Hey teens, curious about the history of the comic book?
Looking for some graphic novel suggestions to read?
Interested in being a part of a program where you can learn to create your own comic?
September 25th is National Comic Book day — let’s take a look into how they came to be…
Today when you come into a library you’ll pretty much find a fairly big section devoted to graphic novels. These sections have grown tremendously over the past few years. Not too long ago, if you were caught reading a comic book and were not a little kid, you might be perceived as a bad reader or even as less intelligent for choosing them over a typical book. However, we very much appreciate the now modernly called “graphic novel.” It’s kind of funny how graphic novels are more popular than ever when they can be traced back to 1938 and earlier.
So does that mean cartoons and illustrating depicting stories didn’t begin until 1938? Absolutely not. If you think about, we see this type of storytelling dating back to cave painting. Cave paintings were drawings meant to tell a story or depict an event that happened. So it’s been a long journey to get us to the types of graphic novels we love to read today.
Comic book fans use the concept of “ages” to distinguish periods in comic book history that share concerns, storytelling techniques and styles of art. Exactly how you’re used to learning world history or art history. To date, these approximate ages are known as: Golden (1938-1956), Silver (1956-1971), Bronze (1971-1980), Iron (1980-1987), and Modern (1987-present).
It is believed that the first comic book was published in 1933. Prior to that, most comic were single strips or panels published in a newspaper. This first comic book was titled “Funnies on Parade” and was mainly a collection of newspaper reprints. The Golden Age began 5 years later in 1938 with the publication of Action Comics #1. This is when it is said the first true original comic book came out. It presented all new material. We also saw the first appearance of Superman in this comic. Superman was an overnight success and transformed the comic book industry, which had been struggling to take off.
It is believed the idea of the superhero traces back to Greek mythology. Many of the superheroes as we know them either take on physical attributes or power of an ancient God. People also prayed to the Gods to help them — at this time we were getting involved in World War II and people were turning to the idea of needing to be helped or saved – the perfect job for the imagined Superhero! In the years to come, superhero characters exploded onto the scene and brought much interest to the comic book.
As the war came to an end and people were no longer seeking out the superhero, the comic book industry once again needed to reinvent itself and that’s when we found the subject matter and characters turning to humor and fantasy for pure entertainment.
And in the decades to follow, comic books have continued to see waves in popularity. They have also transformed themselves into appealing to a wide audience with all types of characters and storylines. They have also been used as a great tool to encourage reading, especially to those who might be overwhelmed by a big ol’ fiction book. And in general, we are finding an audience that ranges from the very young all the way to adulthood.
So come check out Fountaindale’s graphic novel collection – you won’t be disappointed!
And if you have any interest in learning how to create your own comic book using computer software, don’t forget to sign up for our “Create Your Own Comic for Teens” program her at Fountaindale Library. It’s for grades 6-12 only and does require registration. The program will take place Monday, September 30th from 6:00-7:00p.m. You will learn how to combine photos or drawings, lettering, captions and speech balloons to produce a comic. Registration for this program is now open – register by calling us at 630.685.4199 or by going online to our calendar section at www.fountaindale.org.
As far as some suggestions of graphic novels you might be interested in…here are a few titles of Popular Young Adult Graphic Novels that we pulled from the www.goodreads.com website. All of these titles are owned by Fountaindale Public Library. Come check them out!
Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley: The series is about 23-year-old Canadian Scott Pilgrim, a slacker and part-time musician who lives in Toronto and plays bass guitar in a band. He falls in love with American delivery girl Ramona Flowers, but must defeat her seven evil exes in order to date her.
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang: A multi-narrative graphic novel about a teenage boy named Jin Wang who struggles to find and accept his cultural identity. Jin is the only Chinese American student at his new school, and all he really wants is to fit in with the rest of the kids, especially Amelia Harris, the pretty American girl with whom he falls in love. But Amelia never notices Jin, and he fades into the background. Soon, Jin is not the only Asian American student in his school—Wei-Chen arrives from Taiwan. After countless attempts to fit into the mainstream crowd, Jin settles for Wei-Chen’s friendship.
The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci: When a transfer student named Jane is forced to move from the cool confines of Metro City to Suburbia, she thinks her life is over. But there in the lunch room at the reject table she finds her tribe: three other girls named Jane. Main Jane encourages them to form a secret art gang and paint the town P.L.A.I.N. – People Loving Art In Neighborhoods.
Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba: Light Yagami is an ace student with great prospects – and he’s bored out of his mind. But all that changes when he finds the Death Note, a notebook dropped by a rogue Shinigami death god. Any human whose name is written in the notebook dies, and now Light has vowed to use the power of the Death Note to rid the world of evil. But when criminals begin dropping dead, the authorities send the legendary detective L to track down the killer. With L hot on his heels, will Light lose sight of his noble goal…or his life? Light tests the boundaries of the Death Note powers as L and the police begin to close in. Luckily Light’s father is the head of the Japanese National Police Agency and leaves vital information about the case lying around the house. With access to his father’s files, Light can keep one step ahead of the authorities. But who is the strange man following him, and how can Light guard against enemies whose names he doesn’t know?
