Task Two: Read a Sports Graphic Novel or Comic
Many graphic novels are about people who play and are shaped by sports. Sports and games have innate drama which builds narrative and plot. Illustrations propel the action forward while offering unique portals into the inner lives of the characters. Some graphic novels present biographical accounts of remarkable people who's lives are in part defined by sport. Others explore the bonds of friendship built by teamwork or self-discovery through sport. Whether center stage or a plot point, there is much to find in the intersection of sports and comics. Here's what we read this week:
The Avant-Guards Carly Usdin
When Charlie transfers to the Georgia O’Keeffe College of Arts and Subtle Dramatics, she struggles to find her feet, but winds up exactly where she belongs...in the school’s (terrible) basketball team.
As a transfer student to the Georgia O’Keeffe College for Arts and Subtle Dramatics, former sports star Charlie is struggling to find her classes, her dorm, and her place amongst a student body full of artists who seem to know exactly where they’re going. When the school’s barely-a-basketball-team unexpectedly attempts to recruit her, Charlie’s adamant that she’s left that life behind…until she’s won over by the charming team captain, Liv, and the ragtag crew she’s managed to assemble. And while Charlie may have left cut-throat competition in in the dust, sinking these hoops may be exactly what she needs to see the person she truly wants to be.
From Carly Usdin (Heavy Vinyl) and artist Noah Hayes (Wet Hot American Summer, Goldie Vance) comes an ensemble comedy series that understands that it’s the person you are off the court that matters most. - Publisher's Description
Haikyu!! Haruichi Furudate
Hinata Shoyo has been obsessed with volleyball ever since he saw Kurasuno High School clinch a spot in the national championship on TV as a child. When he enters junior high, he’s excited to join the school’s volleyball club only to discover he’s the only member! In his third year, he finally convinces a ragtag group of friends to join him so he can play in his first real game, which pitches him against setting ace Kageyama Tobio. After this fateful match he successfully makes it into Kurasuno High School where he finds out that not only is their volleyball club not what it used to be, but Kageyama is there as well! Haikyu!! is a story of growth and friendship as much as it is about volleyball. We follow the characters as they push themselves to get better at their sport, but also as they navigate relationships, athletic obstacles, wins, losses and issues of teenage self worth. You really get to know and root for the characters. Even if you don’t care about volleyball, it’s a fun, exciting and engaging read. - Megan
Check Please! Ngozi Ukazu
Eric Bittle may be a former junior figure skating champion, vlogger extraordinaire, and very talented amateur patissier, but being a freshman on the Samwell University hockey team is a whole new challenge. It is nothing like co-ed club hockey back in Georgia! First of all? There's checking (anything that hinders the player with possession of the puck, ranging from a stick check all the way to a physical sweep). And then, there is Jack-- his very attractive but moody captain -Publisher's Description
The Boxer: The True Story of Holocaust Survivor Harry Haft Reinhard Kleist
Poland, 1941. Sixteen-year-old Harry Haft is sent to Auschwitz. When he is forced to fight against other inmates for the amusement of the SS officers, Haft shows extraordinary strength and courage, and a determination to survive. As the Soviet Army advances in April 1945, he makes a daring escape from the Nazis. After negotiating the turmoil of postwar Poland, Haft emigrates to the United States and establishes himself as a professional prizefighter, remaining undefeated until he faces heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano in 1949. In The Boxer, Reinhard Kleist reveals another side to the steely Harry Haft: a man struggling to escape the memories of the fiancée he left behind in Poland. This is a powerful and moving graphic novel about love and the will to survive. -Publisher’s Description
Spinning Tillie Walden
Poignant and captivating, Ignatz Award winner Tillie Walden's powerful graphic memoir, Spinning, captures what it's like to come of age, come out, and come to terms with leaving behind everything you used to know.
It was the same every morning. Wake up, grab the ice skates, and head to the rink while the world was still dark.
Weekends were spent in glitter and tights at competitions. Perform. Smile. And do it again.
She was good. She won. And she hated it.
For ten years, figure skating was Tillie Walden's life. She woke before dawn for morning lessons, went straight to group practice after school, and spent weekends competing at ice rinks across the state. It was a central piece of her identity, her safe haven from the stress of school, bullies, and family. But over time, as she switched schools, got into art, and fell in love with her first girlfriend, she began to question how the close-minded world of figure skating fit in with the rest of her life, and whether all the work was worth it given the reality: that she, and her friends on the figure skating team, were nowhere close to Olympic hopefuls. It all led to one question: What was the point? The more Tillie thought about it, the more Tillie realized she'd outgrown her passion--and she finally needed to find her own voice. - Publisher’s Description
Andre the Giant: Life and Legend Box Brown
Andre Roussimoff is known as both the lovable giant in The Princess Bride and a heroic pro-wrestling figure. He was a normal guy who'd been dealt an extraordinary hand in life. At his peak, he weighed 500 pounds and stood nearly seven and a half feet tall. But the huge stature that made his fame also signed his death warrant.
Box Brown brings his great talents as a cartoonist and biographer to this phenomenal new graphic novel. Drawing from historical records about Andre's life as well as a wealth of anecdotes from his colleagues in the wrestling world, including Hulk Hogan, and his film co-stars (Billy Crystal, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, etc), Brown has created in Andre the Giant, the first substantive biography of one of the twentieth century's most recognizable figures. - Publisher’s Description
Fence C. S. Pascat
Nicholas, the illegitimate son of a retired fencing champion, is a scrappy fencing wunderkind, and dreams of getting the chance and the training to actually compete. After getting accepted to the prodigious Kings Row private school, Nicholas is thrust into a cut-throat world, and finds himself facing not only his golden-boy half-brother, but the unbeatable, mysterious Seiji Katayama...
Through clashes, rivalries, and romance between teammates, Nicholas and the boys of Kings Row will discover there’s much more to fencing than just foils and lunges. From acclaimed writer C.S. Pacat (The Captive Prince) and fan-favorite artist Johanna the Mad. - Publisher’s Description
Roller Girl Victoria Jamieson
For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school… in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.
In this graphic novel debut that earned a Newbery Honor and five starred reviews, real-life derby girl Victoria Jamieson has created an inspiring coming-of-age story about friendship, perseverance, and girl power! - Publisher’s Description