- May 31 - King Library Opens at 1:00 PM
Did you miss Free Comic Book Day? Yes - there is a official day in which comic book stores around the Country and participating library systems promote the importance of literacy through comics and graphic novels. A crazy concept I hope many won’t miss for next years event. Because of prior commitments, my family and I missed out on the opportunity to attend this years give away that the SJPL was facilitating throughout all of our branches. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop me from taking my boys to stock up on some new reading material the day before at our local comic book store.
The Free Comic Book Day event occurs every year on the first Saturday of the month of May. Participating comic book stores around the country join together to promote the importance of having brick and mortar comic book shops and how they inspire literacy for the youth by giving away free comics. Growing up, i couldn’t get enough of comic books. From Bill Watterson’s - Calvin and Hobbes, to Marvel’s Spider-Man, it seemed to be the only way my mom could get me to read as a kid. As I grew up, I then graduated onto more lengthy reads. However - if it weren’t for the influence of the early graphic novels in my youth, I would have never appreciated the art of storytelling as I do now. Back then, the internet along with other online media was still a new concept and the digitization of any literature for consumer use was in its early stages. Too early for it to be readily available for the average household. There was no eBay, no Google, no iPhones, no Amazon, and no eBooks of any kind just yet. I'm sure the majority of you remember those days. However, my kids and the current fortunate generations don't.
Today the majority of our information and consumer goodies come from the vast amount of online services available at just the click of a button, or two. No need for a car ride or locating the address of your destination - since there is no destination, just a URL address. This however does not mean we have improved the consumers experience. That remains to be subjective. I personally still enjoy the experience of browsing through dust filled stacks of comics or books. I don't always know what i came for, but i do know i'm looking for something new. The physical interaction of picking the brain of the comic connoisseur sitting behind the register and discovering new finds while roaming the room, is an experience that humbles the reader. Just as one can walk into the library and browse your favorite subject of choice, then decide what item for the day you want to take home and explore more. The same sense of mystique I hoped my two boys would take away from their visit, became successful. The adventure in searching for just the right comic to purchase and being able to flip through the pages before making their decision has already got them bugging me to bring them back the following weekend. Granted these comics were not free, you can only imagine how excited our library customers were at the Free Comic Book Day event.
Even if you missed out on the fun from this past weekend, you can still enjoy free comic books here at the library. They are not free to keep, however still free to borrow :) - with a great selection of Manga, Graphic Novels, and dozens of comic series to choose from. To stay updated on fun future events for all library customers to enjoy, be sure to check our Events page regularly.
May 4, 2013 is Free Comic Book Day. Come by the library as early as you can so you can get your choice in free comic books while they last!
The Free Comic Book Day tradition started in 2002 and is celebrated by comic book stores and libraries every first Saturday of May. It's a great day to introduce or re-introduce yourself to comic books and graphic novels, and of course if you're already a current aficionado, this day is made for you. Enjoy.
Free Comic Book Day Occurs at the King Library, Willow Glen, East San Jose, Bascom and Seventrees branches.
Check out the following popular manga series for teens at your library today! Let us know if there is a manga title that you would like the library to have by filling out and submitting the purchase suggestion form.
Pandora Hearts by Jun Mochizuki
A rich heir of the Vessalius Family, Oz Vessalius has been living a peaceful and lavish life. However, his life suddenly takes a dramatic turn during his "Coming of Age Ceremony", when he was able to reactivate a mysterious clock that has been dead for 100 years. Soon after, Oz is violently captured by notorious members of the Baskerville Family. They cast Oz in prison in a strange new world known as the "Abyss". Eventually, Alice, a being from this world, helps Oz escape from prison. What will happen to Oz? Will he be able to leave the Abyss and return home? Read more to find out!
The Black Butler by Yana Toboso
It was a festive moment as Earl Ciel Phantomhive celebrates his tenth birthday at his beautiful manor home in England. However, arsonists set his home on fire and abducted Ciel. As they tortured Ciel, a demonic butler named Sebastian was mysteriously summoned and saved Ciel's life. Sebastian and Ciel soon embark on new adventures as they seek to avenge those who were responsble for burning down Ciel's home and murdering his parents. Will they succeed? Check out this dark and suspenseful title to find out more!
Case Closed by Gosho Aoyama
Jimmy Kudo, a smart gifted teenager, has been assisting police in solving their cases. One day, he was abducted by criminals sent by a notorious syndicate known as the "Black Organization". They forced Jimmy to consume a poisonous drug, however the drug did not kill Jimmy. Instead, it somehow transformed Jimmy into a child. Soon after, Jimmy goes undercover in his new physical form to investigate and apprehend the Black Organization. Will Jimmy be able to find a cure that will turn him back to normal?
