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The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… One Piece

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character or series. This post is all about the story of a kid who wants to be King of the Pirates and sets out find the world’s greatest treasure: One Piece!

The Straw Hats’ ship, the Thousand Sunny, sails off into the horizon (via GIPHY)

What is One Piece?

Luffy (centre) and the Straw Hats (clockwise from top left) Nami, Zoro, Brook, Franky, Usopp, Sanji, Robin, and Chopper (via GIPHY)

One Piece is a weekly manga published by the anthology manga magazine Weekly Shōnen Jump. Written and drawn by mangaka (manga artist) Eiichirō Oda, it’s the longest-running manga in the magazine’s history, running for over 26 years, and has been adapted into movies, video games, a long-running anime, and a live-action TV series on Netflix.

The story of One Piece takes place following the capture of notorious pirate Gol D. Roger, who proclaims before his execution that he hid a fabulous treasure named ‘The One Piece’ at the end of the world’s most perilous ocean, the Grand Line. This inspires a generation of pirates to seek out the treasure, including Monkey D. Luffy, a boy with the power of the Gum-Gum Fruit, which allows him to stretch his body like rubber at the cost of being able to swim.

Luffy gathers a loyal crew (named the ‘Straw Hat Pirates’ after his signature lid) including ace swordsman Zoro, sassy cat burglar Nami, cowardly sharpshooter Usopp, and chivalrous chef Sanji, and they set off to find the One Piece, battling rival pirates, crime lords, sea monsters, corrupt governments, and despotic rulers, while gathering new crew members along the way.

How do I start reading One Piece?

Start at Volume 1! You can reserve it here or start reading here on our eLibrary app Libby. We have the first four volumes on the eLibrary, and the first 99 volumes of the series in tankōbon (manga collection). In fact, the most recent tankōbon in our collection has the series milestone 1000th chapter in it, which sets up the series’ final arc. So now has never been a better time to get caught up!

That’s the how explained, but the more important question is why should you start reading One Piece? A series this long is a big commitment, but as someone who is currently up to date with the manga (all 1091 chapters as of this writing), I can tell you from experience that it is well worth the journey. Come aboard, and let us count the ways…

Luffy and the Straw Hats in the order they joined the crew (via GIPHY)

The Story

Come aboard and bring along all your hopes and dreams! (via GIPHY)

While One Piece‘s overall story is literally just the world’s biggest treasure hunt, it’s the journey that matters, as the Straw Hat crew travel from island to island encountering rivals and obstacles to their quest. The series is divided into discrete arcs, which vary in length and build in complexity as more characters are introduced and the world gets further fleshed out.

My personal favourite One Piece arcs are:

Baroque Works (vol 13-24) – The Straw Hats help a princess disguised as a bounty hunter save her desert kingdom of Arabasta from Crocodile, a crime lord with the power of the Sand-Sand Fruit. The first major arc of the series which sets the template for the rest of One Piece’s storylines.

Skypiea (vol 25-33) – Arguably the most imaginative setting in One Piece, here the crew ascends up a giant geyser to a civilization in the sky, where ships can sail on clouds and an indigenous population protects their land from the ‘Sky People’ and the self-proclaimed lightning god Eneru.

Enies Lobby (vol 39-45) – After fighting through a train that rides over the ocean, the Straw Hats must rescue a member of the crew from a government stronghold guarded by highly trained secret agents. This arc sees the crew come face-to-face with the oppressive World Government, the major governing body of the One Piece world that silences or imprisons anyone who threatens their power.

Impel Down (vol 55-57) – To save his brother Ace from execution, Luffy teams up with a number of the series’ previous villains to break him out of the titular prison island, which is inspired by the circles of Hell from Dante’s Inferno. This story also sets up the Marineford arc, a major turning point in the One Piece narrative and the halfway point of the manga’s overall story.

Whole Cake Island (80-90) – Luffy and half of the Straw Hat crew venture to a chain of fairy tale-inspired islands to save Sanji from an arranged marriage. Despite the island’s (literally) sugar-coated surface, the lands of Whole Cake are ruled with an iron fist by the villainous ‘Big Mom’, a giantess pirate and member of the series most powerful villains, the Four Emperors.

The Fights

Luffy performs his Gum-Gum Jet Gatling attack (via GIPHY)

It wouldn’t be a shōnen manga if the fights weren’t top-notch, and in that respect One Piece does not disappoint. In addition to a litany of sword-wielders, martial artists, cyborgs, and mythical creatures like giants and fishmen that inhabit the Grand Line, we have the signature superpowers of One Piece that come from the mysterious Devil Fruits. When eaten, these fruits grant their user supernatural abilities, ranging from ‘growing extra limbs at will’ to ‘turning into a dinosaur’ to ‘being able to manipulate biscuits’, making the fights incredibly imaginative depending on each character’s particular skillset.

Nico Robin has the Flower-Flower Fruit, allowing her to grow copies of her limbs onto anything or anyone (via GIPHY)

Every One Piece arc has an act dedicated just to Luffy and the Straw Hats going mano-a-mano with the antagonists of that storyline. Over the course of the series, we’ve seen such hits as:

  • The Crew Fights a Pirate Circus, Led by a Clown Who Can Split His Body into Pieces!
  • Who Can Sword More: The Crew’s Swordsman, or A Literal Man Made of Swords?
  • Usopp and Chopper Fight a Mole-Woman and a Guy Whose Dog is a Bazooka!
  • Zoro and Usopp Fight a Sword-Wielding Giraffe-Man… While Handcuffed Together!
  • How Many Biscuit Soldiers Can Luffy Eat in One Battle? The Answer May Surprise You!
  • Sanji Abandons His Noodle Stand and Embraces His Power Ranger Heritage to Beat Up a Spinosaurus-Man!

While those all sound ridiculous, every fight is written with an emphasis on showing growth through conflict, and drawn to showcase action and exaggerate the impact of each blow (it helps when your main character can squash and stretch like a Looney Tune). Some of the best moments in One Piece are when a character overcomes a limitation or sees their motivation in a new light while mid-conflict. It’s classic shōnen manga stuff, but filtered through One Piece‘s signature brand of wackiness, it’ll make you laugh and cheer (and sometimes cry).

Zoro always gets the final cut (via GIPHY)

The Art

The art style of One Piece is unlike a lot of other manga, which in the 90s tended to favour sharper designs and large, expressive eyes. Though Oda was inspired by earlier Japanese mangaka like Akira Toriyama (Dragon Ball), his style also takes influence from Western comics and animation, giving his characters a more noodley, ‘cartoonish’ quality.

When your characters are mostly leg, they gotta know how to use them (via GIPHY)

In contrast, every background in One Piece is drawn with the utmost attention to detail, thanks to Oda and his team of tireless art assistants that maintain the manga’s quality week after week. Because of this unique blend of dense worldbuilding and cartoony characters, the series can shift tones from goofy to serious on a dime, but still never break your immersion in the story.

Yes, the joke is Chopper doesn’t know how to hide, but can we take a second to notice someone had to draw ALL those bricks? (via GIPHY)

Oda is a notorious fiend for research and he puts all on the One Piece page, pulling inspiration from mythology, animation, history (including, naturally, the Golden Age of Piracy), architecture, cinema, even professional wrestling. It keeps the Grand Line interesting, and it only gets better as Oda keeps adding new ideas to the story and grows more confident in his draftsmanship, cramming immense amounts of detail into each page.

Over the course of the series, the Straw Hat crew have visited such imaginative locales as:

  • Baratie, a giant floating restaurant for pirates in the middle of the ocean (I do not envy who had to draw all those floorboards…)
  • Skypiea, a civilization in the clouds built on floating islands, full of dense jungles and ancient temples
  • Water Seven, a massive canal city that puts Venice to shame, with multi-tiered, interconnected river roads
  • Fishman Island, a colourful kingdom of fishmen located deep under the ocean, which can only be accessed by covering your ship in an airtight bubble of a special tree sap and sinking straight down
  • Zou, a society of humanoid animals called ‘Minks’ that live on the back of a colossal, centuries-old talking elephant who walks through the ocean
  • Thriller Bark, a Tim Burton-inspired island full of zombies and Frankensteined animals that’s basically just ‘The Straw Hats go to Nightmare Before Christmas

Five minutes in Thriller Bark and Luffy is already sick of it (via GIPHY)

Oda clearly never wants the series to grow stagnant by staying in one setting for too long, and that promise of novelty is what keeps every One Piece fan coming back to the series week after week.

The Writing

One Piece Quote Analysis #1 | Anime Amino

‘Warlord of the Sea’ Doflamingo explains the ‘justice’ of the Grand Line (GIF via Anime Amino)

A world as dense and diverse as the Grand Line needs to be populated with characters that believably inhabit that world. Every character in One Piece, from the Straw Hat crew to the villains to the incidental villagers, have motivations, habits, beliefs, even specific laughs. But where the manga really shines in terms of character writing is when you get to see how a character became the way they are, and some of One Piece‘s most affecting moments are when a character’s ambition comes into harsh conflict with the unfair world around them.

This comes to a head in the series’ halfway point, the Summit War, a massive battle between the authoritarian World Government and a united army of pirates. The tension in the story comes from not from who will win, but how the winning side will determine what justice in the world gets to be. Pirates are defined against the laws and norms of their society, branded as criminals by the governmental and economic powers of their era. This makes One Piece uniquely suited to explore themes of justice, inequality, and resistance against entrenched power structures. English teachers, take note!

