March Comics Pick: The Boys by Garth Ennis

15 Mar

Hello library patrons! Welcome to the Hoboken Public Library’s new staff picks blog, where the staff of the Hoboken Public Library hopes to guide you to some interesting books, movies, music, comics, etc, etc., that perhaps you didn’t know about before.

In this week’s exciting installment, we are looking at Comic Books! Yes!  This week’s post is brought to you by librarian Matt Latham, who, among many things, develops and maintains the comic book collection at the library.

I’ve recently undertaken a project to re-catalog the entire comics, Manga and graphic novels collections of the Hoboken Public Library to make them easier to browse and to find what you are looking for. Before, everything was jammed together in the same place (741.5 section) – yikes! Now, comics, Manga, fiction graphic novels and non-fiction graphic novels each have their own section. Manga and comics are arranged alphabetically by series title (Batman), then sub-series (Dark Knight Returns), volume number (V. 1) and then finally by author last name (Miller). Basically, its in alphabetical order. Fiction graphic novels are simply in alphabetical order by author last name and non-fiction graphic novels are in standard Dewey order – which is by subject (philosophy, biography, etc.). Anyway, I hope it is now easier to find what you are looking for 🙂

We’ve also gotten more space available for comics/manga/graphic novels – so we are getting a lot more into that section for your reading pleasure! If there is anything you think the library should have – just let us know! Respond to this post, post on our Facebook, email us (, call us (201-420-2347) or just stop by the 2nd floor where I am!

Anyway, how about some actual recommendations? If you are interested in comics that more depth, deal with adult themes and have some diverse and literary themes then HPL has a lot to offer you. I especially like the titles produced through DC’s Vertigo imprint. These titles are often more like what you would consider graphic novels, filled with full characters, intense storylines and exploring often difficult and dark themes. If you like comics like Alan Moore’s Watchmen or Frank Miller’s Dark Knight Returns, then Vertigo might be for you. Here are some of the must-read titles from Vertigo:

  • Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  • Preacher by Garth Ennis
  • Y the Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Fables by Bill Willingham
  • Hellblazer by Peter Milligan
  • DMZ by Brian Wood
  • Swamp Thing by Alan Moore
  • Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis

And lots more. For those types of titles, Vertigo may be the first stop. However, this week I’d like to recommend a title that is printed through Dynamite Entertainment and written by Garth Ennis, of Preacher fame: The Boys.

The Boys: Volume 1

The Boys: Volume 1

Reserve a copy of The Boys: Volume 1

This series is a unique play on the Superhero aspect that traditional comics present. Many of your classic comics (Superman, Justice League, X-Men, etc.), especially the Golden and Silver Ages of these titles, have universes that are very black and white: there is good and there is evil. Good is represented and epitomized by superheroes and bad is characterized through the series of villains the superheroes battle against. Alan Moore especially took aim at this dualistic reality and unveiled its naivete to reveal a more complex, more pluralistic moral universe of the superhero with his Watchmen. Many titles have come since then to continue on this theme, and The Boys provides another unique and dark twist to this perspective.

“The Boys” is a secret ‘black ops’ group that is only partially guided by the government. Their goal: watch, observe and control the superhero population of the world. In the world of The Boys, superheroes are corrupted by their celebrity and power status in society and have become selfish, brutal and even sadistic. The public believes superheroes to be what the Golden Age comics would have us believe – noble, moral and fighting for the common person. However, in this world the superheroes are almost always anything but that, and The Boys have to do what they can to keep things under control protect the rest of us from the heroes!

For lovers of Preacher, you will find some signature Preacher darkness and big doses of themes of violence and sexuality. This is CERTAINLY a title for an adult audience, with many scenes pushing the envelope of what you think a comic should be. However, Ennis is able to take these potent subjects and not get lost in them by creating deep and complex characters, storylines and backgrounds that only reveal themselves slowly. This creative style is enriched with overarching themes of morality, power, selfish individualism, terrorism and security. There’s plenty here to make you think, laugh, cringe and most of all want to keep reading!

Its a good thing the Hoboken Public Library has the WHOLE series to date available for your reading pleasure: go to our comics section (right by the Circulation Desk) and then this call number:

Boys V. 1 Ennis

We also have the full runs of Preacher, Fables (to date), Y the Last Man, Ex Machina, Scalped (to date), 100 Bullets (to date), Sandman, and lots more like The Boys.

2 Responses to “March Comics Pick: The Boys by Garth Ennis”


  1. Comics Wrap-Up – 2013 | Hoboken Library Staff Picks - December 27, 2013

    […] in December 2012, but I wanted to include it anyway. I actually wrote about this title in the first post for this blog! Its a great series from Garth Ennis, creator of the legendary Preacher comics. This […]

  2. “Thank You!” to Our Readers | Hoboken Library Staff Picks - April 11, 2014

    […] Hoboken Library Staff Picks Blog post is a special one: this is our 50th post! We launched our Staff Picks blog in March of 2013 and since that time we have received over 5,400 views to our […]

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