to win the coveted Angoulême Prize for Best Album, the Fauve d’Or, in 2007.
Orange : the complete collection. 1 / Takano, Ichigo

What’s not to love about Orange? This is a brilliant story that fuses elements of romance and sci-fi tropes such as time travel into a very compelling slice-of-life package that is very hard to put down. The overall mood is quite sombre in places, as the series definitely doesn’t shy away from exploring some pretty dark places thematically, but the promise of hope is never far from sight. 

Otherworld Barbara. Vol. 1 / Hagio, Moto

Okay, so this is definitely a weird one, but hear us out. This science fiction thriller really throws the whole kitchen sink at the reader. Cannibalistic, murderous nine-year-olds? Check. Eccentric clergyman who possibly holds the secret to immortality? Check. An absolutely wild ride that delivers everything it promises and more? Check. We can’t promise you won’t be a little bit disturbed, but sometimes the best art can take you far beyond your comfort zone.

Ouran High School Host Club. Vol. 1 / Hatori, Bisco

Another one we’ve promoted before in this redoubtable publication. We will never not stan for Ouran High School Host Club. We hear the anime is on Netflix now, but trust us, you’ll want to read the manga first. It’s just so great!

Sakura Hime : the legend of Princess Sakura. 1 / Tanemura, Arina

So Sakura Hime isn’t about to win any major awards for originality. It does what it says on the tin. It’s a shōjo manga series featuring all the usual tropes: cutesy characters with a (slightly bloodthirsty) taste for magical combat, man-eating demons to be defeated, a touch of romance, and a band of friends who together can surely take on any challenge. But it does it so well. And we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by some of the depth and nuance afforded to Sakura, our 14-year-old royal protagonist, and her friends. This is a good one — check it out if this is your kind of thing!

Yu-Gi-Oh! Zexal Volume 1, The name’s Yuma! / Yoshida, Shin

Yes, there is a Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. Is it good? Well, you be the judge. We will definitely say that the art is amazing. Like weirdly amazing for a spinoff of a spinoff of an anime that’s a spinoff of a trading card game that’s a spinoff of yet another anime that itself is the spinoff of a manga from the mid-90s. Give it a try; you might just like it!

Star Wars Day: A New Hope for us all?

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.  
image courtesy of starwarsnewsnet
This year, you can celebrate by visiting your local library, relive and check out fiction, (as well as non fictioncomics and movies) all related to anything and everything from the Star Wars universe!

Read the following fiction:

image courtesy of syndeticsForce collector.

“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)

image courtesy of syndeticsLeia, Princess of Alderaan.

“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)

image courtesy of syndeticsAhsoka.

“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)


Read the following non fiction:

image courtesy of syndeticsHow Star Wars conquered the universe : the past, present, and future of a multibillion dollar franchise.

“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)

image courtesy of syndeticsThe making of Star Wars : the definitive story behind the original film : based on the lost interviews from the official Lucasfilm archives.

“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)

image courtesy of syndeticsStar Wars encyclopedia.

“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).

Watch the films: The nine-part Skywalker saga!

Original trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.com.image courtesy of amazon.comimage courtesy of amazon.com

Star Wars [original trilogy]

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)

Prequel trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.com

Star Wars [prequel trilogy].

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)

Sequel trilogy:

image courtesy of amazon.comThe Force Awakens:

“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)


image courtesy of amazon.comThe Last Jedi.

“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)


image courtesy of amazon.comThe Rise of Skywalker.

“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.



Enjoy!… and May the Fourth be with you!

These School Holidays, General Nerdery Awaits

So the April school holidays are only a couple of weeks away. We thought we would cordially invite you to join us in revelling in our collective General Nerdery throughout the holidays.

This .gif will never not give us life. Amen.

Everyone has something that they get nerdy about. For some it’s board games and tabletop RPGs (here’s lookin’ at you, D&D kids), for some it’s comics or movies (or movies about comics), for yet others the thrill of creation and expression will be what gets their Spidey-senses a-tingling. The good news is, we have a pile of events to suit you, whether you’re a digital nerd or more of a hands-on type. Dear reader, this is your chance to let out your inner geek and let them strut around with the rest of us! Read on to find out more, or click here for the full breakdown of what’s on where.

Tara Black x Dylan Horrocks: Talk and Draw!