Storylines like Arlong Park and Fishman Island not only examine systemic racism experienced by the series’ unique aquatic peoples, but also their disagreements on how they respond to their oppression. Characters like Nico Robin and Luffy’s brother Ace are targeted for their ties to historical events that the World Government has tried to cover up, touching on ideas of “history being written by the victors” and whether any one person is a criminal simply for existing.

The people of Skypeia fly into battle (via GIPHY)

And in my opinion, the Skypiea arc is one of the best fictional interpretations I’ve seen of indigenous resistance to colonisation, written in a way that is both broad yet specific, and one that immediately made me think of Aotearoa’s own history. Probably helped by the fact that it literally takes place on a land of long white cloud.

The Journey

15 Best anime quotes images | Anime, One piece quotes, Dbz memes

Will Monkey D. Luffy be the one to challenge the world? (via Pinterest)

At over 1000 chapters and counting, One Piece is a truly monumental feat of serialised storytelling for any medium. Unlike American comics, where writers and artists change hands on a title regularly, Eiichirō Oda has been the sole creator of One Piece since it began in July 1997, which gives the series a consistent level of quality. It’s exceedingly rare to read something still being published today that is written and drawn by the same person, where everything that excites, fascinates, and concerns them has been filtered into one work of art over two and a half decades.

With recent buzz that the manga is heading into its finale, all eyes are on One Piece to stick the landing, especially as it’s grown more popular worldwide in recent years. But it would go against the series’ goals to recommend it solely on how it might end. After all, it’s the journey that matters.

Recommending One Piece is like talking about your best overseas trip: you can explain all the specifics of what you did, who you met or how you got there, but you really just have to experience it for yourself. And the more people you can share that experience with, the better it becomes.

Set sail for One Piece! (via GIPHY)

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… The Flash

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ collection of a comic book character. This post is about all the heroes who have held the title of the Fastest Man Alive… The Flash!

(via GIPHY)

Who is The Flash?

After being struck by lightning in a lab accident, police scientist Barry Allen discovers he has the ability to move at superhuman speeds and travel through time. Donning a friction-resistant red-and-yellow suit, Barry protects his home of Central City from the villainous Rogues and traverses time and space as The Flash.

Later, Barry’s nephew Wally West gains super-speed as well and becomes his sidekick Kid Flash, before graduating to becoming the Flash himself.

A Flash Fact about DC Comics history

DC Comics are divided into publishing eras, determined by a point where they set the issue number (and sometimes, continuity) of a series back to #1. These periods are referred to as:

  • ‘Pre-Crisis’ – everything published before 1986
  • ‘Post-Crisis’ – everything published from 1986-2011
  • The New 52 – 2011-2016
  • DC Rebirth – 2016-2021
  • Infinite Frontier – 2021 to present.

This is important to know because the events that define these publishing eras usually have something to do with The Flash; Barry Allen famously dies during the ‘Crisis’, and after being resurrected, he creates the timeline that came to define ‘The New 52’.

If you’d like to know more about DC Comic’s increasingly complicated internal chronology, I recommend checking out DC greatest events : stories that shook the multiverse.


Barry is actually the second Flash: the first was scientist Jay Garrick, who resides on the parallel world of Earth-2. During one of his adventures, Barry travels to Earth-2 and teams up with Jay; this story ‘Flash of Two Worlds’ established the existence of the DC Multiverse, and subsequently the template for all other stories involving multiverses in other media. Barry and Jay would regularly partner up again along with their respective teams, the Justice League and the Justice Society.

Showcase presents The Flash. Volume 2 / Broome, John (includes ‘Flash of Two Worlds’)

The Justice League of America : the Silver Age. Volume three / Fox, Gardner F.

Showcase presents Justice League of America. Volume three / Fox, Gardner

Showcase presents Justice League of America. Volume four / Fox, Gardner


Post-Crisis refers to the point after the story Crisis on Infinite Earths, when the DC Multiverse collapses into one Earth with one shared history. Now the Flash became a succession story: Jay Garrick retires as the Flash after WWII, Barry is inspired by Jay, and after Barry’s death, Wally West takes up the mantle of the Flash.

Mark Waid run

Writer Mark Waid first established the idea that the Flashes get their powers from the ‘Speed Force’, an extradimensional energy that governs all motion across time and space, and can be manipulated to grant super-speed and other powers to its wielders, called ‘speedsters’.

The Flash by Mark Waid. Book one / Waid, Mark

The Flash by Mark Waid. Book four / Waid, Mark

The Flash by Mark Waid. Book five / Waid, Mark

The Flash : emergency stop / Morrison, Grant

The Flash : the human race / Morrison, Grant

(The Flash : emergency stop and The Flash : the human race are also collected together as The Flash / Morrison, Grant)

Geoff Johns run

Under Geoff Johns’ pen, Wally West fights new and old Rogues, starts a family, and learns the cost of being a hero with a public identity from Zoom, a villain who alters the flow of time to move at superhuman speed.

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book two / Johns, Geoff

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book three / Johns, Geoff

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book five / Johns, Geoff


During Final Crisis, Barry Allen is brought back to life and becomes the Flash again. Barry then attempts to rewrite history to prevent his mother’s death, inadvertently creating the ‘Flashpoint’ timeline, a world where Flash, Superman and other heroes never existed.

Absolute final crisis / Morrison, Grant

The Flash : rebirth / Johns, Geoff (also on Libby)

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book six / Johns, Geoff

The Flash : the road to Flashpoint / Johns, Geoff

Flashpoint / Johns, Geoff

The New 52

Barry erases the Flashpoint timeline, but ends up creating The New 52, a simplified timeline which DC Comics used as a springboard to reboot their comics’ shared continuity. As a result of history being rewritten, Barry becomes the one and only Flash.

The Flash. Volume 1, Move forward / Manapul, Francis
(also on Libby)

The Flash. Volume 2, Rogues revolution / Manapul, Francis

The Flash. Volume 4, Reverse / Manapul, Francis

The Flash. Volume 5, History lessons / Buccellato, Brian

The Flash. Volume 6, Out of time / Venditti, Robert

The Flash. Volume 7, Savage world / Venditti, Robert

The Flash. Volume 8, Zoom / Venditti, Robert

The Flash. Volume 9, Full stop / Jensen, Van

DC Rebirth

During DC Rebirth, the timeline is once again altered, restoring characters and events that had been erased from the timeline by the New 52. These include Wally West, Zoom, and the Reverse-Flash, a stalker fan from the 25th century who wants to emulate his hero, Barry Allen.

The Flash. Vol. 2, Speed of darkness / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 3, Rogues reloaded / Williamson, Joshua

Batman/The Flash : the button : deluxe edition / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 4, Running scared / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 5, Negative / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 6, Cold day in hell / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 7, Perfect storm / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash [8] : Flash war / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Volume 9, Reckoning of the forces / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 10, Force Quest / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash : year one / Williamson, Joshua

Heroes in crisis : the price and other stories / Williamson, Joshua

Flash forward / Lobdell, Scott

The Flash. Vol. 11, The greatest trick of all / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 12, Death and the speed force / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 13, Rogues’ reign / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 14, The Flash age / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 15, Finish line / Williamson, Joshua

Dark nights : death metal : the darkest knight (includes ‘Speed Metal’, a team-up with every Flash in history).

Infinite Frontier

After Barry becomes lost in the once more infinite Multiverse, Wally West takes on the mantle of the Flash once more, fighting crime while balancing life as a husband and father.

Infinite frontier / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 16, Wally West returns / Shinick, Kevin

War for Earth-3 / Thompson, Robbie

The Flash. Vol. 17, Eclipsed / Adams, Jeremy

The Flash. Vol. 18, The search for Barry Allen / Adams, Jeremy

Aquaman & The Flash : Voidsong / Kelly, Collin

Based on the TV series

The (pardon the phrasing) long-running CW series of The Flash has also inspired a few comics of its own.

The Flash : season zero / Kreisberg, Andrew

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


The Rogues

The Flash’s villains are collectively known as The Rogues, a team of science-powered criminals content to menace The Fastest Man Alive. Lead by ‘The Man Who Mastered Absolute Zero’ Captain Cold, the Rogues have included the pyromaniac Heat Wave, the deceptive Mirror Master, the mischievous Trickster, the blowhard Weather Wizard, the ethereal Golden Glider, and the telepathic criminal ape Gorilla Grodd.

Rogue-centric stories

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book five / Johns, Geoff (includes the ‘Rogue War’ arc)

The Flash by Geoff Johns. Book six / Johns, Geoff (includes Final Crisis: Rogue’s Revenge miniseries)

Forever Evil [1] : Rogues rebellion / Buccellato, Brian

The Flash. Vol. 3, Rogues reloaded / Williamson, Joshua

The Flash. Vol. 13, Rogues’ reign / Williamson, Joshua

Rogues / Williamson, Joshua

Flash Across the Multiverse

The Flash. Volume 9, Reckoning of the forces / Williamson, Joshua – This volume features Barry meeting the Flashes of the Multiverse, including the cowboy Johnny Thunder of Earth-18, the robot Mercury-Flash of Earth-44, and the unnaturally swift turtle Fastback from the Zoo Crew of Earth-26.

Teen Titans : Earth one. Volume one and Volume two
Wally West hunts down the Teen Titans, here reimagined as teens given superpowers through a covert government experiment.