Bleach by Tite Kubo: Bleach is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Tite Kubo. Bleach follows the adventures of Ichigo Kurosaki after he obtains the powers of a Soul Reaper (死神 Shinigami?, literally, “Death God“) —a death personification similar to the Grim Reaper—from another Soul Reaper, Rukia Kuchiki. His newfound powers force him to take on the duties of defending humans from evil spirits and guiding departed souls to the afterlife.
Fruits Basket by Natsuki Takaya: The series tells the story of Tohru Honda, an orphan girl who, after meeting Yuki, Kyo, and Shigure Sohma, learns that thirteen members of the Sohma family are possessed by the animals of the Chinese zodiac and are cursed to turn into their animal forms when they are weak orstressed.
Rurouni Kenshin by Nobuhiro Watsuki: Though he once killed in the name of the nascent Meiji government, even an infamous manslayer such as “Hitokiri Battosai” might grow weary and vow never to kill again. As a new age dawns, there are those who yet cling to the ways of bloodshed, and see the days of peace and prosperity Kenshin and others like him fought so hard to bring forth as betrayal. In ten days’ time, the enemies of Kenshin will come for him, and all who stand beside him are in danger. Is the time of earthly justice truly at hand?
Drama by Raina Telgemeier: Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s a terrible singer. Instead she’s the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!
Smile by Raina Telgemeier: Raina just wants to be a normal sixth grader. But one night after Girl Scouts she trips and falls, severely injuring her two front teeth. What follows is a long and frustrating journey with on-again, off-again braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. And on top of all that, there’s still more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who turn out to be not so friendly.
Friends with Boys by Faith Erin Hicks: Maggie McKay hardly knows what to do with herself. After an idyllic childhood of homeschooling with her mother and rough-housing with her older brothers, it’s time for Maggie to face the outside world, all on her own. But that means facing high school first. And it also means solving the mystery of the melancholy ghost who has silently followed Maggie throughout her entire life. Maybe it even means making a new friend—one who isn’t one of her brothers.
And lastly, for those of you comic book buffs looking for some little-known facts about your favorite comic book characters, here are 10 facts we learned of through www.listverse.com.
10. Marvel feared that Spider-Man would scare people. It was thought that because people are scared of spiders, people might not accept a superhero with spider traits!
9. Superman was originally a bald megalomaniac. Superman was created as a telepathic scientist who happened to be bald. After a 6-year process, the character developed into the dashing hero with a fill head of hair we know today.
8. Captain America’s shield had to be changed. The shield he first had was too similar to the shield of the patriotic character called “The Shield.” Due to legal pressure, the design was changed to how we know it today.
7. Stan Lee worried Daredevil would offend people. It was made clear that if there was even smallest indication that the comic was causing offense to blind people or blind organizations, it was to be pulled immediately.
6. The Hulk was supposed to be gray. He was created as gray in color and even is for the very first issue of The Incredible Hulk series. But due to the inconsistency in printing, (the gray was always looking different) they had to choose him to be a color instead. One of the most consistent colors in print at the time was green, so they chose that one.
5. The Joker was going to die in Batman #1. The joker was planned to die in a fatal accident in his first appearance, but Batman’s editor saw potential in the character and made the creator create a panel in the comic to bring him back to life.
4. Venom was going to be a woman. This character had been developed as a woman who was avenging the deaths of her husband and baby, but it was felt that the readers would never see a woman as a realistic physical threat to Spider-Man.
3. Iron Man was created as a dare. This character was created at the height of the Cold War when Americans were aware of war and its impact so the idea of Tony Stark accepted as a superhero was unlikely. He was an arms dealer, a bit of a womanizer and very arrogant. The creator was challenged by his publisher to make this type of guy a superhero the people would like and he did!
2. Wonder Woman was created as a feminist ideal. This character was created by a psychologist who also had a passion for women’s liberation. He wanted to prove to those who felt comics were turning American youth into juvenile delinquents that an “American Matriarch” was coming.
1. Wolverine was nearly called The Badger. Since this character was created as a Canadian special agent ordered by the government to capture the hulk, the creator wanted him to be based on an animal that would be popular in Canada. The choice was narrowed down to the wolverine and the badger.
So whether you want to check out some new trends in graphic novels or you just want to get your hands on some classic characters, stop into the library and check out our graphic novel section. And don’t forget to register for the “Create Your Own Comic for Teens” program – there’s just a couple of spaces left!