Talk and draw with Tara Black in discussion with Dylan Horrocks
If you’re a graphic artist, zine artist or comic book fan, this event is a must-see! Come along to hear Tara Black in conversation with Dylan Horrocks. Part workshop, part overview, part discussion — join us for what promises to be a fabulous, informative, and entertaining event.

We’ve already blogged extensively about this event — click here for the full and juicy deets!

  • Johnsonville Library, Saturday 17 April, 1.00-2.00pm

Arapaki Games Night

Join us at Arapaki Library on Manners Street for a night of boardgame fun! People of all age groups are welcome, and you can come along as an individual or as a group. We have a great selection of games, but you are welcome to bring your own favourites to share with others as well. BYO snacks!

  • Arapaki Library, Monday 19 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm

Embroider Your Own Patch

Join us at Johnsonville Library during the school holidays to learn how to embroider your own patch that you can sew onto your clothes, schoolbag, or jacket! Wear your nerdy finery with pride and chill with like-minded folx in the library while picking up a rad new skill and levelling up your DEX stat at the same time! We’ll provide the materials; all you need to do is turn up!

  • Johnsonville Library, Tuesday 20 April, 2.00 – 5.00pm
  • Johnsonville Library, Tuesday 27 April, 2.00 – 5.00pm

Experience VR!

Virtual reality (VR) offers us a new and exciting way to learn about and experience the world around us. From 3D painting and virtual sculpting to exploring some of the world’ most extreme location (and, okay, maybe a bit of Beat Sabre thrown in for good measure), this is your opportunity to experience VR from the safety and comfort of your local library.

  • Karori Library, Tuesday 20 April, 3.30 – 4.30pm
  • Cummings Park (Ngaio) Library, Thursday 29 April, 3.30 – 4.30pm

Zine Make ‘n’ Swap

Come on down to Arapaki Library on Manners Street every Tuesday evening to spend some time making zines and socialising with other local zinemakers. We’ll supply plenty of materials, but feel free to bring your own as well. Once you’ve finished putting your zines together, you can swap with other zinemakers and/or donate your completed zines to the library, which people will then be able to browse and borrow!

  • Arapaki Library, Tuesday 20 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm
  • Arapaki Library, Tuesday 27 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm

Chess!

If you enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit, come along to Arapaki Library on Manners Street and join us for some games of chess! We have two chess sets available, or you are welcome to bring your own, for an evening of challenging games. People of all age groups and ability levels are super welcome.

  • Arapaki Library, Wednesday 21 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm
  • Arapaki Library, Wednesday 28 April, 5.00 – 6.45pm

Fort Night

Okay, we baited you, it’s not what you think it is. Come along to Tawa Library to literally turn the teen section into a giant box fort. That’s it. That’s the event. You’ll love it, we promise! Maybe you’ll even love it so much that you want to do it twice!

  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library, Thursday 22 April, 4.00 – 6.00pm
  • Mervyn Kemp (Tawa) Library, Thursday 29 April, 4.00 – 6.00pm

Teen Zine Machine

Wellington Zinefest’s Lucky Drop Zine Machine has its temporary home with us at Johnsonville Library. Join us for this special zine-making workshop to learn how you can write and construct your own zines, either to take home or to add to our library’s collection! Your work will be proudly displayed alongside other works of ziney genius such as ButtsJudith Collins on Race, and Butts. Did we mention we have a zine called Butts? We’re not exactly setting the bar high here!

  • Johnsonville Library, Friday 23 April, 2.00 – 3.30pm
  • Johnsonville Library, Friday 30 April, 2.00 – 3.30pm

Nature Heroes: Board Game Creation Workshop

Johnsonville Library is excited to work with VIVITA Aotearoa to bring this VIVISTOP Mini pop-up programme to the library. During this 5-day workshop, you will learn about the concepts of design thinking, engage in creative problem solving, learn to use software and hardware and other tools in the library’s Tūhura HIVE Makerspace, and then apply these lessons to the creation of a board game centred around the theme of conservation.

This workshop is FREE, but space is limited to 15 participants. Click here to register. Nature Heroes: Board Game Creation Workshop is suitable for young creators aged 9-15.

  • Johnsonville Library, Tuesday 27 April to Saturday 1 May (inclusive), 10.00am – 12.00pm

Waitohi Youth Night

Come to our after-hours Youth Night to find a space to be yourself in all your nerdy glory, and meet other like-minded teens. Check out the coll tech in Tūhura | The HIVE, record music, play games, watch movies, read a book, or just hang out — our space is yours! And yes, we will feed you pizza.