Earth 2. Volume 1, The gathering / Robinson, James Dale – A reboot of the original Earth-2, now home to a younger Jay Garrick protecting the world from an invasion by Darkseid.

Crime Syndicate / Schmidt, Andy – The Flash from the criminal world of Earth-3 is named Johnny Quick, a member of the nefarious Crime Syndicate.

Multiversity : teen justice / Cohen, Ivan – The matriarchal society of Earth-11 is home to Kid Quick, a genderfluid speedster for the sidekick team Teen Justice.

Justice League infinity / DeMatteis, J. M – A comic continuation of the TV show Justice League Unlimited, where most fans first encountered Wally West.

DC, the new frontier / Cooke, Darwyn – A young Barry Allen helps found the Justice League in the 1950s to battle the monstrous living island ‘The Centre’.

Kingdom come / Waid, Mark – In a future where heroes have rejected humanity, Wally West has fused with the Speed Force and become a human blur.

The Jurassic League / Gedeon, Juan – On the prehistoric Earth-27, the local Flash is a velociraptor (natch).

The Multiversity / Morrison, Grant – The multiversal team Justice League Incarnate includes Red Racer, a comic book fanboy with superspeed from Earth-36, a world protected by the Justice 9.

Justice League incarnate / Williamson, Joshua – After Red Racer’s disappearance, Avery Ho (the Flash of China from New Super-Man) takes over as Justice League Incarnate’s resident speedster.

Injustice : Gods among us : Volume 1 – When Superman takes over the world after a personal tragedy, Barry Allen reluctantly joins the Man of Steel’s Regime.

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Spider-Verse (Part One)

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 all the heroes that can do whatever a spider can from Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse!

(via GIPHY)

And stay tuned for another blog in a few weeks where we explore the comic origins of the characters from the upcoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.

What is Spider-Verse?

Spider-Verse was a 2015 Marvel Comics crossover storyline of all the Spider-Man titles. The story followed Peter Parker, Miles Morales, and other Spider-People from across the Multiverse uniting as a ‘Spider-Army’ to stop a group of aristocratic, interdimensional vampires called the Inheritors from exterminating every Spider-Man in existence.

The original Spider-Verse storyline can be read across these collections:

The amazing Spider-Man [1] : edge of Spider-Verse (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [2] : Spider-Verse prelude / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [3] : Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

Spider-Woman [1] : Spider-Verse / Hopeless, Dennis

Spider-Verse publishing line

Since the release of the film Into the Spider-Verse, Marvel has put out a Spider-Verse line of collections to give readers a primer on the heroes and villains featured in the movie.

Spider-Man, Spider-verse : amazing Spider-Man / Eliopoulos, Chris

Spider-Man. Spider-Verse: Spider-Women

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Spider-Men / Bendis, Brian Michael

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Spider-Gwen / Latour, Jason (also on Libby)

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Miles Morales / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Man Spider-Verse : fearsome foes / Lee, Stan

Who’s Who in the Spider-Verse?

Miles Morales (Earth-1610, later Earth-616)

Teenager Miles Morales was bitten by a genetically engineered spider and gained spider powers, including the new abilities of camouflage and producing an electric ‘venom shock’. Initially keeping his abilities a secret, after the death of his universe’s Peter Parker, Miles is inspired to take up the mantle of Spider-Man.

Ultimate Universe Miles Morales

Miles was originally from the Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610), a world for modern updates of classic Marvel characters that had its own publishing line, Ultimate Comics, that ran from 2000 to 2015.

Ultimate Spider-Man reading order

Ultimate comics Spider-Man : death of Spider-Man fallout / Bendis, Brian Michael (Miles’ first appearance)

Miles Morales : Spider-Man / Bendis, Brian Michael

Spider-Men / Bendis, Brian Michael (crossover with The Amazing Spider-Man) (ONLY on Libby)

Miles Morales : with great power / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales : great responsibility / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Miles Morales : ultimate end / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales : ultimate end is also collected as Miles Morales: the ultimate Spider-Man [1] : revival / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby) and Miles Morales : the ultimate Spider-Man [2] : revelations / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Secret wars / Hickman, Jonathan

Ultimate end. Battleworld / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles also became a member of the All-New Ultimates, a team of young heroes inspired by their universe’s version of the Avengers.

All-new Ultimates [1] : power for power / Fiffe, Michel

All-new Ultimates. Vol. 2, No gods, no masters / Fiffe, Michel

Marvel Universe Miles Morales

After the destruction of the Ultimate Universe during Secret Wars, Miles was folded into the mainstream Marvel Universe (Earth-616) and now fights crime alongside Peter Parker as a protégé. 

Miles Morales Reading Order

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [1] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [2] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen : sitting in a tree / Bendis, Brian Michael (also collected as Miles Morales : the avenging Avenger) (crossover with Spider-Gwen, also on Libby)

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [3] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [4] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Spider-Men II / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales [1] : straight out of Brooklyn / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Miles Morales. 2, Bring on the bad guys
(also on Libby)

Absolute Carnage : Miles Morales / Ahmed, Saladin

Miles Morales. Vol. 3, Family business / Ahmed, Saladin

Miles Morales [4] : ultimatum / Ahmed, Saladin
(also on Libby)

Miles Morales. Vol. 5, The clone saga / Ahmed, Saladin
(also on Libby)

Miles Morales [6] : all eyes on me / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Miles Morales. Vol. 7, Beyond / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Miles Morales [8] : empire of the spider / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Spider-Gwen (Earth-65)

On Earth-65, a ‘low-super’ universe with fewer superhumans, Gwen Stacy was bitten by a radioactive spider, gained spider-powers, and became Spider-Woman. Gwen struggles to balance school, her rock band, her super-heroics, all while continuing her multiversal misadventures with her fellow Spiders.

Spider-Gwen reading order

The amazing Spider-Man [1] : edge of Spider-Verse (Spider-Gwen’s first appearance) (also on Libby)

Spider-Gwen [0] : most wanted / Latour, Jason (also on Libby)

Spider-Women / Hopeless, Dennis (crossover with Spider-Woman and Silk) 

Spider-Gwen. Vol. 1, Greater power / Latour, Jason (also on Libby)

Spider-Gwen Volume 0, 1, and Spider-Gwen’s first appearance in Edge of Spider-Verse are also collected as Spider-Gwen : Gwen Stacy / Latour, Jason

Spider-Gwen. Vol. 2, Weapon of choice / Latour, Jason

Spider-Gwen [3] : long-distance / Latour, Jason

Spider-Man/Spider-Gwen : sitting in a tree / Bendis, Brian Michael (also collected as Miles Morales : the avenging Avenger / Bendis, Brian Michael) (crossover with Spider-Gwen, also on Libby) 

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

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

Spider-Gwen [6] : the life of Gwen Stacy / Latour, Jason

Spider-Geddon (ONLY on Libby)

Later, Gwen takes up the name Ghost-Spider and moves to Earth-616.

Spider-Gwen : Ghost-Spider. Vol. 1, Spider-geddon / McGuire, Seanan (also on Libby)

Spider-Gwen : Ghost-Spider. Vol. 2, Impossible year / McGuire, Seanan

Ghost-Spider [1] : dog days are over / McGuire, Seanan

Ghost-Spider. Vol. 2, Party people / McGuire, Seanan

Spider-Gwen : Gwenverse / Seeley, Tim

Edge of Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan

Peter Parker (Earth-616)

By the time Spider-Verse happened, Peter Parker had just recovered from having his personality overwritten by Doctor Octopus and was running his own company, Parker Industries. Once the Inheritors arrive on Earth-616, Peter is recruited into the Spider-Army because he is believed to be ‘the greatest Spider-Man’.

Spider-Verse era Amazing Spider-Man reading order

The amazing Spider-Man [1] : the Parker luck / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [2] : Spider-Verse prelude / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [3] : Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [4] : graveyard shift / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man [5] : spiral / Conway, Gerry

If you want to catch up to Peter Parker’s current adventures, here are the volumes of the most recent Spider-Man run.

Current Amazing Spider-Man run

The Amazing Spider-Man. Volume 1, World without love / Wells, Zeb

The Amazing Spider-Man. Volume 2, The new sinister / Wells, Zeb (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man. Volume 3, Hobgoblin / Wells, Zeb (also on Libby)

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 4, Dark web / Wells, Zeb

Spider-Man Noir (Earth-90214)

Spider-Man Noir hails from the Marvel Noir universe of Earth-90214, where the Marvel heroes first begin appearing in the 1920s and 1930s. Here, Peter Parker gains his powers after being bitten by a mystical spider and becomes a web-slinging, hard-boiled detective.

Spider-Man noir : the complete collection / Hine, David

Spider-Man noir : eyes without a face / Hine, David (also collected in the above complete collection)

Spider-Man noir : twilight in Babylon / Stohl, Margaret (also on Libby)

Edge of Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan

Other titles in the Marvel Noir universe include:

Daredevil noir / Irvine, Alexander

Luke Cage noir / Benson, Mike

Wolverine noir / Moore, Stuart

Spider-Ham (Earth-8311)

Peter Porker was a spider bitten by a radioactive pig (yes, you read that right). He’s from the ‘Larval Universe’, a world populated by anthropomorphic animal versions of Marvel’s superheroes. Outside of Spider-Verse crossovers, Spider-Ham mostly appears in Marvel Comics’ humour publications.

