Here’s our weekly rundown of what’s making us enjoy this week in comics and library culture. We’ve blatantly stolen the practice from NPR’s Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast, something that definitely makes me happy every Friday.
I got a chance to sit and read volumes 1-6 of Chi’s Sweet Home, back to back, on Sunday. What a fantastic start to the week. I was afraid the sweetness of the stories conceit would get tired after awhile, but it never did. CSH is a true all-ages title and a pure delight.
When researching the motif of “meeting the devil at the crossroads” for my new book, I came across reference to Naoki Urasawa’s 20th Century Boys, a title I had heard a great deal about but had never read. I started the series by ordering two volumes from my local library — devoured them and immediately ordered two more volumes. Now I am up to four volumes each time — what is making me happy this week, all 4 volumes arrived at the same time so I could immediately start reading them instead of waiting for the “missing” volume to arrive.
Our fearless editor-in-chief told me about the site The Mary Sue. I love its daily roundup of geek culture from a girl perspective, which ranges from insightful articles about YA literature to pop-culture news to a truly amusing collection of Top 10 lists (10 Saddest Animal Deaths in Geekdom, 10 Fictional Universes We’d Like to Live in Based on Food Alone, etc.) Their daily newsletter always has a host of fun things to read and their crew of bloggers all have the type of snarky voice that makes me laugh and quote them repeatedly. (All the reasons I love the site so! – Robin)
I’m pleasantly surprised that Laura Hudson over at Comics Alliance apparently managed to write honestly about gender on the Internet and come away feeling better than when she started. I didn’t think that was possible.
To bounce off of Andrew, I’ve been very pleased to see many of my own privately made arguments about why many mainstream superheroine comics have turned me off presented so eloquently in Hudson’s article. (I love that Hudson is responsible for this as well as part of the hilarious team takedown of Batman Odyssey that had me breathless from laughing so much.) I was equally pleased to see Andrew Wheeler’s additional comments over at Bleeding Cool, and especially this comment:
But it’s not the sole responsibility of women to somehow get themselves hired so they can write books that their nieces might buy. Men – yes, even straight ones – will have to make an actual effort to establish that diverse landscape in which some of the female characters do wear pants for 20 whole pages.
Visual Aid for the Oxford Comma (slightly NSFW)
Makes me giddy, happy, and giggly.
I am LOVING the new documentary, Stripped, created in part by Dave Kellett of the web comic Sheldon. It’s about the art of creating comics and comic strips, and brings together more than 60 of the worlds best cartoonists. You can check out information about the project, and view the trailer here.
Actor Matt Smith – best known to fans around the world as the titular Doctor from Doctor Who – surprised a school full of students with a personal appearance recently. Four of the school’s students won a recent BBC contest, which encouraged young fans of the show to write their own scripts for the show, with the winning story getting filmed and aired along with the final episode of Doctor Who‘s current season on October 1st. It does my heart good to see this – partly because of the BBC hosting such a cool contest that encourages creative writing and partly because Matt Smith seems to go out of his way to do things like this for his younger fans. Truly admirable in these days when so many “hero” actors seem to leave their role at the door when they go home. More info here. (Note the fez! Aw. – Robin)
What makes me happy this week? British illustrator, Des Taylor. Taylor’s artwork shows a passion and love for the style of a bygone era, drawing characters that are a masterful blend of Joe Schuster and Bruce Timm. I find it easy to get lost in his work, which is available from here. His first published work, The Vesha Valentine Story, is a treasured comic in my collection.
What am I happy about this week? Well since I haven’t managed to make it out to the San Diego Comic Con, I’m happy I finally get a chance to nab Kate Beaton‘s second collection - titled like her webcomic Hark A Vagrant! I love her loopy sensibility and silly take on literary classics and history. And her artwork is extremely fun to look at, fitting her sense of humor and serving the stories so well.
In more library-related news, I am happy about Banned Book Week. People have been making awesome displays. The Teen Librarian’s Toolbox has teamed up with Chris Crutcher to make a cool contest, in which you can win wristbands that say “Read Crutcher? @#$% yes!”, which makes me really happy. The best story I read this week was at the Gadsden Library where the police “arrested” the library director for reading banned books. Read the full story here.
Secret Avengers #17: Warren Ellis is writing in his fast-paced secret ops mode (think Global Frequency), having Captain America and a rotating cast face off against weird sci-fi threats. Ellis’ run of done-in-one stories (starting with last month’s abandoned underground city and continuing next month with the promise of a “kung-fu space station!”) are delivering accessibility and fun at a time when all the other Avengers monthlies are mired in the lugubrious Fear Itself crossover event.
I loved this week’s Castle with its comic/masked hero themed episode. As soon as I saw the display of Richard Castle’s Deadly Storm, I grabbed the iPad to check to see if it was an actual real publication. Yes, it is, released just this week.
Mike Dawson’s Troop 142 made me nostalgic-happy. A group of Boy Scouts and their dads head out on a camping trip. This is not the Boy Scouts of a Norman Rockwell painting but Boy Scouts who cuss, pull mean pranks and crack dirty, outright filthy jokes. Hilarious and fun, but very nostalgic for me because this is the first time I’ve read Boy Scouts as I experienced it. The book came out last month through Secret Acres and is also up for free on Dawson’s website:
My favorite thing from the past week <and a half…ahem> is getting to watch one of the easter eggs that was found on the Star Wars Blu-Ray disc set - the first appearance of Boba Fett in the animated segment that was shown during the Star Wars Holiday Special of 1978. I might be mad at George Lucas for adding yet another “Noooo!” into Jedi, but I’m happy to see this animated little ditty gets an official release from Lucasfilm! Here’s the link to the segment on YouTube:
While scanning the headlines on NPR, I came across this review of a new semi-graphic “autobiography” of Mark Twain by Michael Kupperman. It made me snort out loud at the desk. If the actual book, out in early October, is half as funny as the review, I won’t be able to safely drink a beverage while reading it. (I dream someday of being as funny as Glen Weldon is. Especially on Twitter. – Robin)
I’m happy that the CBLDF now has the rights to use the Comics Code Authority Seal. Since Banned Books Week is wrapping up, I think it’s great news that the CBLDF will be able to use the seal for something positive, rather than hindering an entire medium. (via Comic Book Resources)
I think what probably made me happiest was the ThunderLOLCats video from Mad. It’s more if you’re a fan of the internet and animation, not necessarily comics and libraries. But man, it is SO GOOD.