During Youth Night, the library is closed to other customers. You need to be over 14, so make sure you come ready to show your school ID at the door.

  • Johnsonville Library, Saturday 1 May, 5.00 – 8.00pm

Dungeons and Dragons One-Shot with Julz Burgisser

Join superstar Dungeon Master and podcaster Julz Burgisser for this Dungeons and Dragons one-shot for teens. Pre-generated characters will be available to choose from, so we get into the game as quickly as possible, and no prior D&D experience is required. Character sheets, pens, and dice will all be provided — but make sure you bring a drink or snack, as we’ll be playing for a while!

This event is for teens aged 14-18 who are wanting to try D&D for the first time. Please register your interest by emailing johnsonville.library@wcc.govt.nz as spaces are strictly limited.

Find out more about Julz, and this one-shot, here!

  • Johnsonville Library, Sunday 2 May, 12.00 – 3.00pm

Tara Black x Dylan Horrocks: An Event You Don’t Want to Miss

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.


The Eisner Award-winning Dylan Horrocks, of course, is one of the most talented and versatile cartoonists working in the scene today. His works range from the meta-comic tour-de-force that is Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen (VUP, 2014) to the iconic Hicksville (Black Eye Comics, 1998), which I choose to believe draws some inspiration from my own home town of Hastings, which may have been briefly known as Hicksville in the early 1870s, with a healthy dose of work on the Batman and Batgirl comics in the early-mid 2000s.

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)

Making Sense of the World Around Us

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.

Eyes wide open : going behind the environmental headlines / Fleischman, Paul

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.

Hope was here / Bauer, Joan

A powerful story about a young woman finding her place in a new society and how her everyday choices draw her further into local politics.

 

 

Legacy / Hereaka, Whiti

“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)

Saints and misfits : a novel / Ali, S. K

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.

 

The tyrant’s daughter / Carleson, J. C.

“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)

The dharma punks / Sang, Anthony

“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)

Bernie Sanders guide to political revolution / Sanders, Bernard

“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 : 16 fearless activists who have changed the world / Ross, Michael Elsohn

“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)

Dawn Raid / Smith, Pauline

“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)

The rise of the Nazis / Tonge, Neil

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.

 

Persepolis / Satrapi, Marjane

“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)

Hindsight : pivotal moments in New Zealand history / Hager, Mandy

Hindsight is a good look at four key moments in New Zealand history and how they affected our society as a nation.

 

Books with Bodies Like Mine

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!

Here are few of my favourite so far…

Dumplin’ / Murphy, Julie

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.

Eleanor & Park / Rowell, Rainbow

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!

Shrill : notes from a loud woman / West, Lindy

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.

Huge : a novel / Paley, Sasha

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.

Faith / Houser, Jody

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.

 

Happy fat : taking up space in a world that wants to shrink you / Hagen, Sofie

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.

 

 

From Shelves to Screen

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.

Paper Girls. 1 / Vaughan, Brian K

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.

Lumberjanes. [1], Beware the kitten holy / Stevenson, Noelle

Word is that Lumberjanes has been picked up by HBO Max for an animated TV series with author Noelle Stevenson as project showrunner and I’m thrilled.  The action packed storylines are perfect for an animated series, and Noelle has proved her skill at animated series with the She-Ra and the Princesses of Power reboot as well as the Big Hero Six series.  I just want to see Ripley animated really.

Sweet Tooth [1] : out of the deep woods / Lemire, Jeff

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.

Y : the last man [1] : unmanned / Vaughan, Brian K

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.

The Sandman. Volume 1, Preludes & nocturnes / Gaiman, Neil

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)?

Special mention…

Grasshopper jungle : a history / Smith, Andrew

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.

From the Vaults I: Manga

The vast collections of the Wellington Central Library have finally found a home in the Te Pātaka Collection Distribution Centre in Johnsonville, and the extensive YA collection is now available to borrow. The process is simple — just locate the item in our online catalogue, click “Reserve Item,” enter your card number and PIN, and select which library you’d like it to be sent to.

But some things are a little more difficult now that you can’t go and browse the shelves yourself. Even if you know what you’re looking for, and even though our catalogue does a pretty good job of telling you what we have and where it is, sometimes stuff is just hard to find. So we thought we’d start a blog series — From The Vaults — highlighting some of the cool stuff you can reserve.