Spider-Ham appearances

Howard the Duck : the complete collection. Vol. 4 / Mantlo, Bill

The Marvel Universe according to Hembeck / Hembeck, Fred

Spider-Verse / Costa, Mike

Secret wars, too

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Spider-Men / Bendis, Brian Michael

Web Warriors, protectors of the Spider-verse. Volume 1, Electroverse / Costa, Mike

Web Warriors, protectors of the Spider-verse. Volume 2, Spiders vs / Costa, Mike

Spider-Ham : great power, no responsibility : an original graphic novel / Foxe, Steve (also on Children’s eLibrary)

Edge of Spider-Verse / Slott, Dan

Peni Parker – SP//dr (Earth-14512)

Co-created by My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, Peni Parker hails from a world inspired by classic manga and anime like Akira and Neon Genesis Evangelion. Selected by a sentient radioactive spider to replace her father as the co-pilot of a giant robot suit, Peni protects New York as the wall-crawling mecha SP//dr.

SP//dr and Peni Parker appearances

Spider-Man : Spider-Verse : Spider-Men / Bendis, Brian Michael

Spider-geddon : edge of Spider-geddon

Spider-Verse : Spider-Zero / MacKay, Jed

Cindy Moon – Silk (Earth-616)

Did you know that Peter Parker wasn’t the only person bitten by the radioactive spider in his universe? His classmate Cindy Moon also got spider-powers, including the ability to create limitless webs, but she was abducted by the mysterious Spider Society before she could use her new powers. After escaping during the first Spider-Verse event, Cindy dons a costume and becomes the heroine Silk.

Silk has yet to appear in the Spider-Verse films, but is set to star in a planned spin-off movie based on the Spider-Women crossover comic.

Silk reading order

Silk. Vol. 0, The life and times of Cindy Moon / Thompson, Robbie

Silk. Vol. 1, Sinister / Thompson, Robbie

Silk Vol. 0 and 1 are collected together as Silk. Vol. 1, Out of the Spider-Verse (also on Libby)

Spider-Women / Hopeless, Dennis (crossover with Spider-Woman and Spider-Gwen)

Silk. Vol. 2, The negative / Thompson, Robbie

Silk Vol. 2 and the Spider-Women crossover are collected together as Silk : out of the Spider-Verse. Vol. 2 (also on Libby)

Silk [1] : Threats and Menaces / Goo, Maurene

Silk [2] : age of the witch / Kim, Emily

Villains of the Spider-Verse

For the lowdown on all the villains who appear in Into the Spider-Verse, check out Spider-Man Spider-Verse : fearsome foes. Here, we’re only covering the main two villains from the first film, the Kingpin and the Prowler.

The Kingpin

Wilson Fisk is the Kingpin of Crime, a powerful and ruthless mob boss who has fought Spider-Man and Daredevil. Recently, in the Devil’s Reign crossover, Fisk became the mayor of New York City and employed an army of supervillains to eliminate every hero in the city.

Civil war II : Kingpin / Rosenberg, Matthew

Kingpin : born against / Rosenberg, Matthew

Devil’s reign / Zdarsky, Chip (also on Libby)

Devil’s reign : villains for hire / Chapman, Clay McLeod (also on Libby)

The Prowler

There are two Prowlers currently active in the Marvel Universe: Spider-Man’s sometime-ally Hobie Brown, and Miles Morales’ uncle Aaron Davis. Both Prowlers are inventors who use a variety of gadgets, including a gliding cape, gauntlets that shoot gas pellets, and claws that allow them to climb walls.

Hobie Brown Prowler appearances

The amazing Spider-Man : worldwide [1] / Slott, Dan (also on Libby)

The Prowler : the clone conspiracy / Ryan, Sean

Friendly neighborhood Spider-Man [2] : hostile takeovers / Taylor, Tom

The amazing Spider-Man : beyond [3]

Aaron Davis Prowler appearances

Miles Morales : Spider-Man / Bendis, Brian Michael

Miles Morales : with great power / Bendis, Brian Michael

Spider-Man : Miles Morales [4] / Bendis, Brian Michael (also on Libby)

Miles Morales. Vol. 3, Family business / Ahmed, Saladin

Miles Morales [4] : ultimatum / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

Miles Morales [8] : empire of the spider / Ahmed, Saladin (also on Libby)

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Dungeons & Dragons

Welcome to the Wellington Comic Lover’s (WCL) Guide, where we take you through the Wellington City Libraries’ comic collection. This post collects all the comics we have inspired by the premiere tabletop roleplaying game, Dungeons & Dragons!

(via GIPHY)

What Dungeons & Dragons comics are there?

Dungeons & Dragons has inspired many comics since the tabletop gaming renaissance of the 2010s. In addition to the official comics licensed by Wizards of the Coast, D&D has crossed over into other comic franchises, and “actual play” podcasts like The Adventure Zone and Critical Role have started adapting their in-game storylines into graphic novels.

If you were looking for sourcebooks and manuals to run your own campaigns, check out J’Shuall of Jackanapery’s recent post on our Dungeons & Dragons collection here!

Official Dungeons and Dragons comics

These are the official licensed Dungeons & Dragons comics we have, based on the Pathfinder system and Forgotten Realms setting.

Forgotten realms. Cutter / Salvatore, R. A.

Pathfinder. Volume one, Dark waters rising / Zubkavich, Jim

Dungeons & dragons. Infernal tides (only on Libby)

Dungeons and Dragons and Television

Dungeons & Dragons has crossed over into comic-book tie-ins of TV shows, notably Stranger Things and Rick and Morty.

Stranger things and Dungeons & Dragons / Houser, Jody
(also on Libby)

Stranger things : Erica the great / Lore, Danny

Rick and Morty vs. Dungeons and Dragons (only on Libby)

The Adventure Zone

Artist Carey Pietsch adapts the McElroy-starring live-play podcast The Adventure Zone into graphic novels, starting with the ‘Balance’ arc. The storyline follows impulsive fighter Magnus, vainglorious wizard Taako, and grumbling monk Merle as they collect magical artifacts for a secret organization called The Bureau of Balance.

The Adventure Zone [1] : here there be gerblins / McElroy, Clint (also on Libby)

The Adventure Zone [2] : murder on the Rockport Limited / McElroy, Clint (also on Libby)

The Adventure Zone [3] : petals to the metal / McElroy, Clint (also on Libby)

The Adventure Zone. 4, The crystal kingdom / McElroy, Clint

The Adventure Zone [5] : the eleventh hour / McElroy, Clint

Critical Role

Critical Role, the acclaimed live-play podcast helmed by GM Matt Mercer and a troupe of voice actors, has been adapted into comics, starting with their first campaign Vox Machina.

Critical role : Vox Machina origins [1] / Colville, Matthew

Critical role : Vox Machina origins [2] / Mercer, Matthew

Critical role : Vox Machina origins [3] / Houser, Jody

Vox machina : kith & kin / Nijkamp, Marieke

The Chronicles of Exandria : the Mighty Nein

Critical role : the Mighty Nein origins : Fjord Stone / Burke, Kevin

Critical role : Mighty Nein origins : Mollymauk Tealeaf / Houser, Jody

In addition to the comics, there are also Critical Role books about the settings, lore and history of the campaign.

The world of Critical Role : the history behind the epic fantasy / Marsham, Liz

The tales of Exandria : the Bright Queen / Poelgeest, Darcy van

DIE – a comic turned TTRPG

A darker take on the typical D&D story, DIE follows five forty-somethings who return to the tabletop fantasy world they were trapped in as teenagers. Created by Kieron Gillen (Young Avengers, The Wicked & The Divine) and artist Stephanie Hans (Angela: Asgard’s Assassin), DIE was later adapted into its own tabletop RPG.

Die. Volume 1, Fantasy heartbreaker / Gillen, Kieron (also on Libby)

Die. Volume 2, Split the party / Gillen, Kieron (also on Libby)

Die. Volume 3, The great game / Gillen, Kieron

Die. Volume 4, Bleed / Gillen, Kieron (also on Libby)

The entire DIE series is also collected in one volume as Die. [Book 1].

More tabletop gaming-themed comics

Roll for initiative / Walls, Jasmine – On the eve of their college graduation, a group of friends try to complete their unfinished campaign.

D&D Dungeon Club [1] : roll call / Ostertag, Molly – The friendship between two D&D players is tested when they open their two-person campaign to other players.

Modern fantasy [1] / Roberts, Rafer – D&D meets office culture in this comedy series drawn by Henchgirl artist Kristen Gudsnuk.

Rise of the dungeon master : Gary Gygax and the creation of D&D / Kushner, David – A biography comic about the creator of Dungeons & Dragons, Gary Gygax.

D&D inspired zines

We also have zines inspired by Dungeons & Dragons in the catalogue by local artists, including Hicksville artist Dylan Horrocks.

Darkest dungeons / Horrocks, Dylan

Saint : a collection of drawings and writings from a campaign of 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons / Lean, Alis

Choose your own D&D character. Vol. I, Class / Fey

Comics that ARE roleplaying games

We’ve covered comics based on roleplaying games, but what about a comic that is a roleplaying game? In You Are Deadpool, you play through the comic as the Merc with a Mouth, your journey through the story determined by your dice rolls.

You are Deadpool / Ewing, Al

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Superman

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 strange visitor from the planet Krypton, the Man of Steel himself, Superman!

