Tag Archives: comics

A Librarian Takes on the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge: Read an All-Ages Comic 1

18 Jan

This year I decided to follow the Book Riot Read Harder 2017 Challenge. I said the same thing about the 2015 and 2016 challenges but didn’t succeed. But this year I’d like to complete the challenge! Sharlene has inspired me with her Dewey Decimal Challenge, so like her, I will write about the books I read here for the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge to hold myself accountable.

I set the barrier for entry low by choosing to complete the “Read an all-ages comic” challenge first. I recently became aware that Jem and the Holograms have been revived in comic book form, and immediately borrowed the first two volumes. As a kid I loved watching the Jem and the Holograms cartoons, which aired from 1985-1988 (seasons one, two, and three on DVD are available to borrow). What I remember most about Jem was her pink hair. I thought it was so pretty and believed that I would have pink hair when I grew up. While I lived through the era of using Manic Panic and even Kool Aid to dye hair wild colors, I never experimented with those means. But now I have something to talk about with my hair stylist…

Back to the comics!

Jem and the Holograms, by Kelly Thompson

jem-holograms

Jem and the Holograms, the first volume that collects books 1 through 5, establishes the Holograms’ origin story. Jerrica Benton is the manager and lead singer of the band, with her sisters Kimber the keytar player, Shana the drummer, and Aja the guitarist. The story opens with the band trying to record a music video to submit to a contest sponsored by the Misfits, but Jerrica’s stage fright impedes filming. After once again failing to perform and overhearing her bandmates’ frustrations with her, Jerrica goes home where she discovers Synergy, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) computer designed by her late father that allows Jerrica to transform into the fearless pink-haired Jem. As Jem, Jerrica is able to record the video, which takes off and threatens the Misfits, led by the volatile Pizazz, and breeds a rivalry.

I loved the art in this edition. Each woman has her own distinct style, and diverse body types are depicted. Truth be told, I prefered the Misfits’ edgier color palettes over the Holograms’.

The story was fun to read, too. A forbidden romance develops between the Holograms’ Kimber and the Misfits’ Stormer. Jerrica dates Rio, a reporter who is writing a story about the Misfits but becomes intrigued by the Holograms, in particular the mysterious Jem who is never in the same place as Jerrica.

Jem and the Holograms Vol. 2 Viral, by Kelly Thompson

jem-holograms-viral

What makes Viral, the second volume that collects books 6 through 10, different from the first volume is the pop culture references. In the opening story, the exhausted Holograms argue over what movie to watch and we see their dreams where they are characters in their favorite movies that you will recognize, with Synergy playing a key role in each dream. I personally liked the story that imagined the Holograms and the Misfits as babies, a la The Muppet Babies cartoon (another childhood favorite!) with Synergy as Nanny, who we see only from the knees down. Viral ends with several cliffhangers and I am anxious to read the next volume to see where the story goes.

If reading these doesn’t give you enough Jem, you can borrow the recent live action movie of the same name on DVD or Blu-Ray. While I didn’t love the movie, I enjoyed Juliette Lewis as the band’s villainous manager Erica and Kesha’s cameo as Pizazz. What can I say, I think Pizazz is more interesting than Jerrica/Jem. Although regarding hair color inspiration, I am not sure green hair would be as flattering as pink.

So, this is my first completed Read Harder Challenge. Stay tuned for the next one!

Do you have any special reading goals for this year? Let me know in the comments.

-Written by Kerry Weinstein, Reference Librarian

Not Just Superheroes: Three Comics that Feature Regular Heroes

16 Dec

I used to think that comics were just about superheroes, but after attending New York Comic Con and starting to manage the library’s graphic novel collection I’ve discovered just how wrong I was. Superheroes are entertaining and I’ve been really enjoying some of those stories, but comics offer so much more. If you’re looking for something a little different than the following series can get you started.

Lumberjanes

lumberjanes

(Available to borrow in collected editions at the library or in either collected editions or single issues online through Hoopla.)

You may have heard about this series. It won Eisner and Diamond Gem awards in 2015, was nominated as a Young Adult Library Services Association “Great Graphic Novel for Teens”, and a GLAAD Media Award for Best Comic Book. It was also recently featured in a crossover with Gotham Academy, another comic series. Lumberjanes takes place at Miss Quinzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady-Types and follows the humorous action-packed adventures of five cabin-mates and best friends. Although it looks like an ordinary sleep-away camp with arts & crafts, badges to earn, and s’mores, it is actually hiding some supernatural secrets. If you ever imagined yourself as one of the Goonies or loved Stranger Things, you’ll probably enjoy Lumberjanes. One of the things I like most about the series is how well-developed the main characters and their friendships are. As they are unraveling ancient mysteries, the girls are shown to be unique individuals who are not stereotypes or generic. And above all they care about and look after one another. As their motto goes, “Friendship to the Max!”

The Backstagers

backstagers

(Available in single issues online through Hoopla.)

This is a new series so it won’t take long to catch up. When Jory transfers to a new high school, he’s afraid that he won’t fit in. He somewhat reluctantly, but bravely, decides to join the drama club as an actor but quickly discovers that he might fit in better with the stage crew. Little does he know that there are secret tunnels and rooms hidden beneath the school containing many mysteries. Since it’s a new series, it’s a little unclear what, if anything, the protagonists’ main goal is but in the meantime following their adventures is fun!

The X-Files

x-files

(Available to borrow in collected editions at the library or online through Hoopla.)

The X-Files is my favorite TV series of all time, and if it’s yours too, then you have to check out the comic series. These comics, by Joe Harris, continue the series after the end of Season 9 (but started before 2016’s revival season) so they are subtitled Season 10 and Season 11. They continue in the same manner of the TV series with standalone monster of the week stories intertwined with a larger mythology.

These are just a few of the MANY non-superhero comic series and I haven’t even mentioned the terrific non-fiction graphic novels. If you would like more recommendations stop by the library any time and ask!

-Written by Kim Iacucci, Young Adult Librarian

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