Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Comics and Graphic Novels

Comics and Graphic NovelsWhen I think about comics, my earliest thoughts are warm childhood memories of reading the Garfield comic strips. There was something so laughable about that smart aleck cat, his put upon owner, Jon, and his always blissful dog, Odie. And who didn't love the friendship and adventures of Calvin and Hobbes? Of course, I also grew up with superhero comics, like Superman and Batman. It wasn't until I came to work at MCPL that I saw how comics, and now graphic novels, had grown into an amazing array of genres for kids, teens, and adults. It was so exciting and opened up a whole new way to enjoy stories with words and pictures!

Since history is a subject I'm always intrigued by, I was curious about how comics and graphic novels got started. So I had a look in our History in Context - U.S. resource where I found this great article from the St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture about this amazing melding of words and pictures. My guess was that comics started out in the newspapers and turns out I was correct. It was in the late 19th century when comic strips first started to appear in newspapers. Comic strips in the 1930s started to be put into comic books that focused on cartoon characters and, you guessed it, superheroes.

Eventually some comic books started to be marketed with the term graphic novels and the form developed from there. It was the publication in 1986 of the award winning Maus by Art Spiegelman, about his father's captivity and survival during the Holocaust, that really catapulted the genre of graphic novels into mainstream reading. It was the first most widely read graphic novel. Other graphic novels in the 1980s also became well known, like Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller and Watchman by Allan Moore and Dave Gibbons. As the increased interest in graphic novels grew, a specific type of Japanese comic art called manga was also included in the graphic novel category.

From there graphic novels have grown in popularity and into a wide variety of genres, including horror, Westerns, science fiction, mysteries, and memoirs. Some books for adults are getting in on the action and now have both a novel format and a graphic novel version, This includes one of my favorite series, Game of Thrones! Comic books and graphic novels are attracting critical buzz and have become an innovative way to tell engaging stories in the perfect blend of the visual and written word for kids, teens, and adults.

MoComCon January 21, 2017
So now that you are super excited to start checking out comic books and graphic novels, I have to share with you something that has been on my dream list for awhile and is about to become a reality! I have always wanted to attend a ComicCon and now I (and you!) have a chance come to one at our Silver Spring branch! We are thrilled to be holding our very first comic convention, MoComCon! It'll be a fabulous way to meet others who share your passion and also for those who are new to comic books and graphic novels. The event will include a variety of panels, workshops, programs, displays, exhibits, and cosplay — all free of charge. So save the date for January 21 from 12-4 PM (Inclement weather date February 4)!

Eager to find the engaging comic books and graphic novels you've been missing out on? Here are some ways to find the perfect comic book or graphic novel for you:

We invite you to discover new and exciting comics and graphic novels that you’ll enjoy today!


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