(via GIPHY)

Who is Superman?

Sent away in a rocket from the doomed planet Krypton as an infant, Kal-El landed on Earth and was raised by a kindly couple, who taught him the values of truth and justice. Gaining incredible superpowers under Earth’s yellow sun, he protects his adopted home as Superman, while working for the newspaper ‘The Daily Planet’ as the reporter Clark Kent.

Superman Classics

Before we get to the current run of Superman comics from the DC Rebirth era onward, here are some classic Superman stories to get you up to speed with the Man of Tomorrow.

Superman’s Early Years

The Superman chronicles. Volume two / Siegel, Jerry
Read the earliest adventures of Superman as written by his original creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Superman : secret origin / Johns, Geoff
One of the more recent takes on Superman’s origin, which takes its cues from the Christopher Reeve movies.

Superman : world against Superman / Morrison, Grant
The New 52 origin of Superman, which brings him back to his roots as a ‘champion of the oppressed’ still figuring out his powers.

Superman smashes the Klan : the graphic novel / Yang, Gene Luen
A comic adaptation of a 1946 radio play famous for exposing the then-revived Ku Klux Klan, where Superman is pitted against the xenophobic ‘Clan of the Fiery Cross’.

Classic Superman Adventures

Superman : red and blue
An anthology series where the artists are limited to Superman’s distinctive colour pallete.

Superman for all seasons / Loeb, Jeph
A coming-of-age story where Superman is torn between the big city life of Metropolis and his country home life in Smallville.

Superman : last son / Johns, Geoff
Superman finds a young boy in a ship like the one he crash-landed in as an infant, and adopts the boy as his own, not knowing he is the son of Kryptonian criminal General Zod.

Superman : Emperor Joker
Superman wakes up in Arkham Asylum to learn that the Joker has gained reality-altering powers and now rules the world.

Superman : ending battle
A mysterious villain has gathered all of Superman’s adversaries for an all-out assault on the Man of Steel.

Superman : up up and away / Busiek, Kurt
After a year-long absence due to the loss of his powers, Superman returns to Metropolis right as Lex Luthor unleashes his new master plan.

Superman : Brainiac / Johns, Geoff
One of Superman’s most famous villains, the city-collecting alien android Brainiac, returns to menace Superman once more.

Superman : the black ring. Volume one and two / Cornell, Paul
One of the definitive Lex Luthor stories. Superman’s nemesis sets out on a quest for ultimate power, battling other villains along the way.

Possible Endings

There have been many stories exploring how Superman may die or otherwise cease to be; here are some of the best.

The death of Superman / Jurgens, Dan (also on Libby)
The story that killed Superman (for a while, at least), as he goes down swinging against the unstoppable monster Doomsday.

Absolute All-Star Superman / Morrison, Grant (also on Libby)
Considered one of the best Superman stories ever. After being exposed to strange radiation, Superman discovers that he only has one year to live, and sets out to make sure the world is safe in his absence.

Superman : whatever happened to the man of tomorrow / Moore, Alan
Superman’s identity is exposed to the public, and the Man of Steel must protect his loved ones as his villains lay siege to the Fortress of Solitude.

DC Rebirth – Superman Reborn

The major change to Superman in this era is the birth of Jon Kent, the son of Lois Lane and Superman. During this period, Superman, Lois, and Jon move to a quiet farm in Hamilton County and try to live out a normal life in between alien invasions and reality alterations.

Superman : Lois and Clark / Jurgens, Dan

Superman. Vol. 1, Son of Superman / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 2, Trials of the super son / Tomasi, Peter

Superman reborn / Jurgens, Dan

Superman. Vol. 4, Black dawn / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 5, Hopes and fears / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 6, Imperius Lex / Tomasi, Peter

Superman. Vol. 7, Bizarroverse / Tomasi, Peter

Action Comics

Action Comics is the comic magazine where Superman first appeared in 1938, and is still being published today as a secondary series to the main Superman title. During DC Rebirth, Action Comics reached its 1000th issue, establishing a new status quo for the Man of Steel.

Superman action comics. Vol. 1, Path of doom / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Volume 2. Welcome to the planet / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Vol. 3, Men of steel / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Vol. 4, The new world / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics : the Oz effect / Jurgens, Dan

Superman action comics. Volume 5, Booster shot / Jurgens, Dan

The Brian Michael Bendis run

After Action Comics‘ 1000th issue, long-time Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis jumped ship to DC Comics and began to write the Superman and Action Comics series simultaneously. Beginning with the miniseries The Man of Steel, Bendis used his run to revive the Legion of Superheroes, have Superman establish an “intergalactic UN” called the United Planets, and bring Clark and Lois into the world of international espionage with ‘Event Leviathan’.

Brian Michael Bendis Superman reading order

The Man of Steel / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 1, The Unity Saga : Phantom Earth / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Volume 1, Invisible mafia / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 2, The Unity Saga : the House of El / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 2, Leviathan rising / Bendis, Brian Michael

Event Leviathan / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 3, Leviathan hunt / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 3, The truth revealed / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman action comics. Vol. 4, Metropolis burning / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 4, Mythological / Bendis, Brian Michael

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

Bendis run spin-offs

During the Bendis run on Superman, both Lois Lane and Superman’s pal Jimmy Olsen got their own series. The Legion of Superheroes, a team that began as a spin-off to the Superman title in the 50s, return to welcome Jon Kent to their ranks. Bendis also wrapped up the ‘Event Leviathan’ storyline in the spy series Checkmate.

Lois Lane : enemy of the people / Rucka, Greg

Superman’s pal, Jimmy Olsen : who killed Jimmy Olsen / Fraction, Matt

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 1, Millennium / Bendis, Brian Michael

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 2, The trial of the Legion / Bendis, Brian Michael

Checkmate / Bendis, Brian Michael

Infinite Frontier – The Warworld Saga

During Infinite Frontier, Superman comes into contact with a lost refugee colony of Kryptonians fleeing from Warworld, an artificial planet powered by slave labour and ruled by the despotic alien Mongul. Despite his powers being on the wane, Superman gathers up a team of rebel heroes called The Authority to help him free Warworld’s prisoners.

Superman : the one who fell / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman and the Authority / Morrison, Grant

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

Superman : Action Comics. Vol. 2, The arena / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

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

Jon Kent, Son of Superman

Jon Kent is the son of Superman and Lois Lane, and occasionally fights alongside his dad as Superboy. He becomes fast friends with Damian Wayne, Batman’s son and the current Robin, regularly teaming up for adventures with him as the Super Sons.

Jon Kent, Superboy

Super Sons. Vol. 1, When I grow up.. / Tomasi, Peter

Super Sons. Vol. 2, Planet of the capes / Tomasi, Peter

Super Sons of tomorrow / Tomasi, Peter

Super sons. Vol. 3, Parent trap / Tomasi, Peter

Action detectives / Tomasi, Peter

Adventures of the Super Sons. Vol. 2, Little monsters / Tomasi, Peter

Challenge of the Super Sons / Tomasi, Peter

Jon Kent, Superman

After going missing on an adventure in space, Jon returns to Earth as a teenager, before travelling to the 31st century to join the Legion of Superheroes. In the ‘Son of Kal-El‘ series, Jon takes on the mantle of Superman while his father journeys off-planet to Warworld.

Superman. Vol. 1, The Unity Saga : Phantom Earth / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman. Vol. 2, The Unity Saga : the House of El / Bendis, Brian Michael

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 1, Millennium / Bendis, Brian Michael

Legion of Super-Heroes. Vol. 2, The trial of the Legion / Bendis, Brian Michael

Superman : the one who fell / Johnson, Phillip Kennedy

Superman, son of Kal-El. Vol. 1, The truth / Taylor, Tom

Superman, son of Kal-El. Vol. 2, The rising / Taylor, Tom

Kong Kenan, the Super-Man of China

DC Rebirth saw the introduction of another Superman, an arrogant student from China named Kong Kenan. Gifted with the powers of Superman by the Ministry of Self-Reliance, Kenan must learn to master his new Kryptonian abilities to become a suitable superhuman representative of his nation.

Kong Kenan appearances

New Super-Man. Vol. 1, Made in China / Yang, Gene Luen

New Super-Man. Vol. 3, Equilibrium

Superman action comics. Vol. 4, The new world / Jurgens, Dan

A very DC rebirth holiday

Superman Across the Multiverse

Many writers have explored how Superman could be reinterpreted or reimagined throughout the DC Comics Multiverse.

Final Crisis – Features the story “Superman Beyond”, in which Clark Kent must team up with an alliance of Supermen from parallel Earths to save all of reality.

The MultiversityPresident Superman of Earth-23, Superdemon of Earth-13, Captain Carrot of Earth-26 and more must answer a multiversal SOS to battle against interdimensional parasites called The Gentry.

Elseworlds : Superman. Volume one – An anthology of ‘Elseworld’ stories that reimagine Superman in different eras, like the Middle Ages or the American Civil War.

Injustice : Gods among us : Volume 1 – Based on the hit video game, Superman becomes an authoritarian ruler after suffering a tragedy, and the Justice League is split on whether to join him or resist.

Superman: Earth One (only on Libby) – A younger, more withdrawn Superman must decide if he should use his powers or not, right on the cusp of an alien invasion.

Kingdom come / Waid, Mark – In a world where superhumans run rampant with no regard for morality, Superman comes out of retirement to show them a better way.