I hear that quote all the time and from people of all walks of life both teens and adults. Even some who read comic books will reluctantly agree. And who can blame them? The big eyes, colorful pictures, and fast paced action certainly seem to be aimed at children.
Naoki Urasawa, author of Monster and 20thCentury Boys, is not your usual manga writer. You won’t find outlandish facial expressions, ridiculous hair styles, or unbelievable sight gags. Instead you’ll find realistic characters, multilayered storylines, and complex mysteries. Take a look at the two manga covers at the bottom of the page. The first is from Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy. The second is from Naoki Urasawa's Pluto. Both covers depict the same character, and tell the same story but Pluto radically transforms one of Astro Boy’s first adventures into a complex mystery full of intrigue, betrayal and secrecy.
Pluto follows Geist, a German police officer investigating the murder, one by one, of the world’s strongest robots. The trail he follows leads across the globe, into a world radically changed by the introduction of robotic labor, and also into the past, exploring the terrible consequences of the 39th Middle-East War.
It pulls no punches portraying the gritty consequences of conflict and the quest for weapons of mass destruction. However, Urasawa does so by humanizing the characters, even (or rather especially) the robots. Each of them -from the very human Astro Boy to the monstrously inhuman Pluto- feel real to the reader. You can’t help but empathize with them even as you are reminded of their inhuman origin. Each chapter revealed new layers of the mystery and answered questions implied, by never asked in earlier in the series and even as I mourned the loss of favored characters, I loved how the story unfolded drawing me deeper into the plot volume by volume.
Pluto is a compelling mystery, one that treats the future as respectfully and honestly as any Asimov or Heinlein novel. Point to it the next time that someone dismisses the graphic novel you read as "childish" or use the ideas Pluto explores to debate the nature of humanity. Better yet, hand them a copy of Pluto, and let them discover it for themselves.
Don't miss my other Great Graphic Novels
If you were Kyoko Mogami, the main character of Yoshiki Nakamura’s Skip Beat, you’d be circling option “4” so deeply your pencil would snap. Skip Beat tells the story of Kyoko as she, freshly dumped by her arrogant celebrity boyfriend, tries to break into showbiz with the sole purpose of surpassing him. While her less than noble intentions make her no friends (including attracting the disgust of Japan’s #1 young celebrity Ren Tsuruga) and initially sink her chances of stardom, her intensity and overwhelming drive to succeed at her current goal makes her irresistible to the L.M.E Entertainment Company and its bizarre President. Now all she has to do is become an actor. How hard can that be?
Kyoko’s overwhelming drive and intensity sold me on this series despite the fact that, as a guy, I’m somewhat out of the author’s target audience. Her emotions, shifting from seething rage to blissful pleasure to abject terror, are so compellingly depicted that you can’t help but be drawn into her emotional world. Watching her growth as an actor, especially as she transforms so completely into her characters, is amazingly satisfying. Every time she takes on a new role I am excited; I know her new transformation will be even more incredible than the last. The side characters, enemies, allies, and frenemies alike, add a much needed element of comedic balance and pacing to Kyoko’s emotional tempest and help to guide Kyoko (and in a way we readers) deeper into the world of show businesses. After reading Skip Beat, I don’t want to go back.
Don’t miss my other Great Graphic Novel Series
Pluto by Naoki Urasawa
Alchemists Ed and Alphonse Elric are “Alchemists,” magicians with the ability to use the magic of equivalent exchange to transform raw matter. They can turn lead into gold, rebuild buildings from rubble, and turn scrap metal into deadly weaponry. Despite all their power, no alchemist can bring the dead to life. Trying it quite literally costs Ed an arm and a leg (which he replaces with mechanical contraptions) and costs Alphonse even more. Now they are on the hunt to find the mythical “philosopher’s stone” the only thing said to be able to restore their missing limbs. Their quest puts them at odds with an outrageous and deadly array of enemies and brings them face to face with a conspiracy at the very heart of their nation.
If you like a compelling story with plenty action and comedy, you should definitely check out Full Metal Alchemist, even if you’ve never touched a Japanese comic in your life. It is not only one of the best but also one of the most accessible manga I have read. Hiromu Arakawa brings her characters to life, both through the dialogue and her distinct character designs. In addition, the series’ setting (a sort of early 1900s steam punk America or Europe) lacks many of the Japanese manga tropes and conventions that prove most confusing to American readers. Finally the fight scenes are exciting and use “alchemy” in incredibly creative ways, though definitely violent enough to justify its “teen” rating.
Let me know what you think of Full Metal Alchemist, and leave me a comment about any other series you think deserve to be called great.
Don't miss my other Great Graphic Novel Series