Sunday, March 29, 2009

Graphic Novel and Manga Round-Up- my thoughts

I finished a bunch of graphic novels and some first-time Manga over the last few weeks so I thought I would just include them all in one post. I've found that I really enjoy Graphic novels and lo and behold, I LOVED my first venture in the Manga genre!! This is what I've read lately:

Laika by Nick Abadzis
-this graphic novel was based on the dog that the Russians sent into space. I've never really heard about this and history class in high school surely doesn't cover any "cool" history. I'm glad that I checked this book out because it made me see that a lot of the people that worked on this project were absolutely devoted to the animals and some were totally oblivious to the fact that the Russian Government was determined to send a man into space before the USA and were willing to do it any cost--even if that meant sending up a helpless animal that would eventually die. I shared this with my son Marc and we both loved this book!! I would highly recommend this to anyone.

Other reviews:
Nymeth @ things mean a lot
The Written World
Bookgirl's Nightstand

Stuck in the Middle: 17 Comics from an Unpleasant Age edited by Ariel Schrag
--I laughed my way through this book and found myself remembering those days, agreeing with one comic where it stated,"You were either rocking with Bon Jovi or you had a crush on at least one band member of Duran Duran." I was the one crushing on John Taylor of Duran Duran. I'll admit it. I'm not ashamed. I was totally into the whole Brit scene of music during the 80's while my brother was the rocker, listening to Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, Poison, Van Halen. I loved the 80's!! My son and I watched 'Purple Rain' the other night. He was laughing at the clothes and the way people were dancing. I was drooling at how hot Prince was back then and singing along to every song that came on. Remember Morris Day and the Time? Apollonia? (what a stupid name)You know you do!! Some of these comics are definitely a trip back in time. My favorites were:
  • Crater Face by Dash Shaw- yes, this is all about a kid suffering from acne but it is bittersweet and one not to be missed.
  • A Relationship in Eight Pages by Jim Hoover (absolutely reminded me of my son's dating life in the eighth grade!!)
  • Simple Machines by Aaron Renier- this is one that I think teachers should read because it's about a kid who is ADD but when he's allowed to think outside of mainstream education constraints, he shines and amazes his friends, teachers, and even himself!!

The Walking Dead, Vol 1: Days Gone Bye by Robert Kirkman
--This is a series of Graphic Novels and my son Marc loves them. He begged me a month or so ago to read one. So, I picked up the first one and flew through it. This series is graphic, violent, and at time gory but I can see why Marc likes them. They're based on the concept of An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions that has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. Not many people have survived and you get to follow along the journey of Rick Grimes to see if he makes it or not! So far he has 9 books which is a compilation of over 50+ comic books. I told him that over spring break I would pick up the other ones. Honestly, they give me the willies because I'm afraid of Zombies!! I may have to read Marc's book titled,"The Zombie Survival Guide: Protection from the Living Dead."

The Wall:Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis
--excellent book about what it was like to grow up in the Soviet Union before the wall fell in Berlin. He is an artist who loved to draw. He drew what the government dictated to him during the day at school, but at home, in secret, he drew what he loved. Interspersed between his drawings are snippets from his journal that he kept during this time.

November 3, 1957 The Soviet Union launched a rocket carrying a little dog named Laika into space. I wonder how the dog is going to land?

January-February 1969 Jan Palach and Jan Zajic, students, set themselves on fire to "wake up the nation from lethargy."

Gave me some interesting looks into Russia and the time of the Cold War. He won several honors for this book:Sibert Medal; Caldecott Honor Book.


Now, let me be upfront with you all right now....I have never ever understood the appeal of the Manga book. My son Marc faithfully follows Rave Master and so far he has 26 of them, I believe. I've never read one of them. I have tons of kids at my middle school who come into the library looking for them. We don't have any. That is about to change! I'm in the process of researching some series that I could carry in the library that would appeal to 5th - 8th grade. Sometimes you have to be careful because they do include nudity and stuff like that. But there is a big world of MANGA that is entirely appropriate for all ages!! I wouldn't have had my eyes open to this though if I didn't read Nymeth's blog. About a month or so ago, she posted about Emma. A manga series set in England during the Victorian Age. I was intrigued by her reviews so I immediately requested them from my library. I started them on a Friday night, took them with me to Marc's all day wrestling match and had a high schooler raz me about reading Manga!! I told him, "Brice, leave me alone. I'm reading some great stuff here!!" I finished them that night, well 1-4 that is. My library doesn't have the rest but I've requested them from libraries elsewhere and I'm anxiously waiting for the call to tell me that THEY'RE IN!!! If you haven't read these....YOU SHOULD. Enough said.

Other Cool People that liked Emma:
Tanabata: In Spring it is the Dawn
The Written World

Have you read a graphic novel or manga? If so, leave me a comment recommending one that I should read!! If not, what are you waiting for?


  1. I have to be honest and say that I've never read a graphic novel or manga. I haven't had much interest either. Although, the Emma Manga series does sound interesting so maybe I will check that one out at the library. My son likes some Manga/graphic novels..I'm not sure of the differences. He has read a few Bone books and likes Naruto. I'm not sure what category these fall into.

  2. Try Watchmen - or anything by Alan Moore, really! He was my first venture into graphic novels and I loved it.

  3. I think this is a much overlooked medium. I haven't yet read any manga, but I have enjoyed a few graphic novels. My husband is really into them and is always recommending ones he think I might like. He reads manga too, but hasn't read anything he thinks I would like. I will probably have to take cues from those of you who are reading manga right now. :-) Emma does sound good.

  4. I love graphic novels. Y:The Last Man has to be my favorite series. I did enjoy Watchmen. And I just finished Life Sucks, a great vampire graphic novel.
    I read some of the Death Note manga series. Which I did enjoy. Just too many good books.
    I'll be adding Walking Dead and Stuck in the middle to my pile!

  5. I've become quite a fan of graphic novels but I'm new to magna and guess which one I plan to start with? Emma! It's all Nymeth's, Tanabata's & Kailana's fault :)

    Great to hear you enjoyed it. I haven't gotten to it yet as I've been busy reading a book for a group discussion but after it I think I'll start this one.

  6. Awesome post, Staci :D I can't tell you how happy it makes me that you enjoyed Laika and Emma so much! I'm adding The Wall to my wishlist now. I hadn't heard of it before, but it sounds like something I'd love.

  7. When you come across the not naked and all blood and guts ones let me know. I'm getting old and just don't like all that nasty stuff. :) I still haven't picked up one. I really should this week.

  8. I have my first graphic novel checked out from the library and I am looking forward to reading it. I haven't tried any manga yet but I will add this one to my TBR list. Great reviews!

  9. I'm so glad you enjoyed the first few volumes of Emma. Such a great series and it gets even better in the last ones! :)
    I've been wanting to read Laika ever since Iliana and Nymeth read it. I hadn't heard of The Wall, but it sounds good too. I'm still pretty new to graphic novels and very new to manga but now there are so many of them that I want to read!


Hello Friends!! I want to take this moment to say thank you. Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog and thank you for leaving me a comment.

* Because of the excessive spam I have decided not to allow anonymous users to comment.

Happy Reading!