Justice League : gods and monsters / Timm, Bruce – Based on the animated film, a Superman raised by Mexican immigrants leads a more pragmatic Justice League.

Superman : red son / Millar, Mark – An alternate history that explores what would have happened if Superman landed in Soviet Russia instead of the USA.

Crime Syndicate / Schmidt, Andy – On Earth-3, where heroes and villains are switched, the criminal Ultraman leads a super-powered mob called the Crime Syndicate.

Superman : space age / Russell, Mark – A world where Superman becomes a public hero at the advent of the 1960s Space Race.

Superman ’78 / Venditti, Robert – A comic continuation of the Christopher Reeve Superman films from the 70s and 80s.

Doomsday clock – A sequel to Watchmen, where Doctor Manhattan invades the DC Universe to confront Superman, while the fate of the world hangs in the balance.

The Wellington Comic Lover’s Guide to… Ant-Man and the Wasp

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 Marvel Comics characters who grow and shrink with the power of Pym Particles: the Astonishing Ant-Man and the Wasp!

Who are Ant-Man and the Wasp?

Ant-Man is an identity adopted by a number of heroes (and one villain) based around the discoveries of Dr Hank Pym. Using the incredible ‘Pym Particles’ which can add or subtract mass, size, and strength to anything, Ant-Man can grow and shrink between human and insect size at will while maintaining his regular human strength. He also dons a helmet that allows him to command ants, using them as helpers or riding on flying ants as a mount.

The Wasp is an identity adopted by two heroines, fashion designer Janet van Dyne and teen prodigy Nadia van Dyne. Hank Pym also briefly donned the identity of the Wasp during a period where Janet was lost in the Microverse. Using Pym Particles, the Wasp can shrink to insect size, with the addition of having wings to fly and ‘bio-electric stingers’ to zap opponents.

Since Hank and Janet, there have been many heroes that have taken up the identities of Ant-Man and the Wasp in Marvel Comics history, and other characters that have taken on either one of Hank’s previous identities (like Giant-Man) or made their own heroic identity using Pym Particle-based powers (like Stature).

Hank Pym, the original Ant-Man

Dr Hank Pym is the first Ant-Man and a founding member of the Avengers with his partner, the Wasp. As the inventor of Pym Particles, he has applied them in various ways to grow and shrink objects, grow to giant sizes as Giant-Man, and discover new realms between atoms in the Microverse. He has gone by a number of identities in his time as a hero, including Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, and The Wasp.

Hank Pym appearances

Ant-Man and the Wasp : adventures

The Avengers : Earth’s mightiest heroes. Volume 1, 1963-1965 / Lee, Stan

Ant-Man/Giant-Man : growing pains / Lee, Stan

Avengers : Disassembled (only on eLibrary)

Civil war / Millar, Mark (also on eLibrary)

Secret invasion / Bendis, Brian Michael
(also on eLibrary)

The Mighty Avengers : secret invasion. Book 1 / Bendis, Brian Michael

The Mighty Avengers : secret invasion. Book 2 / Bendis, Brian Michael

The Mighty Avengers : Earth’s mightiest / Slott, Dan

Siege : Mighty Avengers / Slott, Dan

Avengers Academy [1] : permanent record / Gage, Christos

Avengers A.I. [1] : human after all / Humphries, Sam

Ant-Man : Ant-iversary / Ewing, Al


Hank Pym also created the robot Ultron, who rebelled against his ‘father’ and became an enemy of the Avengers. Ultron consistently upgraded over the years to destroy the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, until eventually Hank and Ultron fused together as a single being. Now, he roams space searching for power as ‘Ultron Pym’.

Ultron appearances

Vision & the Scarlet Witch : the saga of Wanda and Vision / Englehart, Steve

Avengers : Ultron unbound / Thomas, Roy

Avengers Academy [1] : permanent record / Gage, Christos

Avengers A.I. [1] : human after all / Humphries, Sam

What if? : Age of Ultron / Keatinge, Joe

Appearances as ‘Ultron Pym’

Secret Empire / Spencer, Nick

The uncanny Avengers [2] : the man who fell to Earth / Duggan, Gerry

Infinity countdown / Duggan, Gerry

Iron Man : the Ultron agenda / Slott, Dan

Ant-Man : Ant-iversary / Ewing, Al

Scott Lang, the Astonishing Ant-Man

Scott Lang is a ex-con who stole the Ant-Man suit in order to save his daughter. Proving himself a hero, Lang was allowed to keep the suit and became the second Ant-Man, joining the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Lang is a big believer in second chances, working alongside reformed criminals like himself in his security business in Florida.

Ant-Man [1] : second-chance man / Spencer, Nick
(also on eLibrary)

The astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1, Everybody loves team-ups / Spencer, Nick

The astonishing Ant-Man [2] : small-time criminal / Spencer, Nick

The astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 3, The trial of Ant-Man / Spencer, Nick

Ant-Man and the Wasp : lost and found / Waid, Mark

War of the realms : Giant-Man / Williams, Leah

Ant-Man : World hive / Wells, Zeb

Ant-Man : Ant-iversary / Ewing, Al

Scott Lang’s Teams

The Avengers : Red Zone / Johns, Geoff

Avengers : Disassembled

FF. Vol. 1, Fantastic faux / Fraction, Matt

Eric O’Grady, the Irredeemable Ant-Man

Eric O’Grady was a low-level SHIELD agent who stole a prototype Ant-Man suit and used it for his own selfish purposes. After proving his potential for espionage during the Skrull’s Secret Invasion, O’Grady became a member of the Thunderbolts and the Secret Avengers before eventually turning traitor. Now going by Black Ant, he is half of a villainous duo with the Taskmaster.

Appearances as Ant-Man

World War Hulk : X-Men (contains an issue of Eric’s first series, The Irredeemable Ant-Man)

Avengers : the Initiative. Vol. 3, Secret invasion / Slott, Dan

Thunderbolts : burning down the house / Diggle, Andy

Fear itself : Secret Avengers / Spencer, Nick

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

Ant-Man : Ant-iversary / Ewing, Al

Appearances as Black Ant

Secret Avengers [3] / Remender, Rick

Secret Empire / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 1, Back to basics / Spencer, Nick

The Amazing Spider-Man [2] : friends and foes / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man. Vol. 3, Lifetime achievement / Spencer, Nick

The amazing Spider-Man [4] : hunted / Spencer, Nick

Sinister war / Spencer, Nick

Raz Malhotra, Giant-Man

When Hank Pym felt that shrinking wasn’t an adequate power, he changed tack and used his Pym Particles to grow to titanic heights as Giant-Man and later Goliath. Other heroes since taken up the Giant-Man mantle, the current one being Raz Malhotra, a computer programmer who befriended Scott Lang.

Raz Malhotra appearances

The astonishing Ant-Man. Vol. 1, Everybody loves team-ups / Spencer, Nick

The astonishing Ant-Man [2] : small-time criminal / Spencer, Nick

The Ultimates [2] : Civil war II / Ewing, Al

Secret Empire : brave new world

Agents of Atlas : pandemonium / Pak, Greg

War of the realms : Giant-Man / Williams, Leah

Cassie Lang, Stinger

Cassie Lang is the daughter of Scott Lang, the second Ant-Man. After being exposed to Pym Particles, Cassie gained the ability to grow and shrink at will. Calling herself Stature, she joined a team of teenagers emulating the original Avengers, the Young Avengers. Later, she gained her own insect-controlling helmet and helps her father as the heroine Stinger.

Cassie Lang appearances

Young Avengers: Ultimate Collection (Only on Libby)

Secret invasion : Runaways & Young Avengers / Yost, Christopher

The Mighty Avengers : Earth’s mightiest / Slott, Dan

Siege : Mighty Avengers / Slott, Dan

Ant-Man : World hive / Wells, Zeb

War of the realms : Giant-Man / Williams, Leah

Ant-Man : Ant-iversary / Ewing, Al

Janet Van Dyne, The Winsome Wasp

Janet van Dyne is a fashion designer who fell in love with Hank Pym and became his crime-fighting partner, the Wasp. Janet has been a team-player her entire career, leading the Avengers on multiple occasions. Currently, she mentors the new Wasp, her stepdaughter Nadia van Dyne.

The Wasp appearances

Ant-Man and the Wasp : adventures

The Avengers : Earth’s mightiest heroes. Volume 1, 1963-1965 / Lee, Stan

The Avengers : the Korvac saga / Shooter, Jim

Avengers : Disassembled (only on eLibrary)

Civil war / Millar, Mark (also on eLibrary)

The Mighty Avengers : Venom bomb / Bendis, Brian Michael

Secret invasion / Bendis, Brian Michael
(also on eLibrary)

Uncanny Avengers [1] : the red shadow / Remender, Rick

Uncanny Avengers [2] : the apocalypse twins / Remender, Rick

Uncanny Avengers [4] : avenge the Earth / Remender, Rick

Uncanny Avengers [5] : Axis prelude / Remender, Rick

Avengers/X-Men : Axis / Remender, Rick

Uncanny Avengers [1] : counter-evolutionary / Remender, Rick

Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda. Vol. 1, Eye of the storm / Zubkavich, Jim

Tony Stark, Iron Man [1] : self-made man / Slott, Dan

The Darkhold / Orlando, Steve

Nadia van Dyne, the Unstoppable Wasp

Hank Pym’s first wife Maria was kidnapped on the couple’s honeymoon, and unknown to Hank, she bore a daughter named Nadia. Raised in the Red Room that trained Black Widow, Nadia studied in multiple scientific fields, eventually replicating the Pym Particles and using them to escape. After arriving in America and meeting the Avengers, Nadia became the newest Wasp and founded her own scientific organisation, Genius In action Research Labs (G.I.R.L).

