Posts tagged: comics

Graphic Novel Adaptations of Classic Books

By , September 1, 2015

Graphic novels might be the most stigmatized literary medium in the history of written word. Have you ever found yourself wondering what’s so great about graphic novels? Or what separates a graphic novel from comic books or manga? Have no fear; the answer to (most) of life’s questions is always at your fingertips…in the library. The Internet Public Library defines graphic novels as “book-length comics”. It is important to note that graphic novels are a format, not a genre, so you won’t have to look too hard to find one to match your interests. In addition to being an ingenious mashup of visual art and literature, graphic novels also have the potential to breathe new life into classic literature.

For the skeptics: The graphic novel can be a powerful tool for teaching visual literacy. Reluctant readers and visual learners can cultivate a love for reading through graphic novels. As the old saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”.


Based on the play by William Shakespeare
Adapted and Illustrated by Gareth Hinds

Stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires. – Macbeth

What would you do if three witches said you were destined to be king one day? Would you go on a murderous rampage with the hope of making your dreams come true? Oh, Macbeth. Why, oh why, did you listen to those creepy witches? Dude, they totally disappeared into thin air in the middle of your conversation. One of the great Shakespearean tragedies, Macbeth, is the classic tale of how ruthless ambition can lead to murder and madness. Hinds’ rich illustrations reflect the dark tone and action of the play while staying true to the original text.

Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice
By Jane Austen
Adapted by Nancy Butler and Hugo Petrus

Gender representation is a hot topic in discussions about graphic novels and this adaptation of Pride and Prejudice shines with female characters at the forefront. The novel opens with the Bennett family discussing the possibility of marrying one of the Bennett daughters to the wealthy, eligible bachelor, Mr. Bingley. The graphic novel’s illustrations clarify the dizzying interpersonal drama amongst the characters. If you’re a fan of witty banter and British dramas, like Downton Abbey, you’ll love Pride and Prejudice.

The Odyssey

The Odyssey
Based on the epic poem written by Homer
Adapted by Seymour Chwast

Written in 800 B.C.E., the Odyssey wins the award for being the oldest classic on our list. The poem centers on the journey of Odysseus, a Greek hero, back to his home in Ithaca after the fall of the city of Troy. I’ll be honest. I absolutely dreaded reading this text when I was in high school, and I wish this graphic novel was available back then. Chwast’s adaptation infuses the text with modern language and witty captions, which makes the graphic novel more accessible than the original. The illustrations combine classical, Greek elements with modern inventions, like space ships and rockets. This graphic novel is a fun read, especially if reading classical language poses a challenge to you.


Popmatic Podcast for August 19, 2015: Dog (Star) Days of Summer

By , August 19, 2015

How I Killed Pluto by Mike BrownThe dog days of summer are named after Sirius, the dog star. I’m serious. It’s Sirius. We’re librarians. We love puns and we’re very popular at parties. Today’s show is about astronomy but there ended up being a lot of talk about surfing. Plus—what is tickling our fancy this week.



the music of Jack Nitzsche

Silver Surfer: When Calls Galactus by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Marie Severin

Silver Surfer vol. 1: New Dawn by Dan Slott, Mike Allred, Laura Allred, and Clayton Cowles

Silver Surfer vol. 2: Worlds Apart by Dan Slott and Mike Allred

Madman by Mike Allred & Laura Allred

Surfing with the Alien by Joe Satriani

What If the Moon Didn’t Exist?: Voyages to Earths that Might Have Been by Neil F. Comins

What If the Earth had Two Moons?: And Nine Other Thought-Provoking Speculations on the Solar System by Neil F. Comins

How I Killed Pluto and Why It had It Coming by Mike Brown

Your World” by Dogstar (featuring Keanu Reeves)


Solo Sessions and Encores by Stevie Ray Vaughan & Friends featuring the song “Pipeline”

Weirdo Shrine by La Luz

Don’t Stay Up Late by R.L. Stine

Eye Candy by R.L. Stine

The Incredible Herb Trimpe by Dewey Cassell and Aaron Sultan

Go bowling with your family. It is the most fun ever.


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Supermen! The First Wave of Comic Book Heroes 1936-1941

By , June 28, 2015

Superhero movies have dominated Hollywood for nearly a decade, but superheroes’ popularity is nothing new. Characters like Batman, Captain America, and Wonder Woman have been popular for over seventy years, but many of their caped brethren have fallen through the cracks of history.


