A delightful comic made in only 1 day at the Angouleme festival. Three stars.
Anime Club, KC Green
A comic riff from Green that plunged me back into the crazy days I was in an anime club– all the arrogance, fury, and loathing are there. Great stuff. Four stars.
Secret Six: The Darkest House, wr. Gail Simone, Keith Giffen
The much anticipated final volume in Simone’s run with Secret Six (ended because of the DC-wide reboot). Again, full of human depth for the beloved villains plus some love and maybe some redemption, despite a trip to hell. Again I realize how much I don’t get the Marvel/DC style of storytelling that reboots characters, passes them from writer to writer, and some of the deep strangeness that can arise from generations of monthly publishing (like multiple characters who live in hell). I guess it would be similar if a writer I love took on a season of a soap opera I hadn’t previously followed? [Two other historical Secret Six teams- interesting] Four stars.
Midnite Surprise Vol. 1, KC Green
An anthology of art from Green’s tumblr, apart from his comic. Very pretty, though not always the pieces I would have chosen. Interesting. Two stars.
Horribleville, V. 1, KC Green
Green’s semiautobiographical comic from when he was 18-19 (!!). Pretty great early stuff. Three stars.
Saturn Apartments 3, Hisae Iwaoka
I will blame some of my lukewarm feelings about volume 3 on the experience of being interrupted for a year or more between installments, but I’m starting to wish that there were more movement in the various mysterious plotlines to go with the glorious evocation of time and place. I was also put off by an element of the supernatural that didn’t seem to belong. Two stars.
Black & White: The Confrontation Between Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene “Bull” Connor / Larry Dane Brimner
A book that is under 300 pages on this topic would have a hard time containing all of the detail of the campaign for desegregation in Alabama, and this one is only 112 pages. It sometimes seems to be a recitation of events rather than a history with any depth. HOWEVER, it is still meticulously researched, even a non-footnoted comment had several sources, though I did have to email the author to find out about them (sorry I doubted you, Mr. Brimner). Interesting, yes, accessible to young readers, yes, sufficient for an adult history nerd to feel satisfied? No. Time for me to look for that 300 page book. Three stars.
The Always War / Margaret Peterson Haddix
An important thing for youth-service librarians to remember about their own childhood reading: we were enthusiastic but not discerning and did not yet have the broad knowledge of literature and literary conventions. I was totally blown away by the derivative and hackneyed books I read, books I would be embarrassed to be seen with today. Haddix is a fine writer, but boy has this premise been done to death. A quick and painless read with only a few unearned plot developments (we never actually see one of the protagonists reading old children’s literature, but it is quickly introduced and used to advance the plot when needed). Past me would love it. Present me? Two stars.
Hark!: A Vagrant / Kate Beaton
Beaton’s art deserves this gorgeous hardcover, heck, she deserves a slipcovered collector’s edition with heavy rag paper and gilt on the cover. I was delighted that the Nancy Drew and Gorey covers were included, the Wonder Woman strips too. Pretty great. Five stars.
The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel houses, Paul Koudounaris
Utterly astonishing and breathtaking photos of lots and lots of bones! Four stars
The Adventures of Hergé, Bocquet, Fromental, Barthélémy
Not a linear biography, but 2-4 page bits of his life at a time. Informative and the ligne claire art is a great tribute. Four stars.
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, Slate & Fleischer-Camp
Book version of the short film, but with paintings based on the stop-motion photos. Doesn’t translate well. One star.
Your readers might also be interested to know that Black and White just won the 2012 Norman A. Sugarman Children’s Biography Honor Award from the Cleveland Public Library. http://tinyurl.com/ckst73n
I am astounded and delighted at the growing number of history books for youth that involve such in-depth (and sometimes primary) research. The days of over-simplified and sanitized recitations of received knowledge are (I hope) on the way out.