Unstoppable Wasp appearances

The unstoppable Wasp [1] : unstoppable / Whitley, Jeremy

The unstoppable Wasp [2] : agents of G.I.R.L / Whitley, Jeremy

The unstoppable Wasp. Vol. 1, Fix everything / Whitley, Jeremy

The unstoppable Wasp. Vol. 2, Unlimited / Whitley, Jeremy

The Unstoppable Wasp series is also collected in these volumes.

The unstoppable Wasp : G.I.R.L. power / Whitley, Jeremy

The unstoppable Wasp : A.I.M. escape / Whitley, Jeremy

Unstoppable Wasp Teams

All-new all-different Avengers [2] : family business / Waid, Mark

The Avengers : unleashed [1] : Kang war one / Waid, Mark

The Avengers unleashed. Vol. 2, Secret empire / Waid, Mark

The Avengers & Champions : worlds collide / Waid, Mark

Champions. Vol. 3, Champion for a day / Waid, Mark

Champions. Vol. 4, Northern lights / Zubkavich, Jim

Champions [1] : beat the devil / Zubkavich, Jim

Hope van Dyne/Hope Pym, the MCU Wasp

In the MCU, Hank Pym’s daughter is Hope van Dyne, who doesn’t exist in the ‘mainstream’ Marvel Universe of Earth-616. She is derived from Hope Pym, the daughter of Hank and Janet from Earth-982, a world set in a near-future where the Avengers have been replaced by new, younger heroes, including Peter Parker’s daughter Spider-Girl.

Hope Pym appearances

Spider-Island : Warzones / Gage, Christos

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

The Swamp Thing [3] : the parliament of gears / V, Ram


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

Jane Foster & the Mighty Thor / Grønbekk, Torunn

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

Thor [5] : the legacy of Thanos / Ewing, Al

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, DC Rebirth from 2016-2021, and Infinite Frontier from 2021 to present.

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


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.


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

Batgirls. Vol. 2, Bat Girl summer / 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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

Beyond Marvel and DC!

There are a real flood of comic book adaptions coming out at the moment. Aquaman, Teen Titans, Spiderman, Captain Marvel…and of course, the conclusion to the Infinity War. We have plenty of those titles in our collection! But smaller publishers and lesser-known titles deserve some love too.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSheets, Brenna Thummler

In four words: love, grief, laundry, and ghosts. Marjorie is thirteen and struggling to deal with the death of her mother, the (failing) family dry cleaning business, and the pressures of school. Luckily – or unluckily – she comes into contact with Wendell, a ghost trying to deal with the very particular struggles of his afterlife. The two worlds collide with dramatic results for everyone.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsOn a sunbeam, Tillie Walden

This only came across my desk in the last weeks of December but I’ve already decided it’s one of my top picks for the year’s best graphic novels. Set in a far-distant future, it depicts two teenage girls falling in love, while studying at an exclusive boarding school. But another plot thread enters the narrative; one of those girls, many years later, joins a crew who do restoration work on abandoned buildings. Did I mention this was all set in space? It’s one of the most intriguing and more importantly heart-felt narratives about loss and found family I’ve seen in a long time. The art – purely black and white- manages to be stark and lush at the same time. It’s a striking, original work.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHelen and the Go-Go ninjas, Ant Sang And Michael Bennet

Ant Sang’s one of New Zealand’s premier comic artists and Michael Bennett is a likewise acclaimed writer and director. This powerful team-up brings us this fascinating view of a New Zealand after an environmental catastrophe and strange spheres that use mind control on the few remaining human survivors. We don’t get a lot of Aotearoa-centric science fiction and a graphic novel is even rarer. But its rarity isn’t its main selling point (although worth mentioning) – this has clever sharp writing and amazing art work (check out those action scenes) so please pick it up.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBad Machinery, John Allison

I wasn’t quite sure what I was picking up when I first looked at Bad Machinery. It’s got British weirdness and teen angst in equal measure, along with a hefty dose of dark, strange humour. There are five volumes – plenty to chew through and enjoy.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsBarefoot gen: a cartoon story of Hiroshima, Keiji Nakazawa

This is a classic of the graphic novel genre. The author was a Hiroshima survivor and depicts the aftermath of the nuclear bomb being dropped on that city in 1945. There is no glorification of war here; just the agony of people caught up in historical events and living through the ensuing devastation. The art despite being in the familiar ‘toon style, pulls no punches in conveying the horrors of the bombing and the years afterwards. This will stay with you a long time.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSleepless, Sarah Vaughn, writer ; Leila del Duca, artist.

The art is lush and gorgeous, the writing is excellent – I highly recommend this fantasy graphic novel which depicts the difficult life of Lady ‘Poppy’ Pyppenia – the illegitimate daughter of the deceased king – as intrigue seizes the court as her uncle takes the throne. Then there’s her bodyguard, Cyneric – a “Sleepless Knight” – who has taken a vow to protect her. Courtly intrigue, romance, assassination attempts – a must-read for fantasy fans.

Remembering Stan Lee (1922-2018)

Comic book legend Stan Lee died today. He’s responsible (either alone or in collaboration with various artists and writers) for Marvel luminaries such as the X-Men, The Fantastic Four, Black Panther and Spiderman. Try to imagine the past ten years without a MCU movie – it almost doesn’t bear thinking about! Stan Lee not only created these characters, he created a sandbox for other writers and artists to present their own unique takes on each character. Some comic fans may notice that the characters featured in the display aren’t in their original incarnations. As the years have gone by, these characters have changed too, reflecting societal change and new ideas. But Stan Lee started it. The literary world (and comics are literature, fight me) is much poorer with his loss but all the greater for his influence.

New books

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe 57 bus, Dashka Slater

One teenager in a skirt. One teenager with a lighter.
One moment that changes both of their lives forever. If it weren’t for the 57 bus, Sasha and Richard never would have met. Both were high school students from Oakland, California, one of the most diverse cities in the country, but they inhabited different worlds. Sasha, a white teen, lived in the middle-class foothills and attended a small private school. Richard, a black teen, lived in the crime-plagued flatlands and attended a large public one. Each day, their paths overlapped for a mere eight minutes. But one afternoon on the bus ride home from school, a single reckless act left Sasha severely burned, and Richard charged with two hate crimes and facing life imprisonment. The case garnered international attention, thrusting both teenagers into the spotlight. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe goose road, Rowena House

Angélique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. She makes herself a promise: the farm will remain exactly the same until her beloved older brother comes home from the Front. “I think of it like a magical spell. If I can stop time, if nothing ever changes, then maybe he won’t change either.” But a storm ruins the harvest, her mother falls ill and then the requisition appears… In a last-ditch attempt to save the farm from bankruptcy, Angélique embarks on a journey across France with her brother’s flock of magnificent Toulouse geese. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKiller T, Robert Muchamore

Harry and Charlie are teenagers whose lives are shaped by a society that’s shifting around them. He is a lonely Brit in his first term at a Las Vegas high school. She is an unlikely friend, who gets accused of mixing a batch of explosives that blew up a football player. The two of them are drawn together at a time when gene editing technology is starting to explode. With a lab in the garage anyone can beat cancer, enhance their brain to pass exams, or tweak a few genes for that year-round tan and perfect beach body. But in the wrong hands, cheap gene editing is the most deadly weapon in history. Killer T is a synthetic virus with a ninety per-cent mortality rate, and the terrorists who created it want a billion dollars before they’ll release a vaccine. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSpillzone: the broken vow, Scott Westerfeld and Alex Puvilland

Three years ago an event destroyed the small city of Poughkeepsie, forever changing reality within its borders. Strange manifestations and lethal dangers now await anyone who enters the Spill Zone. Addison got close enough to the Spill Zone to touch it, literally. She survived the encounter, but came back changed. It turns out she’s not alone. North Korea has its own Spill Zone, and a young man named Don Jae is the only one who made it out alive. Alive, but changed. Now Addison, Don Jae, and, curiously, a rag doll named Vespertine, share an unholy bond and uncanny powers. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSleepless, Sarah Vaughn and Leila Del Luca

Lady ‘Poppy’ Pyppenia is guarded by the Sleepless Knight Cyrenic but becomes endangered when an assassin threatens her life in the new king’s reign. As Poppy and Cyrenic try to discover who wants her dead, they must navigate the dangerous waters of life at court and of their growing feelings for one another. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSadie, Courtney Summers

Sadie’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated Colorado town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. When Mattie is found dead, and the police investigation is botched, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice. She hits the road following a few meager clues. When West McCray, a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America, hears Sadie’s story, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTwo dark reigns, Kendare Blake

Katharine sits on the throne of Fennbirn. Dead bodies have washed up on the shore, but the real Mirabella and Arsinoe are in hiding. There are murmurs of dissent among the people of Fennbirn. The crown has been won, but unexpected renegade is about to wage a war of her own. The battle to be queen is far from done. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEden conquered, Joelle Charbonneau

The Trials of Virtuous Succession have ended. Prince Andreus is king–and Princess Carys is dead. But even as he’s haunted by what he did to win the throne, Andreus discovers that his dream of ruling only brings new problems. The people love his twin even more in death than they did when she was alive. The Elders treat him as a figurehead. And worst of all, the winds of Eden are faltering. But despite what everyone believes, Carys is alive. Exiled to the wilderness, Carys struggles to control the powers that have broken free inside her. And as she grows stronger, so does her conviction that she must return to the Palace of Winds, face her twin and root out the treachery that began long before the first Trials started. The Kingdom of Eden is growing darker with each passing day. Brother and sister, former foes, must decide whether some betrayals cut too deep to be forgiven–and whether one will wear the crown or both will lose everything. (Publisher summary)

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsRuin of stars, Linsey Miller

As one of the Queen’s elite assassins, Sal finally has the power, prestige, and permission to hunt down the lords who killed their family. But Sal still has to figure out who the culprits are. They must enlist the help of some old friends and enemies while ignoring a growing distaste for the queen and that the charming Elise is being held prisoner by her father. But there’s something terribly wrong in the north. Talk of the return of shadows, missing children, and magic abounds. As Sal takes out the people responsible for their ruined homeland, Sal learns secrets and truths that can’t be forgotten. (Publisher summary)

Fashion Friday


This a graphic novel! A fashion graphic novel. Who even knew such a thing existed. It definitely works though, the pictures are beautiful and the story is très sweet.