Editor Greg Sadowski gathered many of these forgotten heroes into 2009’s Supermen! The First Wave of Comic-Book Heroes 1936-1941, a great anthology about comics’ Golden Age. The idea of the superhero began as an amalgamation of the circus strongman and pulp characters like the Shadow and Doc Savage. Once Superman hit the scene in Action Comics #1 in 1938, publishing companies scrambled to get into the comic book business and create their very money-making superhero.


Trying to come up with the next big thing is almost as difficult as trying to come up with the big thing in the first place, a fact made clear by the creation and immediate disappearance of heroes like Skyman, the Silver Streak, and Yarko, Master of Magic. Still, there’s life in these stories, the kind creative abandon found only when writers and artists make up the rules as they go along.
These creators of these stories didn’t have to bow to the needs of continuity, perform fan service, or concern themselves with maintaining a franchise. They were trying to make a buck, and create stories people would want to read. If nothing else, they were successful on that tip.


Standouts include Basil Wolverton’s Spacehawk, Superhuman Enemy of Crime, and the brutally strange work of Fletcher Hanks. Hanks’ characters Stardust the Super Wizard and Fantomah, Mystery Woman of the Jungle are the epitome old, weird superhero comics. Be sure to check out Hanks’ I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets! for  more early superhero antics. It’s an excellent companion to Supermen!, and is also available from the library.

Popmatic Podcast for June 3, 2015: Super Summer Challenge

By , June 3, 2015

NPL Summer ChallengeSummer Challenge is here! This year’s theme is super heroes so the Popmatic crew gets bit by a spider and saves the day by giving you awesome book, movie and music recommendations. And yes, listening to this episode, or any episode of Popmatic, counts for Summer Challenge points.

Summer Challenge sign-up

Summer Challenge events

Superheroes Wikipedia Edit-a-thon


Black Widow: the Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson, Phil Noto & Clayton Cowles

Captain America and the Black Widow by Cullen Bunn & Francesco Francavilla

fan made Black Widow movie titles

Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster the Creators of Superman by Brad Ricca

Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-creator of Batman by Marc Tyler Nobleman

Arrow tv show

Green Arrow comics

Flash comics

Legends of Tomorrow trailer

Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore


Robert Altman retrospective at the Belcourt Theatre

COPRA by Michel Fiffe

Brain Freeze Comics + Zines

Hoopla has comics!

Google Fiber

Google Fiber Announces ‘Digital Inclusion Fellowships’

Silicon Valley



Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book review: The Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio

By , April 19, 2015

The Art of the Simon and Kirby StudioThe Art of the Simon and Kirby Studio
by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby; selected and edited by Mark Evanier ; afterword by Jim Simon

The impact and influence of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby on comics cannot be overstated. If they’d stopped working in the ‘40s after creating Captain America that would have been enough, but these two men pivoted as their industry changed post-World War II. Kirby produced art at furious clip, filling pages and pages and even more pages while other artists were still sharpening their pencils.

Kirby, of course, became the King, the co-creator of the Fantastic Four, X-Men, Hulk, and countless other characters. That work tends to obscure his early collaborations with Simon, but this book goes a long way toward changing that. It contains stories published in the late ‘40s and early ‘50s by the Simon and Kirby studio

Simon, no slouch at the art desk himself, had a head for business, and helped the studio become one of the premiere producers of content for America’s comic book industry. In addition to their own work, the Simon and Kirby studio produced work by some of comics’ most famous names: Mort Meskin, Steve Ditko, Al Williamson, and Jack Davis.

Instead of reading finished comic pages, this book is filled with beautiful scans of original art. The pages are gray and yellow and speckled with age, but the art remains as sharp as ever. There are half-finished covers, scribbled text acting as placeholders for copy, and rivers of correction fluid winding through the panels.

Reading this book is like entering the offices of Simon and Kirby and rifling through their files, scouring the slush pile, even breathing in the smoke from one of Kirby’s cigars. It’s a museum in miniature, and like so much else these two artists touched, it’s a wonder to behold.


Popmatic Podcast February 25th, 2015: Salute Your Sci Fi Shorts

By , February 25, 2015

Star Trek the Newspaper ComicsFebruary is the shortest month so we were going to talk about short things, but, appropriately enough, we were short staffed due to #SnObama aka the 2015 President’s Day ice storm. With only Bryan, Jeremy and Mike in the studio, this episode slipped down the nerdiest of sci-fi wormholes. Be forewarned, there is discussion of Star Trek uniforms.


Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck

William L. Crawford Award

The Best of Cordwainer Smith by Cordwainer Smith

Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award

Star Trek the Newspaper Comics: The Complete Dailies and Sundays 1979-1981 by Thomas Warkentin

Star Trek the Motion Picture uniforms

James Tiptree Jr. Award

works of James Tiptree, Jr.

James Tiptree, Jr.: The Double-Life of Alice B. Sheldon by Julie Philips

IDW Publishing

Star Trek the Next Generation: Hive by Brannon Braga

Disney revises Star Wars “canon”

The Compleat Al


Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot

Eliot writing about Huckleberry Finn

works of Isaac Asimov

What We Talk About When We Talk about Love by Raymond Carver

What It Says About You If You Enjoy Horror Movies” by Alice Robb

On SF by Thomas M. Disch


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Book review: Manifest Destiny volume 1: Flora and Fauna

By , February 22, 2015

Manifest Destiny volume 1: Flora and Fauna
by Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts

The worst thing about history is its lack of monsters. There are dictators and despots, of course, but when I say monsters I mean MONSTERS–mysterious, possibly hairy and/or scaly creatures of unknown origin, things you run from in the night and hope aren’t lurking under your bed. Unfortunately, the real world is a little low on hairy scary monsters, but that leads us to the best thing about history: you don’t have to let facts get in the way of telling a good story. Manifest Destiny Volume 1: Flora and Fauna, written by Chris Dingess and illustrated by Matthew Roberts, is a comic book that plays fast and loose with history. Dingess and Roberts insert mystery, fantasy, and–best of all–monsters into the real life story of the Lewis and Clark expedition. In this version of events, Meriwether Lewis chronicles President Thomas Jefferson’s hidden objective for the Corps of Discovery: destroying monsters and making the territory safe. Early in their journey, the Corps encounters a structure readers will recognize as the famous Gateway Arch of St. Louis. Here, it’s a massive botanical structure which vexes the explorers and serves as a backdrop for their first encounter with the minotaur-like creatures which inhabit the land. These huge hybrid beasts are part horse, buffalo, and human, and are quickly dispatched by the ninja-like fury of Sacagawea. The danger grows as the explorers push deeper into the territory. Add to this an intelligent fungus which turns people into chlorophyll-spouting zombies and one of the most celebrated episodes in American history becomes an Indiana Jones-style adventure. A case of wooden stakes in the ship’s cargo hold hints at things to come, making volume 2 of this series something to look forward to in 2015. -Jeremy

Comics review: Pretty Deadly

By , November 20, 2014

Can the beautiful art of this psychedelic Western redeem its shaky story? Jeremy fights off the buzzards.

Pretty Deadly Volume One by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Emma Rios, and Jordie Bellaire

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Saga Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples


music by Black Dice CD | Freegal | Hoopla

Popmatic Podcast November 19th, 2014: Give Thanks!

By , November 19, 2014

Help Thanks WowOn this episode, we take time to count our bibliographic blessings. Wonder Woman, Bronies, and the guys from the library mail room all make appearances. This ended up being a very personal, behind the scenes at the library kind of episode. It is dedicated to Nancy Sellars.


Special Collections

VuFind lets you browse new materials easily

the staff and patrons at Edmondson Pike branch

Surfin’ Bird” by The Trashmen

Interlibrary Loan

Help, Thanks, Wow by Anne Lamott

the library Mail Room staff


Doctor Who Season 8 starring Peter Capaldi

How soon is too soon for holiday decorations?

News Channel 5 holiday commercial

Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age: The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes

Star Trek Voyager starring Kate Mulgrew

the “new 52″ Wonder Woman

Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman art

The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

Popmatic Podcast November 12th, 2014: Space Cadets

By , November 12, 2014

Babylon 5If Interstellar and Guardians of the Galaxy are any indication, then Sun Ra is correct: space is the place. We go far beyond our world. Bring an oxygen tank. Refreshingly, there is very little Star Wars or Star Trek, but a lot of cookie butter in this episode.


Silent Running

Dreadstar by Jim Starlin

Babylon 5

The Planets by Gustav Holst

Solaris (1972)


Prisoners of Gravity

cookie butter

Night at the Cotton Club at Nashville Symphony

The Witch with No Name by Kim Harrison

Tabletop Season 3


Transcripts of the show are available upon request.

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