 'I could find all the books I need on the catalogue myself, if only there weren't so many cats in the way!'

Let’s start with manga. Manga (漫画 or マンガ or まんが) are pocket-sized comics normally originating from Japan. That’s not to say that manga can only come from Japan — many countries have their own independent industries now, from Korean manhwa (만화) and Chinese mànhuà (漫画) to manfra in France. They are usually printed in black-and-white, and read right-to-left, a feature which some say dates back to manga’s origins in 12th-century scrolls. Regardless of when it all started, manga are extremely popular today in Japan, and increasingly outside of Japan as well.

Wellington City Libraries has an extensive collection of manga series and stand-alone titles, from popular series like Naruto, Death Note, and Cardcaptor Sakura to alternative and underground works like Anomal and Iceland. As most of the books in this collection were held at Central, and are now in the closed stacks at Te Pātaka, we have produced a master list of all of the manga we hold — over 160 series and stand-alone titles, along with quick descriptions of the genres, themes, and target audiences of each manga. Sometimes, due to items being damaged or lost, you might notice that a series is incomplete. Never fear! Just get in touch with us using the Suggestion To Buy form, and we’ll move heaven and earth to locate that pesky missing volume and give you the satisfying and complete reading experience you need and deserve.

Go forth and explore! In the meantime, as it’s currently the Out On The Shelves campaign week, we thought we’d pick out some of our favourite manga featuring LGBTQ+ characters and themes.

Wandering son. Volume one / Shimura, Takako
{reps: trans*, lesbian}
Set in that period between the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence, this gorgeous manga from arguably Japan’s greatest master of LGBTQ+ stories, Takako Shimura, Wandering Son follows friends Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki as they navigate school, life, and their relationships along with their growing understanding of their own gender identities. This is one of the few manga series to feature trans* characters as protagonists — and trust us when we say it’s not to be missed.

My lesbian experience with loneliness / Nagata, Kabi
{reps: lesbian}
My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness is an honest and heartfelt look at one young woman’s exploration of her sexuality, mental well-being, and growing up in our modern age. Told using expressive artwork that invokes both laughter and tears, this moving and highly entertaining single volume depicts not only the artist’s burgeoning sexuality, but many other personal aspects of her life that will resonate with readers.

My brother’s husband. Volume 1 / Tagame, Gengoroh
{reps: gay}
Yaichi is a work-at-home suburban dad in contemporary Tokyo; formerly married to Natsuki and father to their young daughter, Kana. Their lives suddenly change with the arrival at their doorstep of a hulking, affable Canadian named Mike Flanagan, who declares himself the widower of Yaichi’s estranged gay twin, Ryoji. Mike is on a quest to explore Ryoji’s past, and the family reluctantly but dutifully takes him in. What follows is an unprecedented and heartbreaking look at the state of a largely still-closeted Japanese gay culture: how it’s been affected by the West, and how the next generation can change the preconceptions about it and prejudices against it.

Pretty guardian Sailor Moon. 1 / Takeuchi, Naoko
{reps: lesbian}
Usagi Tsukino is a normal girl until she meets up with Luna, a talking cat, who tells her that she is Sailor Moon. As Sailor Moon, Usagi must fight evils and enforce justice, in the name of the Moon and the mysterious Moon Princess. Anyone familiar with the history of manga and anime will have at least passing familiarity with Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon — and the same-sex relationship between Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus is legendary among fans of the series.

Overdrive cover Bloom Into You, Volume 1, Nakatani Nio (ebook)
{reps: lesbian}
Yuu has always adored shoujo manga and yearns for the day when someone might give her a love confession that would send her heart aflutter. Yet when a junior high school classmate confesses his feelings to her–she feels nothing. Disappointed and confused, Yuu enters high school, where she sees the confident and beautiful student council member Nanami. When the next person to confess to Yuu is Nanami herself, has her romantic dream finally come true?