Syndetics book coverGirl in Dior / Annie Goetzinger ; translation by Joe Johnson ; lettering by Ortho.
“The Girl in Dior is Clara, a freshly hired chronicler, fan of fashion and our guide in the busy corridors of the brand new house of Christian Dior. It’s the 12th of February 1947, and the creme de la creme of Paris haute couture is flocking to the momentous event of Dior’s first show. In a flurry of corolla shaped skirts, the parade of models file down the runway. The audience is mesmerised: it’s a triumph. Soon, Clara is picked by Dior himself to be his model.” (Syndetics summary)

Graphic novels and films

There have been a lot of comic book movies coming out, so here’s a list of titles related to the movies that have come out recently! All can be found in our YA collection.

Suicide Squad

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMost of our Suicide Squad comics are in the adult section, but there are a bunch of great titles related to the individual characters. Harley and Ivy follows Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy on various capers. Gotham City Sirens follows the same two characters, as well as Catwoman, on their attempts to go straight.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsEl Diablo’s not a well known character in the DC canon but he’s the star of a standalone title, El Diablo: the haunted horseman. I don’t want to go too much into the plot, as it would give too much away, but it’s well worth picking up.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsKiller Croc’s part of Batman’s rogues’ gallery, so you’ll find him in many of our Batman titles. Captain Boomerang is one of The Flash’s reoccurring foes, so he pops up there frequently. Three titles that might interest you are: The Flash: Rogue war, The Flash: dastardly death of the Rogues and Forever Evil: Rogues rebellion.

Dr. Strange

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsHere’s the trailer for the upcoming Dr. Strange film. Our latest Dr. Strange title is Dr Strange: the way of the weird. He makes plenty of appearances in other titles too, which

Wonder Woman

I’m so excited for the Wonder Woman movie! It looks like they’ve stayed true to the spirit of the comics, and it’s great to see her pre-Justice League. Hopefully it lives up to the hype. It’s hard to recommend individual titles for a character who’s been around for 75 (!) years, but her New-52 series are pretty great.

Comics I’d love to see made into films:

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsNimona (Noelle Stevenson): I’ve talked about this comic before. A mysterious shapeshifter turns up on the doorstep of the villainous Lord Ballister Blackheart, offering her services. It manages to be funny and heartbreaking at the same time, and nothing is quite what it seems.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTemplar (written by Jordan Mechner, illustrated LeUyen Pham and Alex Puvilland)

This reads part historical epic, part heist story and part medieval romance. After the slaughter of their fellow knights, a small group of the surviving Templars set out to find the lost treasure of their order.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGotham by midnight (written by Ray Fawkes, art by Ben Templesmith)

Sometimes there are cases that are too weird for even Batman to handle. So he turns to Jim Corrigan and the mysterious Midnight Shift, a department in the Gotham City Police. It’s creepy and atmospheric; something quite different to the usual DC output, but well worth investigating. Perhaps not a film; a tv show would be even better!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSuperman: Red son

What if Superman had landed into the Soviet Union instead of the USA? A fantastic alternate look at Superman and the Justice League mythos.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMarvel 1602 (written by Neil Gaiman, art by Andy Kubert)

This is another “what if” comic, transporting many of the characters from the Marvel Universe into the year of 1602: Queen Elizabeth is dead, the Spanish Inquisition are a constant danger and England has begun its colonisation of America. It seems like a strange premise at first reading, but this is Neil Gaiman at his best.

In Honour of Comicfest: Must-read Comics

COMICFEST! The top fest in Wellington according to me. You guys should totally check it out for free comics and other awesome things ALSO check out a large number of graphic novels from our collection in honour of it. We’ve got a rad blog with all the details of what’s up during the festival – you can follow the blog here. In honour of Comicfest here’s a list of cool graphic novels for teens we have in our collection:

Boxers by Gene Luen Yang

“China, 1898. Bands of foreign missionaries and soldiers roam the countryside, bullying and robbing Chinese peasants. Little Bao has had enough. Harnessing the powers of ancient Chinese gods, he recruits an army of Boxers–commoners trained in kung fu–who fight to free China from ‘foreign devils.'” (Goodreads)

Cardboard by Doug TenNapel.

“Cam’s down-and-out father gives him a cardboard box for his birthday and he knows it’s the worst present ever. So to make the best of a bad situation, they bend the cardboard into a man-and to their astonishment, it comes magically to life. But the neighborhood bully, Marcus, warps the powerful cardboard into his own evil creations that threaten to destroy them all!” (Goodreads)

Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks

“After years of homeschooling, Maggie is starting high school. It’s pretty terrifying. Maggie’s big brothers are there to watch her back, but ever since Mom left it just hasn’t been the same. Besides her brothers, Maggie’s never had any real friends before. Lucy and Alistair don’t have lots of friends either. But they eat lunch with her at school and bring her along on their small-town adventures. Missing mothers… distant brothers… high school… new friends… It’s a lot to deal with. But there’s just one more thing. MAGGIE IS HAUNTED.” (Goodreads)

Ghostopolis by Doug TenNapel

“Imagine Garth Hale’s surprise when he’s accidentally zapped to the spirit world by Frank Gallows, a washed-out ghost wrangler. Suddenly Garth finds he has powers the ghosts don’t have, and he’s stuck in a world run by the evil ruler of Ghostopolis, who would use Garth’s newfound abilities to rule the ghostly kingdom. When Garth meets Cecil, his grandfather’s ghost, the two search for a way to get Garth back home, and nearly lose hope until Frank Gallows shows up to fix his mistake.” (Goodreads)

Rapunzel’s Revenge Shannon Hale.

“Once upon a time, in a land you only think you know, lived a little girl and her mother . . . or the woman she thought was her mother. Every day, when the little girl played in her pretty garden, she grew more curious about what lay on the other side of the garden wall . . . a rather enormous garden wall. And every year, as she grew older, things seemed weirder and weirder, until the day she finally climbed to the top of the wall and looked over into the mines and desert beyond. Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale teams up with husband Dean Hale and brilliant artist Nathan Hale (no relation) to bring readers a swashbuckling and hilarious twist on the classic story as you’ve never seen it before. Watch as Rapunzel and her amazing hair team up with Jack (of beanstalk fame) to gallop around the wild and western landscape, changing lives, righting wrongs, and bringing joy to every soul they encounter.” (Goodreads)

And since we’re talking about ComicFest here’s some work from the clever folk who will be at the festival:

The art of The adventures of Tintin by Chris Guise

“The artists at Weta Digital and Weta Workshop were thrilled to get the opportunity to work with Steven Spielberg to bring Hergé’s wonderful characters to the big screen in The Adventures of Tintin. They spent five years working on this movie. This book tells the story of how the filmmakers started with the original Hergé artwork and books and ended up with what is seen on-screen. It features early concept drawings, previs sequences, models, costume designs and final stills from the film. The book focuses on the creative process, showing the many designs that made it into the movie and others that didn’t. It highlights the attention to detail, skill and creativity of all the artists involved in the making of the movie. The story is told by the artists themselves, who talk about their inspirations, techniques and experiences. Through them we gain a true insight into the creative thinking behind this groundbreaking feature film.” (Goodreads)

Chris Guise will actually be at Comicfest on Saturday the 2nd of May from 12pm-1pm. Chatting about the process of transforming a much-loved comic into the successful film version of The Adventures of Tintin – the Secret of the Unicorn. It would be well worth going along to listen to such a talented NZer talk about working with Weta Digital!

Dreamboat dreamboat by Toby Morris

“Set in Dannevirke, New Zealand in the 1950s and 1960s this is the story of a group of teenagers who set up a rock’n’roll band. The teenagers encounter some of the good and bad of the culture of the time – along with legendary music and the cars – there is the seedier side where racism, sexism and parochialism come to the fore.”

Toby Morris will in a panel discussion at the Fest about the relationship between cartoon and comic. It’s on Thursday the 30th of April from 6-7pm. It’ll be mean to attend. Check out this book as a thank you to the talented comic book writer for participating in the panel! Go on, do it. Be a sport.

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