Ouran High School Host Club. Vol. 1 / Hatori, Bisco
{reps: genderfluid/genderqueer, queer}
Ouran High School Host Club is a great shōjo manga from the early 2000s that almost single-handedly deconstructs many of society’s most carefully-constructed preconceptions about gender roles, sexuality, and gender identity. Main character Haruhi is biologically female, but presents androgynously and has no hang-ups about adopting a very fluid approach to their gender. In the original Japanese, they refer to themselves almost exclusively using gender-neutral pronouns (a feature that is sadly lost in the English translation — see a nuanced discussion of gender in OHSHC here), and their parent, Ryoji, is openly queer and presents in drag most times we meet him. Read and enjoy, friends!

Cardcaptor Sakura. Book 1 / CLAMP (Mangaka group)
{reps: lesbian, bisexual, gay, pansexual, genderqueer}
When Sakura Kinomoto finds a strange book in her father’s library, the only thing left inside is Kero-chan, the book’s cute little guardian beast, who informs Sakura that since the Clow cards escaped while he was asleep, it’s now her job to capture them. Cardcaptor Sakura is revolutionary among mainstream manga for its easy and natural portrayal of a wide range of LGBTQ+ characters, including Sakura herself (pan), her best friend Tomoyo (lesbian), and a steady, loving gay couple (Toya and Yukito). Plus there’s plenty of epic fantasy elements and a great story to boot.

New Simultaneous Collections on OverDrive!

We heard a rumour that you guys might quite like books. We also like books. So, we’ve created a new collection of always-available eBooks and audiobooks for you to enjoy any time, anywhere. Check out the Teen Book Club Reads section on OverDrive or Libby for the full list, but for now, here are some of our faves:

Overdrive cover Two Boys Kissing, David Levithan (ebook)
{LGBTQ+, romance, slice-of-life}
Two Boys Kissing is a cornerstone work of queer YA literature. Told from the perspectives of four boys “under the watchful eyes of a Greek chorus of a generation of men lost to AIDS,” this book explores questions of identity and emotion, and the often intimate connections between history and the personal. While you’re drying your eyes and restoring your breathing patterns to normal following this essential book, check out our LGBTQIA+ Fiction booklist for your next literary fix.

Overdrive cover Aspiring, Damien Wilkins (ebook)
{NZ author, small town, coming-of-age}
We’ve already talked about our enduring love for this book, which is a finalist in the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, on a previous post on this very blog. Trust us when we say that you will not regret immersing yourself in the unforgettably wry and observational voice of 15-year-old Ricky, crafted and shaped by Damien Wilkins’ bold and beguiling prose.

Overdrive cover Monster, Michael Grant (ebook)
{dystopian, science fiction, action}
From the author of the crazily popular Gone series comes this new trilogy, available for the first time on OverDrive as a Book Club read. In the aftermath of the Perdido Beach meteorite and the deadly wave of mutations that followed, Earth is once again being struck by meteorites bearing an even more deadly virus. This time, the whole world is exposed, and humans are beginning to change, again, some gaining unfathomable power. Sound like your kind of thing? We have the follow-ups Hero and Villain available for your delectation as well.

Overdrive cover You Can Do a Graphic Novel, Barbara Slate (ebook)
{non fiction, art, creative writing, comics}
If you’ve ever been interested in the art of creating graphic novels and comics, this nifty guide is meant for you! It starts at the start — with the story — and shows you the ropes as you move through the whole creative process, from drawing techniques and layout/structure tips, to how to deal with creative block and building strong and recognisable characters. Who knows, we may just see your work on our shelves in the zine collections at Arapaki, He Matapihi, and Newtown Libraries!

Overdrive cover Feminism, Nadia Abushanab Higgins (ebook)
{non fiction, feminism, social sciences, women}
This book is a concise and well-written introduction to the concepts and movements embodied by the word ‘feminism,’ which author Nadia Abushanab Higgins describes as “America’s new F-word.” Although it does have an undeniable focus on the history and contemporary definitions of feminism in the United States, it still provides a useful international perspective on the movement through really interesting profiles of pioneers including Gloria Steinem, Rebecca Walker, Elizabeth Stanton, and more. If you’re interested in the intersectionality between feminism and the Black Lives Matter and #GiveNothingToRacism movements, we have a great introduction for you here.

We Need These eManga in Our Lives (and so do you)

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.

Overdrive cover 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.

Overdrive cover 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.

Overdrive cover 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.

Overdrive cover 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.

Overdrive cover 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!

Webcomic collections

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.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHomestuck 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.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGirl 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.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsYou 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.

Other webcomics we have in printed format include Gunnerkrigg Court and Hark: a vagrant.

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